The Zimbabwean writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga is considered one of the most influential voices on the African continent far beyond her home country. In her books and films, she breaks the silence on social taboos and raises universal questions of justice. In doing so, she describes the challenges faced by African women caught between tradition and modernity and the constraints of ethnicity, age and social class. This year, Tsitsi Dangarembga received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade for her diverse artistic work and her courageous political commitment.
Her debut novel “Nervous Conditions”, published in 1988 and awarded the prestigious Commonwealth Prize for African Literature in 1989, laid the foundation for her trilogy of novels centred on the adolescent Tambudzai and her struggle for female self-determination and her place as a woman in post-colonial Zimbabwe. Around three decades pass before Tsitsi Dangarembga completes the trilogy: Her second novel, “The Book of Not“, is published in 2006. Despite all the adversities an African writer faces, she managed to complete her trilogy in 2018 with “This Mournable Body“. In addition to her work as an author, Tsitsi Dangarembga also questions existing social and political structures in her films. She is also committed to promoting culture, in which she sees the key to a more liberal society. In her home country, she is particularly involved in the fight for the democratisation of state and society – and was arrested for this last year.
Together with the Humboldt Forum Foundation in the Berlin Palace, the Ethnological Museum Berlin and the Association of Friends of the Ethnological Museum e.V., the German Africa Foundation invited to a conversation with this year’s winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, Tsitsi Dangarembga.
Prof Dr Lars Christian Koch, Director of the Ethnological Museum Berlin and board member of the Association Friends of the Ethnological Museum Berlin e.V.
Dr Uschi Eid, President of the German Africa Foundation
Abak Safaei-Rad, Actress
Tsitsi Dangarembga and Prof Dr Manfred Loimeier, Professor of African Literatures in English at the University of Heidelberg
Christine von Heinz, Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of the Friends of the Ethnological Museum Berlin e.V.
Prof Dr Manfred Loimeier