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Zimbabwe's Bridget Jones

The elusive 30-something lady's sassy columns about single life have generated an avid following.

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"It's you, isn't it?" I can't hide the triumph in my voice when I spot the woman with the orange teardrop earrings. "You are the 30-Something Lady!"

I've been trying to track down this writer for months. She pens a column in Zimbabwe's state-controlled Manica Post newspaper called "Diary of a 30-Something Lady." During the latter years of this Southern African country's crisis, Zimbabwe's very own Bridget Jones has written with humor and honesty about what it means to live here as a professional 30-something singleton.

The 30-Something Lady has to cope not only with man problems but also with price increases, power cuts, and the psychology degree she's studying for in her spare time.

"Which is better, no water or no electricity?" she ponders, coming home one night to find there is no water for her bath. When she hears that the payment of her office-job salary will be delayed – a common occurrence here after a nine-year economic downturn – she wonders how she'll pay for her manicure as well as her rent.

She writes about her friends, slim Ms. Matetwe ("I tell you, the girl eats but it goes nowhere") and "traditionally built" Ms. Mafuta; about bad hair days, inattentiveness during Sunday sermons, her love of shopping, and her on-off relationship with quiet but secretly devoted Mr. Old Mutare, her Mr. Darcy equivalent.


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