Throughout southern Africa, shebeens are where jokes are born, news is embellished and exchanged, fights erupt and subside. They are unique vantage points where men go after a day's work, both to escape from the troubled world around them and to observe and comment on it.
In Shebeen Tales, Zimbabwe's leading author offers a view of his country not from the privileged and insulated perspective of the foreign correspondent or well-heeled visitor, but that of the ordinary person who, with the help of dry wit and illegal beer, pokes fun at the rich and mighty. Struggling against madcap motorists, pompous bureacrats and the other woes of life in the city, the man in the shebeen sees modern Africa as it really is, not as press releases or tourist brochures would have us believe.
Chenjerai Hove looks straight in the eye of a society suffering from drought, economic hardship and AIDS, but does not succumb to despair. With a wry sense of humour, his writer's pen celebrates a people who continue to live life to the full, to laugh and sing, to tell tall tales - whatever is thrown at them. In new pieces written for this edition, he discusses the vexed issue of homosexuality in Zimbabwe and also casts an amused eye at President Mugabe's recent wedding.
Shebeen Tales is a series of literary snapshots that takes us into the very heart of modern Africa.