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The Colours That Blind

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Thirteen-year-old Tumirai lives with his protective big brother, Mkoma in Harare, Zimbabwe. He's the first albino kid ever to have attended his school and constantly feels like an outsider.

When his brother is invited to go travelling for work, Tumirai goes to stay with their grandmother, Ambuya Thandie. She is scarred, in more ways than one, but her memory is a treasure tr
...more
Paperback, 359 pages
Published June 27th 2019 by Hot Key Books
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  74 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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Fadwa (Word Wonders)
Content warnings ~ (view spoiler)

This book was such a beautiful surprise. I picked it up not knowing what to expect from it as this was the first time I read from this author and I hadn't even heard of this book before reading it and yet now, it's one tha
...more
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
A powerful YA story, one I’m very glad I read. It’s emotional but also uplifting. The characters are so well written and developed, it is beautifully written and you feel everything as you go on Tumi’s journey. A highly recommended read, another book I feel that should be in schools and libraries as very influential, informative and the type of book that needs to be read for change. This book hopefully will be up for some good read awards as it deserves it. Truly powerful and inspirational read. ...more
Linda Hepworth
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story is told through the alternating voices of Tumi and Thandiwe and I found the way in which the author wove together the two storylines and the two timelines to be very effective. Each of the switches – between the two voices and between modern day Zimbabwe and 1970s Rhodesia – always felt smooth and timely, enhancing the storytelling rather than distracting from it.
I don’t want to go into any details about what Thandiwe’s diary reveals about the brutal and heart-breaking experiences she
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Jacqueline Allan
Apr 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sincere thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for providing me an ebook copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

This is not my usual genre, I’m more of a crime/thriller reader however this story intrigued me. I absolutely loved it, truly one of the best books I have read. I am extremely pleased and grateful to both for opening up my mind to something totally different.
Selina
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, contemporary
The Colours That Blind tells the story of Tumirai, a 14 year old boy living in Zimbabwe with albinism who is desperate to join the national swim team. However, disaster strikes when Tumi must go to stay with his ambuya (grandmother) in a rural village, stopping him from going to his daily swim practices. If that wasn’t bad enough, Tumi is convinced that something isn’t quite right with his grandmother, who has stayed in contact with her son, who is in prison for trying to kidnap Tumi. But when T ...more
Romina
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
He watched too, then cleared his throat. ‘Well, I’d like to say that this hair was a true thing of beauty.’ My eyes welled up as his turned and stayed on me. ‘But you, even without it, are still a work of art. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.’

I received this book yesterday and I am already done with it. It took me less than a day to finish it. Let me warn you, once you start reading, you will not be able to put it down.

The story follows the life of a young boy, Tumirai, who has experie
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Louise Pharo
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This story is set in Zimbabwe and we follow the life of Tumi who desperately wants to make the Zimbabwean national swimming team because for him swimming is a way that he escapes the hatred and exclusion his albinism brings him. He then goes to stay with his grandmother (His Ambuya) and the trauma from the terrible thing that happened to him all comes flooding back. Ambuya then tries to console him by revealing her own past, a story of living in war torn Rhodesia.

This book is a powerful, moving
...more
Ursula
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I like novels which take me to a whole new world. Usually these are historical or science fiction and often involve a main character who doesn't really fit in as this provides a window on the situation for the reader.

This novel is of rather recent history as it is set in modern Zimbabwe with an urban albino schoolboy visiting relatives in a rural area. But there is another story of his grandmother when she was a young woman in the time of apartheid, terror and turmoil shortly before Rhodesia ga
...more
Runa Begum
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a book that deals with personal and social issues. It is set in two different timelines, Zimbabwe in the present and in the past of 1975 with two narrators that of Tumi and his grandmother.

The central character is a teenage boy, Tumi who is the first albino in his school. He also deals with issues that other teenagers do such as trying to fit in and doing well in school. However he is made to feel like an outsider due to his light skin and hair colour.

His older brother, Mkoma plays the f
...more
Rhiannon
Jun 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jasmine Guffick
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was a very powerful read, it shook me to the core in parts and I shall remember it forever.
Tumirai is a young teen with albinism and this story covers his trouble facing making friends and fitting but more importantly dealing with the fact he is essentially hunted down by his uncle because of his albinism.
The book also covers Tumirai's grandmothers story his Umbaya. Thandiwe is her name and we are told her story through the pages in her diary. I felt the transition in the stories was d
...more
Megan
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tumi is a 14 year old boy in high school. He loves swimming, it's what he is good at and makes him feel like he fits in. Why doesn't he feel like he fits in? He has albinism. He struggles through high school with racism, people telling him he's too white to be black, not realising the hurt of their words.
Tumi is just weeks away from tryouts for the swimming nationals, when he is shipped off to his Grandmother's (Ambuya). The nightmares return as he returns what happen's to his last time he was t
...more
Louise Parker
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very powerful and extremely important book. I have to say, my knowledge of geography and world history is quite poor, something I am working to rectify, and this book certainly helped with that. I learnt about another culture and the history of another country, which is effectively the history of my country too. The way that the two stories, which I understand were originally conceived separately, were weaved together was absolutely flawless. I couldn't put the book down, and in the end I stay ...more
Nutty
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a story about a young albino boy named Tumi who lives in modern day Zimbabwe where he is is made to feel like he does not fit in anywhere because of the colour of his skin. Tumi is a great swimmer and he is trying to make it into the national swimming team to prove to everyone that he is not worthless. Swimming makes him feel confident, and as part of the team, he would feel like less of an outsider.
He lives with his brother who has to go away because of his job at the same time that t
...more
Elaine
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This novel has two intertwined stories focused on a young albino boy and his grandmother when she was young.
Set in present day Zimbabwe the young albino boy is faced with persecution based on his albinism. When he was a young boy his uncle attacked and kidnapped him while he was living with his grandmother who he no longer trusts. He is working hard to become part of the Zimbabwe swim team.
He is sent to stay with his grandmother and starts to hear her story from when she was young and lived th
...more
Gail Owen
Sep 06, 2020 rated it liked it
The solace of sport


Fifteen-year-old Tumirai lives with his protective big brother, Mkoma in Harare, Zimbabwe. He's the first albino kid ever to have attended his school and constantly feels like an outsider.

When his brother is invited to go travelling for work, Tumirai goes to stay with their grandmother, Ambuya Thandie. She is scarred, in more ways than one, but her memory is a treasure trove - and her stories of Zimbabwe's war for independence are a long, long way from the history Tumirai has
...more
Lynn Beasley
Jan 11, 2021 rated it liked it
I like novels which take me to a whole new world. Usually, these are historical or science fiction and often involve the main character who doesn't really fit in as this provides a window on the situation for the reader.

This novel is of rather recent history as it is set in modern Zimbabwe with an urban albino schoolboy visiting relatives in a rural area. But there is another story of his grandmother when she was a young woman in the time of apartheid, terror and turmoil shortly before Rhodesia
...more
Dylanjake
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Teen turmoil with a twist
Tumi is at that awkward adolescent teenage stage. Where you are no longer a child, yet not adult.
He is overcoming upsetting events in his past whilst navigating his way through school. Working hard with the aim of becoming captain of the school swim team.
Trying to fit in with peers but holding them at arms length only giving them the access to.the parts of his life he wants them to see.
Then his brother (who is also Tumi's care taker and father figure) has to leave to
...more
Mano2052
Mar 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing
First of all, an albino kid in Zimbabwe. This transcends boundaries. I love the refreshing new perspective. A point of view that is usually dismissed. The cover initially intrigued me, then the description allowed me to invest my time to read the book. It's emotive and describes of an experience only 1 in 20,000 people worldwide can understand. It allows representation of an unrepresentated minority. The character allows for me to empathise, the uniqueness and differences with people you spiritu ...more
Kirsty
Jul 23, 2020 rated it liked it


This book had the potential to be better than it actually was.

I enjoyed it, but felt like something was missing.

At the start, we learn about the main character...but only really that he likes swimming. He is an albino black lad...which is pretty unusual, but it doesn't really dwell on the fact, more just mentions it at the start and only once really again when his crazy uncle is out of prison in need of blood.

The way that African traditional language is used throughout is immensely confusing. It
...more
Ria
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tumi has albinism and feels the only way he can be accepted at school, escape hatred and a terrible thing that happened in his past is by swimming.
But at the time of the sports trials he is sent to stay with his grandmother where the memories of that awful night come racing back and through circumstances it it even has repurcussions now.
Somehow he seems to blame his "Ambuya" for what happened but is she really to blame?
When she reveals her past to him by telling her own shocking story Tumi sees
...more
Sandra
Jul 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book, was not sure originally but really glad I chose it. It is the story of a young boy growing up in Zimbabwe and the trials that he has to face from prejudice against his Albinism from his peers and even members of his own family.

He is sent to stay with his grandmother who has her own stories to tell, she grew up under apartheid when the country was Rhodesia, and he learns that he is not the only one that has struggled.

This is one of those books that when you start to read you
...more
Rhiannon
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, 2020-reads
Right from the start I found this book so interesting. I have never read a book like this before so I was so excited to read it. This is also the first book by Rutendo Tavengerwei I have read too. I did not know much about Albania before reading, so it was good to learn more about it.

There are a lot of issues discussed such as racism, family, friendship and just growing up in general. These topics are described really well, not over the top and not too little. I can imagine this would be really
...more
legenbooksdary
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
The Colours That Blind is an emotional book but also heartwarming. Its about identity, of discrimination against the skin colour, the hate crimes that existed in Zimbabwe and a story unlike any other I've read before.

I really wanted to get into Tumi's story through the phases that he went through but unfortunately I couldn't really get into it. It was quite slow most of the time and it was only towards the end that things started to pick up.

I honestly was more interested to read Tumi's story a
...more
Jo
Aug 24, 2020 added it
Have to say I really loved this book. It takes the reader on a journey to a country where the colour of your skin means so much and not just the difference between black and white but also albinoism. The reader is transported through a journey of a teenage boy and his grandmother. This is weaved into the book really well, when the boy uncovers letters his grandmother sent his brother when he was away in America. The story of her journey is heartbreaking and also tells a love story. This helps b ...more
Fish Lee
This book hit too close to home, the book already starting with "And to everyone who feels inadequate, you are enough."

Of course, I couldn't relate to Tumi, but as a person of Asian descent and often a target of school as one of the only Asian people, I couldn't help but relate to Tumi as he attended school and felt like an outsider as I did.

Tavengerwei has done a tremendous task, communicating so fluidly and effectively of what Tumi had gone through and the trauma that no one should ever face
...more
Oona
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
this book will teach you a lot about Albania and the cultures and things people have to put up with who live there. I would love to have this book as is such a powerful story which combines relationships with social issues. the plot is incredible and the authors writing style is really unique.

There are a lot of issues discussed such as racism, family, friendship and just growing up in general. These topics are described really well, not over the top and not too little. I can imagine this would
...more
Snow Flake
The cover of this book and its title was what drew me in and convinced me to read it. "The colours that blind" is an abstract and beautiful title that leaves a lot to the imagination, and makes you wonder what the book is about, although it gives the instant impression that some brilliant ideas will be explored. This is proven correct by the plot. It is a very unique story, and it takes a different approach that i haven't personally come across before. the characters are extremely interesting a ...more
Charlotte
This is a really interesting book about identity and race, and I think a lot of people would benefit from reading it.

I liked the way that it is based on a true story and I was eager to know where it goes. It's a very insightful novel which covers a unique topic, but one that I think a lot of people could relate to. I personally find a true story more interesting and will be more drawn to them when selecting books, and this story feels very unique and not like one I'd read before.

The front cover
...more
Kate
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This took me a while to get into, there are several characters and they all have nicknames or are known by other names, I didn’t feel like I got to know them but I did keep reading to want to get to know them more. The emotions and family relationships made this an enjoyable read. The story of Tumi and his desire to make captain of the swim team and his frustrations when he was sent away to stay with his grandmother felt very real and I could empathise with his feelings. His grandmother has her ...more
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Rutendo Nomsa Tavengerwei grew up in Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa to study Law. One of her greatest influences in writing remains her father, who tutored Rutendo from the age of nine, teaching her how to write and how to play around with language when telling a story. According to Rutendo "writing is more than just story-telling for me. It's a way to protest against injustices, a way to ...more

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