Sweet Medicine takes place in Harare at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic woes in 2008. Tsitsi, a young woman, raised by her strict, devout Catholic mother, believes that hard work, prayer and an education will ensure a prosperous and happy future. She does well at her mission boarding school, and goes on to obtain a scholarship to attend university, but the change in the economic situation in Zimbabwe destroys the old system where hard work and a degree guaranteed a good life.
Out of university, Tsitsi finds herself in a position much lower than she had set her sights on, working as a clerk in the office of the local politician, Zvobgo. With a salary that barely provides her a means to survive, she finds herself increasingly compromising her Christian values to negotiate ways to get ahead.
Sweet Medicine is a thorough and evocative attempt at grappling with a variety of important issues in the postcolonial context: tradition and modernity; feminism and patriarchy; spiritual and political freedoms and responsibilities; poverty and desperation; and wealth and abundance.