been published and translated into over 14 languages.
Maraire, a full-time practising neurosurgeon based in Klamath Falls, Oregon USA, was born in Harare in 1966 during the liberation struggle against British colonial rule. She has initiated neurosurgery programmes in several institutions in Delaware, Ohio and Oregon. Maraire is well travelled and has been educated and lived in many countries including Jamaica, the United States, Canada and Wales.
She was selected to attend Atlantic College, one of the United World Colleges, in Wales. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and then attended The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Maraire completed her neurosurgery training at Yale University in USA. She was awarded a Clinical Fellowship Award by The Congress of Neurological Surgeons which she used to work with Dr Fred Epstein in pediatric neurosurgery in New York City.
She is a public speaker who has been invited to lecture at various colleges and universities across the USA and has spoken to numerous book clubs and civic organisations and served on many literary panels including being an invited guest of The Gotenberg Literary Festival.
She has served on the Board of Directors of several organisations including The Rotary Foundation, The Ross Ragland Theatre and The South North Development Institute. Maraire has worked with and for many development agencies including The World Health Organisation, NORAD, the Norwegian aid agency and The Synergos Institute. She has also worked with the Synergos Institute as a consultant and programme co-ordinator and was instrumental in forming community investment funds Southern Africa. In 2010 she was one of the winners of the British Airways Entrepreneur Face to Face Award for her entry of Ecosurgica, her vision for cutting edge, affordable health care in southern Africa.
She is the founder of Cutting Edge Neurosurgeon Inc., a web based start up. She divides her time between the US and Zimbabwe. She is married to Allen Chiura, a urologist, also from Zimbabwe. They have four children.
Maraire’s grandparents, parents, and other close family members were directly involved in the struggle for independence. She lived and went to school in Canada, the United States, and Jamaica.
“I saw the world as vast and magical with so many different cultures and people. It opened me up and made me very adaptable to change. It also meant that I was not afraid to be in strange places, to experience, and to learn.”
A number of young people of her time left the country to be educated in foreign lands running away from the racist colonial system which denied the black majority equal opportunity. Despite the small numbers, the white colonial used a heavy hand over the Africans.
“I went to an all white school. It was horrid, the air seethed with anger and hate. I stayed in Zimbabwe until I was 18 and then moved to Boston to study at Harvard University,” added Maraire.
For her, it was truly a dream come true as she had always wanted to study in the USA. Growing up, she had dreamed about studying medicine in America. Maraire’s dream came true when she went to Columbia Medical School after receiving an undergraduate degree from Harvard. However, her plan is one day to return to Zimbabwe as a doctor and help improve Africa’s health care and economy.
While studying at Yale, Maraire was always extremely busy because she was on-call every other night and she had to balance her own courses, her research and work.
In 1995, she was published in the Neurosurgery journal for her work on intercranial cavernous malformations that lead to many neurological disabilities, haemorrhages, and seizures.
Maraire’s novel “Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter” was written without the intention of publication. She wrote the book to help her relax and enjoy life after a long hard day or week filled with classes, studying, performing surgery, and seeing patients. Despite her modest intentions, “Zenzele” was an extremely successful novel that it was the New York Times “Notable Book of the Year” in 1996. Maraire used this novel as an opportunity to express her perspective on Africa’s promising culture from a Zimbabwe woman’s perspective. It gave her a chance to speak for her generation.
“African women and especially young ones have been silent for so long. We are the discussed, the studied, the analysed, and the written about. And so I am privileged to have been able to raise my voice and speak for what we felt and cried and yearned,” said Maraire.
Rather than being an autobiography “in the true sense of it” “Zenzele” is an “emotionally biographical” novel because it not only incorporates her life experience, but it is also a collection of childhood stories she heard from her grandmother, mother, and aunt about their fight for independence.
“I have been through the depths of Zenzele’s soul. In a way I am each of the characters in the book as all authors are really,” she said.
The novel expresses her belief that it is every African’s “responsibility to give back to our countries what we have gained from the opportunities we have had.”
Other major themes included in the novel are: history, racism, dreams, freedom, family, and love. The book is a non-traditional first-person narrative written in the form of personal letter from a dying mother, Amai Zenzele, to her college-aged daughter.
“In this letter written by a mother to her daughter we each become her child, enriched by her knowledge born of laughter as well as pain,” she concluded. — Wikipedia/The Herald.