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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Wondrous Words Wednesday 15th May 2012


‘Wondrous Words Wednesday’ is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we have encountered in our reading.

It is hosted by Kathy, over at BermudaOnion’s Weblog. You can either stop by and leave a link to your own ‘mystery’ words of the week, or just browse the eclectic mix of words that others have discovered, there is always a great selection.

Don’t forget that Kathy and the rest of us, all love to read your comments  as well!!


 My words this time are, I am sure, just the first of many from this delightful book, set in Zimbabwe, which I have just begun to read:

‘The Hairdresser of Harare’ by Tendai Huchu.



Amai Ndoro was the fussiest customer to ever grace a salon. And she would not let any ordinary kiya-kiya touch her hair

KIYA-KIYAWhen you asked a Zimbabwean how they were managing in the difficult conditions, the answer would often be, “tiri kungokiya-kiya!”, meaning they were using all sorts of imaginative skills to make ends meet. Kukiya-kiya means many things; anything really to make a living, usually outside the formal forum. Everyone kiya-kiyad in order to survive.  It didn’t matter
whether it was legal or illegal, some things just had to be done to create income. Indeed, by the time the unity government was formed, Minister of Finance Tendai Biti was asked where they were getting the money from his answer was ‘taka kiya-kiya’, leading his critics to label him Minister Kiya-kiya. The pejorative insinuations aside, this was a formal acknowledgement of how Zimbabweans had to survive in a decade when things got really twisted. They had to kiya-kiya and may still have to in the present decade, given the conditions.



… plus Charlie boy, our barber, who always came in smelling of chibuku

CHIBUKUThe traditional alcoholic drink of Zimbabwe, is chibuku, meaning ‘the beer of good cheer’. This potent beer is usually served up in buckets, which are passed around between partakers.



It seems that nowadays whether it’s AIDS or MUTI or just the way things are, children become the victims

MUTI In colloquial English and Afrikaans the word muti is often used to refer to medicines in general or medicines that have a ‘miraculous’ effect



“The Kombi’s from Kamfinsa were all full

KOMBI … Kombi, from German: Kombinationskraftwagen (combination motor vehicle), with side windows and removable rear seats, both a passenger and a cargo vehicle combined. (Pictures and detailed description available by clicking here.)


Enjoy the rest of the week everyone, I’m off to find me some great new words!



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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Jenners,

      I actually quite like books which are set in overseas countries which are new to me.

      They are a rich source of material for memes such as WWW and I always have great fun stopping reading every so often to look up new words.

      I could probably have guessed ‘Kombi’ correctly, but the others were all a complete mystery to me.

      Thanks for stopping by and for the great comments, I always appreciate them.

    • Hi Scribacchina,

      I had already guessed that this book might contain some words that I may need to check out, but I was a little unprepared for just how many of them there are.

      I am having great fun researching them though, including kiya-kiya, which is more of a way of life, than a single word or phrase.

      This one was in fact the most difficult to find out about and my lines of definition are actually taken from a political speech by a Zimbabwean government minister.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment, it is always great to talk with you.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I totally agree with you on that one and kiya-kiyaing is so much the nicer way of saying ‘getting by’, isn’t it?

      When I read the phrase first of all, it was in the opening paragraph and I assumed, incorrectly as it transpired, that it was something to do with hairdressing Zimbabwe style. I was most surprised when I found out the correct definition, but pleasantly so, and it does fit into the paragraph quite nicely.

      Thanks for stopping by and of course, for hosting this great meme.

  • These are great!

    Have you read any of the “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’ books – set in Botswana? This reminds me of that series. I will have to look for this book!

    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Libby,

      I have not read any of the Alexander McCall Smith books, but of course I have heard of them and was only thinking myself, that ‘The Hairdresser Of Harare’ might be quite like ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’ books.

      Tendai Huchu, the author, has certainly written a credible novel in a similar vein and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far, as well as the great new words it is throwing up.

      I shall certainly be checking out the McCall Smith books very soon and they will definitely make it onto my reading shelf.

      Thanks for reminding me of the similarities and for probably being responsible for a large increase in my TBR pile!!! (LOL Just Joking)

  • Lovely words there. I do love the concept of “beer of good cheer”, although possibly not a bucket of it, more a middy. I didn’t think I’d know any of your words, not being overly familiar with Zimbabwe, but Kombi is a term used in Australia, often as Kombi van. I always love seeing one on the road.

    • Hi Jayme,

      There are so many great words and expressions used in this book, it has been real fun to research, as well as to read of course!

      The review is going to need some careful thought, because as well as this being a very humorous piece of contemporary fiction, there are obviously the very serious underlying social and political themes which the author is trying to get across in his messaging and striking a good balance is going to be tricky I suspect. Tendai Huchu has mastered the technique brilliantly in so far as I have read, so I don’t want the review to damage this in any way.

      Thanks for stopping by and joining in the discussion, it is always good to ‘meet’ new people, I do love to chat.

    • Hi Joy,

      There are so many great new words in this book, that I didn’t really know where to start.

      The story itself is proving great reading. Plenty of fun dialogue, with some excellent characterisations. However the darker messaging of a country and its people in turmoil and suffering under terrible oppression, is never far from the surface.

      I am so glad that I accepted this one for review.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • What a great selection, I never cease to be surprised at the things I read about thanks to blogging! I have just called by to say I am still around, still having computer issues and very busy in the real world. A belated Congratulations to you as well, April is a popular month for weddings!

    • Hi Linda,

      I was going to try contacting you to see how you were getting on with your computer problems, but I guess by now that will be a sore point and probably better not discussed.

      We have had nothing but Birthdays and Anniversaries since Christmas and it doesn’t all quiten down until August, so we didn’t really bother celebrating too much in April.

      We did have a brilliant weekend away visiting friends in Llandudno, back over the early May Bank Holiday. The meal at the pub you mentioned, was very good, although as it was a Sunday, there was really only the carvery to choose from. A walk along Barmouth sea front, finished the day off well.

      I was really pleased with some of the great words I manged to come across this week and spent an interesting and entertaining time checking them all out. I can recommend the book wholeheartedly, even though I haven’t finished it yet, one of the best I have read for a while.

      Hope that things quieten down for you soon an that you are back in ‘Blogland’ very soon.

Written by Yvonne