This novel is about a young Motswana lady, Miss Tebogo Harrison, who lived abroad for a few years and then moved back home to Botswana to take up a job at a local school.

The novel starts like those local stories on TV, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is turned into a movie or tv story, it reads like a movie or TV series more like The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Each scene is a very detailed step of the story. Brigitta’s attention to detail in her writing and descriptions is worth noting, she does a good job of painting scenes, rooms, feelings and events vividly with words.

The story starts with Miss Tebogo Harrison’s first day at a school, Mogwana High School. She is not a student but the new Guidance and Counseling teacher, in other words, she is the school’s shrink.

Basically Miss Tebogo Harrison is the fixer, and the crisis is school kids, teachers and their problems.

Tebogo Harrison, “Miss” as she occasionally corrects her colleagues, has to deal with problematic kids, those who are detained from their various indiscretions at school. But there is this one student, Lorato, who is battling physical abuse from home and Tebogo is battling to get through to her.

And then there is this dramatic, problematic student, Suzie. Suzie is the devil reincarnate. Her father is this powerful local businessman who sits on the school’s Board. Basically Suzie, by virtue of her dad’s position in the community and in the school, get’s away with anything and everything. Cross Suzie and you will find yourself expelled from the school.

And it so happens that Suzie feels threatened by this new school’s shrink. In Suzie’s mind shrinks nosy and they read people’s minds and she doesn’t like that.

And then there is a matter of love. There is the ex-boyfriend whom Tebogo met and loved at University, Lenny and then there is current crush, Eddy, the teacher at the school she just started working at. Both these guys are circling Miss Tebogo her like two vultures on a carcass.

Then Miss Tebogo Harrison is assigned to deal with escalating problem of drugs in the school, she has until the end of the term to solve it, otherwise she risks being fired.

The plot thickens and she has to solve all these issues, love, drugs, kids who are going mental, and in the process save her job.



I love the fact that you had relate to this story. The places, OR Tambo and the flights between ORT and Gaborone, Mokolodi Game Reserve, Botswana Craft, the washing of the dishes by hands, Game City, the TV programs are all things I’m familiar with and could relate to.

The story is well written, Brigitta combines, love, poetry, art, abuse, romance, and suspense in a neatly well interwoven threat that is so easy to follow.

If you are into suspense, love, art, poetry and a bit of suspense, this is good to read.

Favourite Quotes

  • And picked he was… but not to play. It was either to be the water boy, or the second reserve. It really didn’t bother Charles; he was needed, that’s all that mattered.”
  • “”What is a man like him doing in a place like this? He belongs on a poster in my room; he could easily be a magazine model or an actor.” She quickly reprimanded herself, “Stop it! Men like that are either taken, or players. You don’t have a chance here. Your mind shouldn’t be on men anyway; it should be on the children.””
  • I don’t want to seem ungrateful or anything. It’s just that sometimes I feel like I don’t have a say in how my child is raised. When I try and discipline Peo, my parents override my rules and give her whatever she wants.”
  • “She became particularly arrested by one canvas; it had a luring sadness. It depicted a young girl standing by the edge of the stream, her body resembling a rag doll that had been tossed around in the washer for too long. Her features were frail, almost ghostly. She looked like a shadow passing through… Like the howling wind.”
  • “Tebogo, you have so much to offer. I unfortunately cannot give you what you need. I have not yet reached a point in my life where I can commit… I’m not ready Tebogo. I’m just not ready to commit.”
  • “Instead of regular detention, kids are scheduled to have sessions with me. I’ve had students come in and just unburden themselves. Most of the boys, however, come to me to get advice on how to woo girls. Ironically, the girls ask for tips on how to reject boys without hurting their feelings”
  • “I’ve only been here a few months, and from what I’ve observed, I wouldn’t want to be her friend or her enemy. Being a neutral bystander is working just fine for me.”
  • “There was a new threat in Suzie’s life: Tebogo Harrison. In Suzie’s mind, shrinks were always threats. They were nosy. They read people’s minds. They could tell what you had had for lunch just by the way you walked. They could tell what mood you were in just by looking at the way you were dressed. They were worse than damn Father Christmas. Shrinks psycho-analysed why you were bad or good. I had better what out, Suzie thought.”
  • “The elephant was longer silent, it was throwing a tantrum, and it wasn’t pleasant.”
  • “My life has been on stand still. I have been wondering all these years what I had done wrong. I wondered what it was that I may have done, or said, that made you not love me enough to commit to me. I wondered what I could have done better. I tortured myself for years, Lenny, years. And you think you can just swoop in and pick up where you left off! No! It’s not happening.”
  • “Did he propose?” “No. That dinner was actually his farewell. He was leaving for Australia, I didn’t even know he had applied for a job there. I had always thought we were on the same page, but I wrong.”
  • “Illusion is not reality. Fantasy is a mirror of dreams. Unrealities that drift away from. They shift from beneath her feet like quick sand. She is sinking. The more she tries to fight, the more she degenerates into a pile of pitiful wanting. Her patchy skin looked uncared for. She drowns herself every night in hopes of not waking up. But reality always rises like the sun and moon that faithfully appear above the horizon. She cries bitterly for her life. She cries to get up. She cries to erase unfading memories. She cries to rewrite her past. She cries to fight the demons that lurk in the shadows. Seeking to cause her demise and harrow her waking moments. She breathes heavily and takes a sip of the sedative that only adds to her ruin. Choosing to ignore reason, She drowns her sorrows in a fermented barrow. Her mind is but strands of blurry images. She neither knows if she is coming or going. If she is alive or dead. If life is worth the fight.”

One thought on “Book Review: The Shrink by Brigitta Zwani

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