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Some kinds of childhood

- Deborah Minors

The books of Prof. Robert Muponde illustrate how critical redress in cultures of representation can yield cross-disciplinary innovation in global humanities.

Muponde is a writer and an intellectual in the Department of English at Wits. He has edited titles which have contributed to an intellectual infrastructure in the study of Zimbabwean literature and culture.

These titles include No More Plastic Balls: New Voices in the Zimbabwean Short Story, which is now a set book at A-Level schools in Zimbabwe. Sign and Taboo: Perspectives on the Poetic Fiction of Yvonne Vera remains a major reference book.

Versions of Zimbabwe: New Approaches to Literature and Culture has become the canonical go-to for anyone beginning explorations of Zimbabwean literature while Manning the Nation: Father Figures in Zimbabwean Literature and Society is on the reading lists for gender studies in South Africa and African Studies institutions in Africa and abroad.

Muponde’s monograph, entitled Some Kinds of Childhood: Images of History and Resistance in Zimbabwean Literature, focuses on the child/childhoods to connect creative works to historical trajectories and political and social movements. The monograph has been described as an important contribution to the field of Zimbabwean literature and beyond.

Muponde’s subsequent study on the configurations of childhoods takes the form of creative non-fiction titled The Scandalous Times of a Book Louse and a book provisionally titled Cultures of Representation, an anthology of critical essays. 

Read more about research at Wits in Wits Research Matters.