Vimbai is the best hairdresser in Mrs. Khumalo’s salon, and she is secure in her status until the handsome, smooth-talking Dumisani shows up one day for work. Despite her resistance, the two become friends, and eventually, Vimbai becomes Dumisani’s landlady. He is as charming as he is deft with the scissors, and Vimbai finds that he means more and more to her. Yet, by novel’s end, the pair’s deepening friendship—used or embraced by Dumisani and Vimbai with different futures in mind—collapses in unexpected brutality.” — a brief synopsis borrowed from Goodreads.

Well, Tendai Huchu did well by making this book very simple, straightforward and easy to read. The writing was exquisite with an interesting plot and storyline that kept it going. Aside the obvious or main storyline that talked about a hairdresser (Vimbai) in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, the book explored some aspects of politics and the different living experiences between the rich and the poor in Zimbabwe at a time when all was not well (not that there was a war or anything by the way). Just that the living conditions people were surviving under were harsh and the post-independence corruption was ripe and he portrayed that perfectly in the story. I wasn’t surprised by a lot of things. These (are) were things universally happening across the continent of Africa so it (is) was no shocker. For me, it was just sad.

What I loved most about this book was the richness in description of scenery and events. There were parts that made me feel like visiting Zimbabwe to see those things the writer described myself. Yes, that’s how good it was.

What I did not enjoy however was how kind of obvious the plot twist was from the beginning of the book. Even though a little bit of spoiler was given at the end of every chapter to keep you anticipating what would happen next, I felt it killed the suspense for me. And the whole story was built around discovering a secret (Dumisani’s) which was obvious from the start. And after the long winds & twists to discover the secret, I’m looking forward to what next and then the story just wraps up very quickly and ends after that? It wasn’t the best of endings for me. I feel it could have been better.

Either ways, it still was a wonderful read. I learnt a lot about Zimbabwe and hairdressing. If not for anything at all, I’d recommend it just for the richness in language and simplicity of the read and the history lessons. I rate this a 3.5/5.

“The generations who came before us had stolen hope to such an extent that we regarded the future with trepidation. I knew people who never looked beyond the next day. Their circumstances only allowed them to focus on the here and now, which is pretty much what animals did, though we regarded ourselves as superior.”excerpt from the story.


Thank you for reading. Have you read The Hairdresser of Harare? If you have, let me know how you felt about it?

If you haven’t read and would like to grab a copy, here you go.

I’ll see you again soon with my next review. Until then, stay safe, live life and laugh out loud. Peace ✌🏾, I’m out.

Love ❤️

Liz.