A twentieth-century Zimbabwean author, she is remembered for novels that feature poetic prose and strong female characters. Her best-known works include Nehanda and Without a Name.
She received her Ph.D. from York University in Toronto.
She was awarded the Macmillan Writers' Prize for Africa for her 2002 novel, The Stone Virgins.
She married John Jose. She died in 2005 from complications of AIDS.
She and Wilbur Smith were both natives of Zimbabwe.