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Keeper of Faith: The Autobiography of Tatenda Taibu



    ‘A deep story and significant one’ — Alison Mitchell, Stumped 

    'A gutsy individual; always confident, always smart. I have nothing but admiration for Tatenda, who kept giving to the game and continually tried to do the right thing.' — Andy Flower

    Paperback. Pages: 268. Size: 234x153mm. ISBN: 978-1-909245-86-0. Publication: May 2019. 

    At the start of April 2004, Tatenda Taibu was announced as captain of the Zimbabwe cricket team after the resignation of Heath Streak. Aged just twenty, he had become the youngest Test skipper in history and the first black player to captain Zimbabwe in the sport. Just over a year later he was exiled in Bangladesh, on the run from a cricket board that tried to threaten him into silence. Keeper of Faith is his story. 

    From his upbringing in the township of Highfield, Harare, to his early days as a cricketing prodigy, to quitting the sport at the age of 29 to devote more time to his Christian faith, this autobiography reflects on what it is like to be an outspoken athlete in Zimbabwe during the regime of Robert Mugabe.

    Much of Taibu’s career took place against a backdrop of constant mismanagement, poor administration and regular political interference, and he provides first-hand accounts of the damaging effect this had on Zimbabwe cricket, from Andy Flower and Henry Olonga’s ‘death of democracy’ protest at the 2003 World Cup to his own stand in 2005, which compromised the safety of him and his young family.

    The fame that the sport brought him also caused him to question his purpose in life and Taibu reflects on the rediscovery of his faith, which helped him to put cricket – and his life – into a better perspective.

    Coming full circle, Taibu witnessed more recent developments in Zimbabwean cricket as a selector and academy director only to leave once more in acrimonious circumstances – which makes him perfectly placed to offer his views on the way forward for sport in his country after an era of turmoil.


    Tatenda Taibu was born in Highfield, Harare, on 14 May 1983, three years after Robert Mugabe had become Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. His natural cricketing talent was obvious from a young age, and it was not long before he was at the forefront of a generation of young black cricketers from Harare making a serious impression in a then-white dominated sport. 

    He made his Test and One Day International debuts in 2001 when he was just eighteen years old and was named vice-captain on a tour of England when he was nineteen. Just two years later he was appointed permanent captain – the youngest in test cricket history and the first black player to captain Zimbabwe – following Andy Flower and Henry Olonga’s ‘death of democracy’ protest in 2003 and the white player walkout led by Heath Streak in 2004.

    Tatenda would soon understand the perils of the role himself, and in November 2005 he announced his resignation from the role and his international retirement, after a series of disputes with the board led to his family’s safety being compromised. Tatenda spent the intervening period in countries such as Bangladesh and England, before a return to the national team a few years later as a more detached member of the side. 

    He announced his retirement for good in 2012, as his rediscovery of faith began to demand more of his time, while making him view the sport in a different light. He returned to help Zimbabwe as selector, scout and academy director in 2016, but once again mismanagement and interference from above led to him and many others’ departure a year later, leaving Zimbabwean cricket in a familiar position of peril.

    He now lives in Crosby, Liverpool with his wife Loveness and his two young boys.

    Jack Gordon Brown, who collaborated on this book, was born in London. After studying journalism at the University of Salford, he became an editor at deCoubertin books in 2016. He collaborated with Philip Ross and James Corbett on Faith of our Families: Everton: An Oral History and England: The Complete Record, 1872-2018.

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