What was it like in white supremacist Rhodesia before the devastating race war out of which the troubled country of Zimbabwe with all its bitterness was born? Iron Man Ian Smith and his White Front had declared Independence from the British Crown in 1965 and taken over Rhodesia with its splendid highlands, God and white man's country. In the 1970s the Matabele and Mashona freedom fighters were once again in the hills, over the borders in Zambia and Mozambique, and war was in its beginnings. On an impulse to be part of it, an idealistic young American quits his teaching job in Kenya and heads down the Great North Road to see Rhodesia for himself, write something true about it, and help in some way the cause of freedom. In The Angels of Zimbabwe, readers are taken back to the early 1970s to join Joe, a young American, in Salisbury, the capital of Rhodesia, on an adventure to find the ZANU freedom fighters, where at first, instead, he lands a job with The Clarion, a local European newspaper, and makes friends with both white and black in this country where the mixing of races was illegal. As author Peter de Lissovoy's story delves deeper and deeper into this contradiction, readers are taken on a journey that is filled with tension and danger, but also hope, passion, and bitter humor. His best friend Shakespeare is an idealistic member of the ZANU freedom fighters, who hopes that communication with the European settlers is still possible, and his girlfriend Heather is white, from a wealthy liberal family, who fears the worst for her country. With Shakespeare, Joe gets involved in a protest march and land seizure intended to dramatize the plight of the poverty-stricken African tribespeople and make the whites aware of the danger t only the Africans but the white settlers are in too. His heart is with the freedom fighters, but he is astonished to find himself tied to the Europeans as well. Finding himself in the spiritual -man's land between the races in Rhodesia, he wonders if he'll survive with skin and sanity intact and if in the end he will have done any good. With youthful abandon, Joe and Shakespeare hope to uproot the ancient tree of strife with a march and a newspaper headline, only to find they've planted a whole new seed of trouble. Will their effort to educate the European population prevent a race war from engulfing the whole country, or will all that follows be only more tragedy and murder? Hard as it is to imagine w, there was a time when such hopes of reconciliation still flourished in Zimbabwe. In The Angels of Zimbabwe, Peter de Lissovoy, who back then was briefly a member of the ZANU Youth Wing himself, recalls those forgotten days and casts a ray of hope for the future.
Peter de Lissovoy attended Harvard University and spent fifteen months in Africa working as a reporter in Rhodesia and teaching with a Harvard project in Tanzania. In Rhodesia, he joined the youth wing of the Zimbabwe African National Union, out of which experience came the novel Angels of Zimbabwe. He was expelled from South Africa for interviewing banned ANC leader Chief Albert Luthuli, and having to flee southern Africa, he hitch-hiked from Cape Town to Cairo. In the US, he was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and was jailed several times in southwest Georgia, where he lived for two years during the Civil Rights Movement and wrote Feelgood: A Trip in Time and Out, a novel about the Civil Rights Movement and life and work on the black side of a small Georgia town. He is coauthor and editor of The Great Pool Jump, a nonfiction collection of reminiscences about the Civil Rights Movement. De Lissovoy has taught English and writing at Harvard University Extension School and lives in northern New Hampshire with his wife, dogs, and horses.