Characters in Zimbabwe

Darling – the narrator of the novel. She lived comfortably in Zimbabwe before political unrest sent her and many others of her community to a shanty-town called Paradise.The first half of the novel follows Darling as a child, playing games and stealing guavas with her friends, while the second half of the novel follows her life in America with her aunt, Fostalina.

Mother of Bones – Darling’s primary caretaker while her father is in South Africa and her mother sells things at the border. She is very strict and religious woman. 

Mother Darling’s Mother. She is away often selling things to bring back money for her family, and is not very present in Darling’s life.

Father – Darling’s father. He leaves for South Africa shortly after the family arrives at Paradise. When he returns to Paradise, he is very sick and Darling has to take care of him.

MotherLove –  a woman in the community. She tries to be grounded and to help the community stay together. She finds Darling and friends trying to get rid of Chipo’s stomach.

Godknows – a friend of Darling’s who tries to act very masculine and brave.

Bastarda friend of Darling’s who often tries to act brave like Godknows. He also meets Darling’s father and she sees a change in him.

Chipo – a friend of Darling’s. She was raped by her grandfather and got pregnant at the age of 11. This traumatic event caused her to hardly speak. After Darling left for America, Chipo named her daughter Darling.

Stina – a friend of Darling’s. Darling finds him cute and likes him the most out of all the boys. 

Sbho – a friend of Darling’s. She often plays the maternal role of the group and is also very pretty.

Forgiveness – a girl whose family is new to paradise and is not considered a “friend-friend” by Darling. She has lighter skin and looks different than the others. She is the one who suggest Chipo have the coat hanger abortion.

Bitchington Mborro – Leader of the Church on Mount Fambeki. He is very loud and leads the religion-based assault of a young woman during a church meeting.

NGO people – NGO or “Non-governmental organization.” They are a group of volunteers who bring presents in exchange for pictures of the kids. The children graciously await their arrival.

Characters in the USA

Aunt Fostalina – Darling’s aunt. She used to live in Zimbabwe and moved to America when Darling was a young girl. Darling always dreamt of living with her in America.

Uncle Kojo – Darling’s uncle living in America, who is originally from Ghana.

TK- Darling’s male older cousin who lives in America. He keeps to himself and often shuts himself in his room to play video-games. He later joins the army.

Marina – a friend of Darling’s from school. Marina is originally from Nigeria and is more open about her background than Darling.

Kristal – a friend of Darling’s from school. She knows how to wear makeup and do her hair, feels like she is better than the other girls because she was born in America.

Eliot – Aunt Fostalina’s former boss who Darling worked for briefly as a maid.

Jim – Darling’s boss when she works at a grocery store.



We Need New Names’   Homepage

Sarah Cottrell ’18

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