Reflections of the Heart - A Story of Hope
By NewsDay, 1 October 2014
Go to the section 'NEWSDAY' at this link Press to read the book review.
By Solomon Mwapangidza (Fellow Writer and winner of 2014 NAMA for First Creative Published Work), 7 March 2014:
A fluent, effortless and unassuming style of writing. Your rare mastery of the English language is your greatest asset. Kui strikes me as non-obstructive (how very like her Creator!). I have seen many like her who have experienced the pangs of despised love and wept forever. The down and heartbroken will learn the fundamental truth that it is never too late to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on. So yes, Tsungi REFLECTIONS OF THE HEART has inspired me and I look forward to your next book. When you stand before a mirror, the beautiful face you see there is the new face of Zim literature. This is your moment, seize it! When that happens, Jimi, Kombo, Kudzo, Anesu and Inyasha will be inspired. THANK YOU SO MUCH. Solomon Mwapangidza.
By Women & Africa, 4 March 2014 (Online):
In our 21st century, numerous African writers are still trying to find their way in the literature world at the national or the international level. Tsungi Chiwara, a Christian author from Zimbabwe, is amongst this new breed of writers. This year, Chiwara received the national nomination for 'Outstanding First Creative Published Work' from the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA).
'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope' is a captivating story about the life of Kui, a teenager from Zimbabwe...for the rest of the review go to Women and Africa Book Review
By Hilda Nhemachena, 27 January 2014 (Zimbabwe). Amazon.com rating: 4 stars (out of 5). Review title - Reflections of the Heart –A Story of Hope
The book is set in the post-colonial era of Zimbabwe where black children were now allowed into white schools known as Group ‘A” Schools, which were afforded by a few black families who were considered ‘well of’. The author uses simple and clear narrative language which makes it easy to understand the theme of the book. The story is set in an educated family that would be considered middle class in the Zimbabwean context.
My thoughts: I read the book in two days. I could not put it down. The setting of the first page makes you want to read more because you really want to know what had happened before. The narrative starts with the present day and lets the reader know how Kui came to be where she was. The story relates to both age groups, the youth, young adults, adults, parents and grandparents. It also relates to family conflict and gender bias by fathers especially and corruption. The characters of the book resemble real life people across cultures and societies. This is a must read book.
By Pinky Pollock, 24 January 2014 (Australia). Amazon.com rating: 4 stars. Review title - Powerful messages that cross generations:
Reflections of the Heart conveys a very powerful message.
We are taken on a journey through the life of Kui a teenage girl from a middle class coloured family as she experiences life in Zimbabwe during the 1970's and 80's.
The story has been written almost as if we are reading Kui's most intimate stories and feelings as written in her diary as she tells of life at home, growing up with her twin brothers and then at boarding school as she comes to the realisation that her father has no time for girls.
We are given a glaringly honest insight into HIV and AIDS as well as the mental fragility of a teenager struggling to fit into a world that is ever changing around them. While the messages in this story stem from an earlier decade they are still as important to today's generation as they were back then.
This is a story of struggles for Kui, both cultural and spiritual as she learns who she is and what she is to become with the help of an understanding relative who teaches her how to love herself, so that others can love her.
While I enjoyed the story, towards the end I found myself skimming paragraphs instead of reading them fully. I felt it was a little too long and that the message once gotten across needed no further explanations.
By Judge, Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-Book Awards, 13 January 2014 (U.S.A.):
This story is a unique coming of age and beginning of the faith journey of a remarkable African girl, Kui, who grows up in pre and post-independent Zimbabwe. Born in the early 70’s during the liberation struggle, we journey along with Kui from the beginning. After primary school, early life with her family and her friendships, we go with her to her high school level years that are spent at a top notch boarding school. We are included in her first experience with love and a devastating aftermath, culminating to the events that led to her to ultimate despair and fateful decision. At this pivotal time, Kui’s aunt comes to live with them, and she introduces Kui to God and the Christian faith.
The story also captures exceptionally well the social concerns of the period, including the discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS, the differing social classes and racism. Family dynamics have a strong theme in the story, including the impact of a father’s neglect on a growing girl. Issues of the heart are woven into the story in the form of teenage love and betrayal.
The storyline and characters were believable and relatable. The author did an excellent job of capturing Kui’s emotions and a great job presenting Kui’s introduction to God and the beginning of her faith journey. She uses the most pertinent highlights of the Christian faith in a concise and clear manner and captures the essence of faith and the importance of a relationship with God without falling into the trap many authors do of talking down to the reader, sounding preachy or focusing on any particular faith doctrine.
Overall, this was a well-told story that provides unique insight to the social and economic issues of Zimbabwe during a significant period in its history. It is also an uplifting story of faith and hope from a time and place that has not had a voice until now. Would recommend.
By Ethelbert Umeh, 9 January 2014 (Nigeria). Amazon.com rating: 5 stars (out of 5). No review title submitted as yet:
By Sifiso Moyo, 9 January 2014 (Zimbabwe). No rating submitted as yet. Review title - Reflections of the Heart:
A great book, no, its excellent. It revived some nostalgic feelings, and also inspirational. Well written, thought provoking and invites self introspection!! Well done.
By Maria Stella Mavengere, 6 January 2014 (Zimbabwe). No rating or review title submitted as yet:
I loved reading Reflections of the Heart. I read it in one day, did not leave my bedroom until I finished. It is indeed creative evangelism and an easy to read book that keeps one wondering what will come next. You have also managed to capture the issues that many young people are facing on a day to day basis. God bless you.
By Pamela Jill Rapley, 31 December 2013 (U.S.A.). Amazon.com rating: 5 stars. Review title – Growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe in the 1970’s and 80’s:
Kui's family is a middle class family of color (referred to back then as "blacks"). Her father was a clerk in a "white law firm" and her mother a teacher. They enjoyed a measure of affluence as the country slowly begins to change in attitude and culture, allowing the colored families to integrate into all of society (little by little - even the country's name was changed from Rhodesia to "Zimbabwe").
Throughout this novel you will capture a glimpse of some of the culture in South Africa during the 1970s and 80s seen through the eyes of a young "black" girl as she is growing up. Kui has twin brothers, younger than her and any time that her father manages to spend with his children is devoted exclusively to the boys. Kui is totally ignored, and counted (in his eyes) as worthless. Kui finds the rejection excruciating.
We follow Kui through so many struggles to feel accepted, both at home and at school. Her younger brothers are sent off to the USA to study, while she is sent to a boarding school not too far from her home. There she is faced with many new and strange experiences. She meets a young boy who pays her lots of attention and of course she is trapped.
Kui's life takes a major turn for the worst as a consequence, but God takes these events and turns them into something good. Slowly Kui finds her way in life with the help of an Auntie who arrives on the scene to help out after major family crisis.
This is a great story of a girl's struggles with her culture, her faith (or lack thereof) and with finding acceptance in life (including being able to love and accept herself).
She finally finds peace once she is lead to discover and understand the love God has for her. You will follow Kui's development of her understanding of God's ways and purpose for her life (and learn a lot that will be applicable your life in the process).
I was offered this book in exchange for an honest review, and I found it to be very enjoyable - and well worth reading.
By Chisadza, 29 December 2013 (U.K.). Amazon.com rating: 4 stars. Review title – Reflections of the Heart:
A gripping account of one girl's journey through life in pre- and post-independence Zimbabwe. The story tackles racial and cultural issues, and ultimately explores the Christian faith. Having lived through this period, these are issues I could readily identify with. The boarding school and home life accounts are particularly insightful as they give an atypical but refreshingly different take of 1980s life in Zimbabwe.
When the story ends, I find myself still expecting more. It was delightful read. Well done.
By Angela, 28 December 2013 (U.S.A.). Amazon.com rating: 5 stars. Review title - Reflections of the Heart is a very nice interesting story about about a young girl living in Zimbabwe!
I liked this book ! I thought that the author did a grand job in writing of thos book! It was very interesting reading about this young gal's daily life and of her family's trials and successes. I recommend thos book for those who are young teen age girls especially and then also for those who like to learn what it is to he living in a different country than we here in the USA live! I received this book free and in exchange I am now doing the review for this author and for the readers
to be . It's a very interesting book one will find find hard to just lay aside , one will want to finish reading it and hate to put it down till they have finished it! Great job Tsungi!
By Tanaka Mupawaenda, 17 October 2013 (U.S.A.). Amazon.com rating: 5 stars. Review title – Excellent Book:
This is a book that reminded me so much of high school. It was captivating. I loved it!!! Can't wait for Tsungi's next book.
By Victor JHK, 18 July 2013 (South Africa). Amazon.com rating: 4 stars. Review title – Good Reading:
This book by Tsungi Chiwara is a must-read for all who spent their time at a boarding school. The book evoked certain nolstagic feelings in me and I could be identified with what Kui passed through in her life.
Thanks Tsungi for the inspiring book.