Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly


Joe Davies

Fall 2021 - Mapfumo


It might have been a Christmas or a birthday present, but at some point during her first year in Zimbabwe my mother sent me a cassette by Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited – a tape called Gwindingwi Rine Shumba. This was, I later learned, Chimurenga or “Struggle” music, music with roots in the 15-year bush war for Zimbabwean independence. I liked it – maybe not at first – I was always fussy about what I would and wouldn’t listen to – but my mother had sent it, and it was different and catchy, and over time it ended up in the tape player often enough that it grew on me. At one place I lived I must have had it on when someone who worked at the A&A record store was visiting my roommate, and this visitor was completely taken with it. I lent it to him – his name was Joe as well – and he returned it after a while, along with a tape he’d made of several Zimbabwean bands, including more Thomas Mapfumo. I ended up listening to it at least as often as the tape my mom had sent.


Joe Davies’ short fiction has appeared in the Dublin Review, eFiction India, PRISM International, the Missouri Review, and previously in Queen’s Quarterly. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario.