‘Olly’s reputation preceded him. Avoiding eye contact, he made his way to the back of the room. Apart from him, there were only three other white students in the class. One wore dreadlocks and sat with a Latina girl near the front of the lecture theatre. Olly sniggered at them as he walked by, figuring them for amateur activist wannabes whom he had nothing in common with. He selected a seat in the corner, segregating himself in his preppy upper class prejudices.
He was lounging lackadaisically in his seat watching other students trickling in, ready to suffer in sullen silence, when she breezed through the door. In faded black skinny jeans, a mustard yellow blouse, an exquisite turquoise pendant, and beaded sandals, she stunned him. She had braided hair. Long twists coiled intricately on her head like a crown. A queen of her own making. Regal. Poised. Absolutely magnificent.
She turned her head and caught him staring. She looked at him with such a candid intensity that he could not hold her gaze. He felt exposed. Vulnerable. Anxious because he knew that in some inexplicable way she could see through him. All his pain, his anger, and his failures.
It was not so much love at first sight, but rather a Taser to his heart that jolted him out of his life of debauchery. Her name was Thandiwe. She was sunshine in bodily form.’
Tendai Machingaidze’s first novel Acacia explores some of these kaleidoscopic cultural experiences as it follows an African heroine born in America. This multi-talented author has written many short stories too, one of which was published on Lawino, a new electronic magazine started by writers, to promote writing from Africa.