Rutendo Tavengerwei’s debut novel, Hope is Our Only Wing, aims to inspire hope with an honest look at life growing up in Zimbabwe. The story follows Shamiso and Tanyaradzwa, two young Zimbabwean girls, who have to navigate life through painful experience – Shamiso losing her father while Tanyaradzwa was diagnosed with cancer.
The story follows the two individuals as they form an unlikely friendship both finding a space for their grief in each other. The book looks at hope and the grit to hold on to it through the lens of suffering.
In the foreword to the book Tavengerwei writes:
As a child, I used to listen in fascination while my grandfather told stories. I would marvel at his expression and passion. And then when I went to my bed my parents would take turns telling me bedtime stories. The journeys I went on in my imagination were beautiful, but what I loved most about these stories were the messages behind them.
So when I wrote ‘Hope’ I wanted to tell a story with a message. A story that doesn’t underplay how hard life can be, but also doesn’t underestimate how hope can inspire the will to go on. Most of all, I wanted to share a story about my home, Zimbabwe.
I grew up knowing that Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa and it broke my heart when so many things changed. But the part that is rarely told is this: even though it was a time when people could have easily been broken, the resilience I witnessed was astounding. I saw a hope that I pray will remain alive and usher us to better times.
This is a book inspired by what really happened. A story about a place I love. I hope that as you read it you’ll get angry, you’ll laugh, you’ll be shocked and perhaps even cry at times. But I hope you remember through all that emotion that hope is our only wing.
The book, released in 2018, seems to be a book one can relate to. In a time full of hopelessness the text aims to bring and inspire hope for its readers.