Lobola, love & youth
Virginia Phiri

Virginia Phiri takes us from reality to literature in this episode to engage with topics including lobola and youth education in African contemporary societies. Talking from Zimbabwe, we discuss the role of families and communities on the relevance of maintaining African traditions in a way that is inclusive and generous to younger generations whilst also preserving original meanings. As such, we reflect on lobola as a token of appreciation for the family of the bride, a gift that brings together two families and unites rather than merely forming a financial transaction.

Virginia Phiri, a retired accountant, is widely known for her work with Zimbabwe Women Writers, Zimbabwean Academic and Non-Fiction Authors Association, Women Writing Africa Southern African Region, Feminist Press of New York 2003 and as current Vice President of African Literature Association Women’s Caucus. She is author of “Desperate” 2002, “Destiny” 2006, “Highway Queen” 2010 and “Grey Angels” 2019. In addition, Phiri was commissioned by UNIFEM for a poem “Women and Peace” for the launch of “Progress of the World’s Women” Rehn and Johnson Sirleaf 2002 Volume 1; and commissioned by Peter Hammer Veerlag for a portrait of Professor Wangari Maathai, the first black African woman Nobel Peace Prize winner, for “Visionare Afrikas” published in German in 2014 and subsequently published in English in 2019 by Sub Saharan Publishers as “African Visionaries.” She presented her experiences as an African woman writer at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2008.  Phiri is an African orchid expert who sits on the IUCN Species Survival Commission and has co-authored over 70 articles in orchid journals. As a result of her accounting and literary background she sits on several Boards.

Virginia Phiri reading (Photo: Zimbabwe International Book Fair)