Author Profile: Wilson Katiyo

Wilson Katiyo was a Zimbabwean writer. He published two novels, A Son of The Soil in 1976 and Going to Heaven in 1979 while in exile in Europe. Very little information is available about the Zimbabwean writer. He passed away in 2003 before finishing his last novel Tsiga.

Much like other writers of the time, he wrote about living in Rhodesia. After independence he joined the government as a civil servant working in the office of the Ministry of Information. Wilson Katiyo left Zimbabwe for Europe again in 1987, disappointed by the progress or lack thereof made by the post-colonial government in furthering the rights and freedoms of the Zimbabwean people.

The best article I have seen on Wilson Katiyo was written in The Standard Newspaper. Read the full article here.

Very few copies of his books are available. Books of Africa has the most extensive collection.

A Son of The Soil (1976)

A Son of the Soil by Wilson Katiyo is first novel of Wilson; set in Zimbabwe when it was still white-ruled Rhodesia. It begins with an old man recalling the story of the coming of the white men and their often-destructive impact on the existing societies. The old man dies and on the same day, a boy is born in the village. This is the story of this boy, Alexio, and his turbulent life. At secondary school and gets interested in politics. This leads to persecution by the police, which drives him to flee.

The story illustrates the impact of racism on a sensitive boy and provides a vivid picture of pre-independence Zimbabwe.

A Son of the Soil was a set text on the Cambridge Overseas Examinations GCE ‘O’ level syllabus in the late 1980s and early 1990s. For many Zimbabweans it was formative reading. The book is of interest because of its place in Zimbabwean literature. In its representation of the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood, of life in a racially segregated society and of political consciousness and activism, it tells a story which will appeal to a wide range of readers worldwide. - Books of Africa

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Going to Heaven (1979)

Going to Heaven is only listed as a sequel to A Son of Soil. There is no comprehensive description or summary of the book on the internet. A synopsis on Goodreads states that, "After struggles to survive as one of the oppressed Black majority in Zimbabwe, Alexio learns a new kind of survival as one of the Black minority in England."

Tsiga (2003)

The story of a freedom fighter in Zimbabwe who returns to the streets of Harare after Independence. He is now homeless and determined to take revenge. Through Tsiga’s eyes Katiyo introduces us to a range of memorable characters and takes us into the heart of a new and unhappy society. “Stunning – incredibly moving and disturbing but a wonderful piece of writing. - Books of Africa

Purchase here

Other sellers include Abe Books UK