Building Narratives: Nurse pens anti-child marriages fiction novel (Part 2)

For those who may be reading the article for the first time, the text revolves around Kuda the narrator and chief storyteller whose voice dominates the storyline.

 Fungayi Sox Last week I did the first part of a review of the text A Web of Lies, a fiction novel written by Yvonne Ndove — a nurse based in Harare.

For those who may be reading the article for the first time, the text revolves around Kuda the narrator and chief storyteller whose voice dominates the storyline.

As the book begins, we learn that Kuda wakes up from a hospital after a nasty fall which leaves her determined to solve the mystery of why she had been there in the first place.

A determined Kuda embarks on a mission to find answers and it is this very same mission which uncovers a trail of hidden family secrets.

Last week, I took a look at the characters of Rungano-Rungano, the apparent chief villain who marries an under-aged girl against her free will and later on rapes his wife’s child who in turn gives birth to Kuda, the protagonist in the text.

I also took a look at Gore, another villain who marries off his youngest daughter Chenai for “a mere bottle of beer” after conniving with Rungano-Rungano. This week, I proceed with the remaining key players in the text.


Married off at a young age–she represents stifled voices and oppressed women who are victims of patriarchy and child-marriages.

Moreover, her name “Chenai” represents purity and innocence and it is saddening that this innocence and purity is stolen from her forcefully and against her free-will by a selfish and ruthless Rungano-Rungano.

Her fruitless attempts to leave Rungano Rungano and abandon her marriage are a commendable effort in the fight against child marriages and all forms of child abuse.

We can’t sit down, Chipo come help me pack my clothes, mama you can sit, wewon’t take long–(pp.24)

It is very unfortunate that her own mother had normalised this oppression under the guise of being a “submissive wife” and she lets her down by failing to stand with her as she encounters abuse at the hands of “her husband”.

It is tragically sad that Chenai becomes the second woman in the text who dies whilst trying to bear Rungano-Rungano a son.


Chipo is Chenai’s older sister and is undoubtedly one of the bravest and most courageous voices who stand with her sister in fighting systematic oppression and patriarchy.

“Finally, as they were about to reach their home, Chipo spoke. The bitterness in her voice was so thick that it could have been cut with a knife. I will never forgive our father and that man for this….and I will never forgive you too for allowing Rungano to take Chenai.She is just a child! A child who is about to have a child. You should have stood for her, defendedher, fought for her and protected her. That is what a mother does.” (pp.26).

The passion in her voice as she challenges her mother to defend her little sister represents bravery and a certain high level of consciousness that is needed in dismantling archaic practices such as early child marriages.


The main protagonist, chief storyteller and hero in the text is one of the bravest characters who goes on a “Sherlock Holmes” mission to solve mysteries and uncover the hidden secret of why she had been in the hospital in the first place.

Firstly, she manages to accept the circumstances of her birth and end up getting a lot of satisfaction from helping abused and vulnerable children.

“I know that the scars of my existence will never completely heal, but I am doing my part in raising awareness and teaching people about the ills of child abuse and early childhood marriages and empowering girls to stand up for themselves and know their rights.” (pp.64)

What I loved about her is how at the end of the text, she becomes a symbol of hope to save children from early childhood marriages and other forms of child abuse.

The book is available at TisuMazwi’s offices in Harare’s CBD and can be delivered across the country (on request).

  • Fungai Sox works at TisuMazwi — a social enterprise which specialises in book publishing and storytelling projects, including book editing and printing, autobiographies, ghost-writing, content creation and digital media. He writes in his personal capacity. For feedback contact him on 0776 030 949, follow him on Twitter @AntonySox, or connect with him on LinkedIn on Fungayi Antony Sox.

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