Comfortably they sit
23 August 2010
Comfortably they sit
18 August 2010
By Beaven Tapureta
(First published in The Standard, January 31 –February 6 2010)
As Zimbabwean publishers and writers last year tried their best, readers continue to be burdened under the economics of dollarization.
In 2009, more than 10 titles were issued out from different publishing stables in and outside the country but the high cost of living have affected the reader who is an important stakeholder in the book industry.
Petina Gappah, who won the 2009 Guardian First Book Award for her book An Elegy for Easterly (2009, Faber and Faber), a collection of stories which critics described as “disarmingly funny” and Christopher Mlalazi, author of Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township (Amabooks, Bulawayo) which received Honorable Mention at the NOMA Awards for Publishing in Africa, did their country proud but not much is known about an Elegy for Easterly to the ordinary readers in Zimbabwe. Petina’s book will be translated into seven languages soon. The same could be said of Brian Chikwava’s Harare North (2009, Jonathan Cape), available from Weaver Press.
Lion Press Ltd which is based in the UK and specializes in books written by Southern Africa writers, especially those resident outside Africa, has brought hope and last year the company featured writers such as David Mungoshi (The Fading Sun), Christopher Mlalazi (Many Rivers), Ignatius T Mabasa (The Man, Shaggy Leopard and the Jackal), and others. Again, some of these books and together with a poetry anthology called State of the Nation: Contemporary Zimbabwe Poetry (Conversation Paper Press, UK) are yet to be available in the local bookshops. Many Rivers is now available in Zimbabwe but the author is worried about the dying reading culture.
Generally, the novel competed closely with the short story.
Weaver Press published The Trek and Other Stories by Lawrence Hoba, which deals, among other issues, with the plight of women and children in the “masculinised’ land reform era. Daniel Mandishona also published a short story collection called White Gods Black Demons (Weaver Press, 2009).
As a way of encouraging people, especially writers, to buy books, Weaver Press hosted readings on January 21, 2010 at the Book Café with Hoba and Mandishona reading from their short story collections. There was also a discussion on book buying and book marketing in Zimbabwe led by Murray McCartney and Fanuel Jongwe.
Local women also came on board with important literature. Primrose Dzenga came up with an exceptional biography called Auxillia Chimusoro: The Unsung Hero published by Zimbabwe Women Writers. This book is about the life of one the earliest women in Zimbabwe to divulge their HIV status.
Tendai Kateketa Westerhof, an AIDS activist, of the Unlucky in Love fame, came on with her second book Dear Cousin published by Public Personalities Against Aids Trust last year.
Coming Home, a book which tracks a character’s journey from exile to his home country written by the late Olley Tsino Maruma, was also published last year by Gonamombe Press. The author died during the 2009 festive season.
How many of these titles are circulating in Zimbabwe remains a matter of conjecture. The diminishing reading culture remains a setback. With the snail-paced economic transition the country is going through, many Zimbabweans would rather first seek the dollar before they settle down to read a book.
14 August 2010
pamwe ndomhemhaira nepata pata
pita pata pita pata kuda dzidzo
asika ticha havako, chafambirwa dho-o
ticha vakachata nemari
vave kuida kukunda Mwari
kavo kambo ndi incentive
or else vanove inactive
kuchikoro nemari half
ndinowana ticha vari tough
kuti vagofara chose
vangu baba vazvimba musoro
yavo mhuri wave mutoro
kubasa vanotambira ya kondo misodzi
uko bepa remitero yemadhora kuuso dzi-i
dai kudenga pari pedo ndaiinda
ndanonamatira pana Mwari senda
dzidzo zvave zviroto
chokwadi ndiri mumoto
Na Hwande Patrick , Gokwe (Nembudziya)
11 August 2010
Our inaugural writers’ meeting took place on May 8 in Harare and the response from writers was astounding. Monthly literary meetings had to be briefly stopped due to certain factors beyond our control but the organisation went ahead to participate in this year’s ZIBF Live Literature. Our one-hour programme called “Literary Treats” at the Live Literature Centre proved a big step in the right direction as the number of young, aspiring writers who affiliated to us on this day was overwhelming, motivating.
It remains within our faith that in Zimbabwe (as it GENERALLY was in Nigeria during the boom of the Pacesetters series), if you randomly throw a stone in any direction in any public place, the probability of hitting a writer is unbelievably high. Although publishing is normally an uphill task, almost everyone has a story to tell out of his or her creative imaginations. The writers we know are not all the writers of Zimbabwe, there are many others occulted under the bushel, which WIN ZIMBABWE, come high waters, will lift up to expose the talented scribes the country is waiting to be proud of. There is a sparkling group of writers undiscovered, a group within this current generation of our writers, a group that is continually growing towards the making a generation of its own. WIN ZIMBABWE will not leave them as orphans.
On a date soon to be announced, WIN ZIMBABWE, now duly registered as a writers’ organisation in terms of the Zimbabwean law, will conduct another important writers’ meeting that will set up a Harare/ Chitungwiza Cluster Committee, which will run the affairs of the Cluster. Now that a cluster has come into being, this is a proud phenomenal development as the launch of a committee will ensure smooth coordination and running of our writing activities within Harare and Chitungwiza.
WIN ZIMBABWE’s quest for an improved reading and writing culture is inexhaustible. Our will is to befriend forever writers who take writing as “a lifetime apprenticeship”, to support, promote new/young writers attempting NEW forms of fiction, poetry, short story and to bridge the gap among male and female, old and young, published and unpublished, urban and rural-based, locally and internationally based Zimbabwean writers.
The platform is still open to writers wishing to join us and take part in our future activities.
For further information:
05 August 2010
Ko ini ndini ndadii?
Ko, unondirwadzisirei zvakadai?
Hausi iwe here wakauya kwandiri,
Ukati unotambanudza ruoko kwandiri,
Ndashaya mari yechikoro?
Kuna mai vangu ndiwe wakaenda,
Ukati hatingadyi nhoko dzezvironda iwe uripo –
Musi uya wakandibata mukaka,
Zuro ukandibata magaro,
Ini ndikazviti mwii
Ko handiti taidya kubva muruoko rwako?
Asi kunanzva hakuna kukugudza
Asi inyota rudzii murume mukuru?
Nhasi wandivharira mumba mako,
Ukandibvisa umhandara zvine chisimba,
Waiti kuchema kwangu kuchemerera?
Waiti kuhwihwidza kwangu kushinyira nekuzipirwa?
Yangu mhosva ndeyeiko?
Kubhadharirwa chikoro here?
Ko, wakadii kundikumbira zvakanaka
Kana ndaikushaisa hope?
© P. Chidavaenzi, August 4, 2010.
02 August 2010
WIN-ZIMBABWE’S hour of “Literary Treats” during ZIBF Live Literature on Saturday July 30 was nothing but the “power hour” for the poets and storytellers. The poets rendered gripping episodes of their poetry fused with Mbira music. Although the programme started late, it turned explosive soon as WIN-ZIMBABWE took to the stage.
About forty aspiring poets and writers, mainly students from Harare and Norton, joined WIN-ZIMBABWE on the very same day. Names by order of pictures: Mr. Makuvaza, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe representative, Sympathy Sibanda, Jerry Mafaiti, Tilda Gozho, Form 2 student at Glen View High 2, and part of the crowd that came to witness the performances.