Freedom of Speech and truth-telling

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Book Publishing, Conflict, Creativity, Feminism, Human rights, Nuanced Thinking, Power1 Comment

The BBC Reith Lectures I listened to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Reith Lecture on Freedom of Speech on the BBC and I knew I was once again in a world of curiosity and questioning where books are open doors to the whole world. As Adichie said, the essential freedom to be creative is only possible if there is freedom of speech. […]

This Mournable Body, Tsitsi Dangarembga

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Colonialism, Conflict, Creative Writing, Displacement, Human rights, Politics, Power, RacismLeave a Comment

Imprisoned minds in colonised bodies Tsitsi Dangarembga and Julie Barnes were arrested on 31st July 2020 for walking down a street in Harare carrying placards that simply said “We want better. Reform our institutions.”. They were convicted on 29th September 2022 and given suspended sentences and fines for inciting violence. Dangarembga is a writer and filmmaker who has worked with […]

Women writing Africa

Ruth Hartley Storytelling, Book Publishing, Feminism, Identity2 Comments

Last night I took part in the online book launch of Tina Beattie’s novel Between Two Rivers, a book I did enjoy reading. Among the panellists were Chiedza Musengezi, Kay Powell and Godess Bvukutwa. I knew some of the participants but I wish I had known everyone as the discussion was interesting and relevant not only to African women writers […]

Simon Zukas

Ruth HartleyApartheid, Family, Freedom Fighters, History, Mpapa Gallery, Southern Africa, Zambia13 Comments

Simon Zukas, a kind and principled freedom fighter There are people in one’s life who are so important and yet so much woven into the fabric of that life that you take them for granted. This is true even of the people in our families, parents, siblings and also spouses. There comes a sudden moment when you realise that you […]

We need new names and new roles

Ruth HartleyFamily, Identity, Naming6 Comments

Do we marry a person or marry a wife or husband? We were a new family, my mother, stepfather, two step-sisters, my sister and me. I was 16 years old when my mother and stepfather had a bitter argument – a natural part of adapting to a new relationship. My mother in utter misery, took to her bed weeping and […]