Published in 2014, by African Perspectives Publishing, Acacia is the author’s first novel. Tendai Machingaidze tackles a subject that most people go through at least once in their lifetime, love.
Acacia, just like the famous tree in Africa she’s named after, is a strong and resilient kind of woman. She’s had such an eventful lifetime that she decides to write a book about it. It is from her narrative that we learn all about her life, her search for fulfillment, her achievements and struggles as a young African American woman, whose roots are well ingrained into Africa, a land she feels a strong connection to but is not very familiar with.
At college, where she is studying medicine, Acacia meets Nikolas Antonio, a young man who loves her deeply but whose love she can’t return. She blames it all on her restlessness but can’t explain why she feels sad when Tony lets her free.
When she’s finally ready to start her new life without Tony, she meets Taylor, a fellow medical student who sweeps her off her feet. The relationship begins out well, with teas and coffees and doing assignments together. But this changes when Taylor gets a girlfriend and the bitter fights begin. Acacia seeks refuge in her longtime passion, dancing and finds a lifetime friend in Sahara, who becomes her pillar in this trying time.
Just like her mother told her: “Acacia trees flourish when rains are abundant. And when there’s drought, they persevere”. She flourishes before the disaster and she perseveres after.
The story and its characters are captivating. Acacia’s mother is portrayed as a very successful and hard working woman. Her grandmother, although not very educated is a fountain of wisdom which Acacia appreciates later on in life. These two women shape Acacia into a very strong person, but they still know when to pull back and let Acacia venture out to find herself and her own happiness. A very likeable character, one will cry with her when she’s hurting and jubilate with her when she finds happiness or success.
Tendai Machingaidze was born in Harare, Zimbabwe. She holds degrees from Syracuse University and South Western Seminary and is currently studying medicine in Russia. She has written many short stories, which have appeared in various publications and online sites.