By Hannah Lucinda Smith
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Zarifa Ghafari was three years old when the Taliban banned girls from schools, and she began her education in secret. She was six when American airstrikes began. She was twenty-four when she became mayor – one of the first female mayors in the country – and first of Wardak, one of the most conservative provinces in Afghanistan. An extremist mob barred her from her office; her male staff walked out in protest; assassins tried to kill her three times. Through it all, Zarifa stood her ground. She ended corruption in the municipality, promoted peace, and tried to lift up women, despite constant fear for herself and her family. When the Taliban took Kabul in 2021, Ghafari had to flee. But even that couldn’t stop her. Six months later, she returned, to continue her work empowering women.
Zarifa is an astonishing memoir that offers an unparalleled perspective of the last two decades in Afghanistan from a citizen, daughter, woman and mayor. Written with honesty, pain, and ultimately, hope, Zarifa describes the work she did, the women she still tries to help as they live under Taliban rule, and her vision for how grassroots activism can change their lives and the lives of women everywhere.
“In this earnest and fiery memoir, an activist and politician from Afghanistan recounts how her country’s instability marked her life.”New York Times
“This is a simply written and inspiring work that zips along with the pace of an adventure story. You can only be left in awestruck admiration at everything Zarifa has already achieved in her short life.”Geographical
“This is a timely memoir with far-reaching impact.”Audiofile
“Her self-titled memoir offers her unique perspective on the last two decades in Afghanistan while presenting her vision for how grassroots activism can change the lives of women everywhere.”Purewow
“Ghafari tells her inspiring life story with sincerity and passion, providing a nuanced and, at times, horrifying glimpse into Afghanistan’s devastating history… A searingly honest, profoundly courageous memoir of one fearless woman’s fight for her homeland.”Kirkus, starred review
“Frank and impassioned, Ghafari’s narrative spotlights the power of activism… a remarkable story of perseverance and resilience.”Publishers Weekly
“Anyone wanting to know the grim reality of being a woman in Afghanistan and trying to make a difference could not find a more illuminating book. Zarifa will break your heart.”Christina Lamb, OBE, chief foreign correspondent, The Sunday Times
“Zarifa’s words, like her life, are an act of courage, weaving heartache with hope. They illuminate all the things we take for granted, especially the ordinary moments, the daily freedoms, and most intimate of relationships. They illuminate the threads that connect our rights, freedoms, and happiness into an interconnected whole.”Shubhangi Swarup, author of Latitudes of Longing
“Ghafari narrates, in a style most simple but at the same time candid, poignant and powerful, the tales of Afghan women, including herself and her family, who lived and survived the long Afghan civil war marked by unprecedented violence… This gripping book can be read at one go and surely is a must buy.”Telegraph (India)
- On Sale
- Oct 11, 2022
- Page Count
- 288 pages