Panashe Chigumadzi is an award-winning novelist and essayist, who was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa. Her best-selling debut novel Sweet Medicine (BlackBird Books 2016) won the 2016 K Sello Duiker Literary Award (SA), whilst her short story “Small Deaths” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Literary Prize (USA). Her work has appeared in titles such as The New York Times (USA), Transition (USA), The Guardian (UK), Spiegel (Germany), City Press (SA) and The Sunday Times (SA). Her forthcoming monograph on the interwoven politics of hair and land, Beautiful Hair, will be published in 2017.
She is the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for young black women coming of age in post-apartheid South Africa. Prior to this, she gained media experience both as a journalist for CNBC Africa and columnist for Forbes Woman Africa, and as a project executive for the Africa Business News Group.
In 2015, she became a Ruth First Fellow and is currently completing a Masters Degree in African Literature at Wits University, Johannesburg.
She is the curator of Soweto’s inaugural Abantu Book Festival, the first of its kind and magnitude for black readers and writers in South Africa’s largest township, taking place in December 2016.
Photographer: Tseliso Monaheng