Writing about Zimbabwe while living in the US has changed her language and her identity, says NoViolet Bulawayo, the author of “We Need New Names.”
I wrote the novel at a specific time of my country’s history. Recent history, I should say, when the country was coming undone, due to failure of leadership. And by saying “we need new names” I was speaking for the need for us as a people to sort of re-imagine, rethink ourselves, rethink our way, think about where we were going. We needed new ways of seeing things, new ways of doing things, new leadership. It was basically a call for renewal. But it should not be confined to Zimbabwe. I believe you can translate across borders.