Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

29 October 2014

WIN Newsletter, No 82


 WIN lets the young writers meet their heroes

Welcome, welcome, hoping that you are all fine. The year is coming to an end, how fast time moves! Anyway, we bring you a special menu in this newsletter for you to relax and enjoy. Thank you so much for the support. Enjoy!


 Paida Mudzamba, an upcoming poet, playing the violin which she says has a poetic effect on her

On Saturday, October 25, WIN held its second ‘Inspirational Saturday’ meeting at its office in Harare.
The members who attended had an elevating discussion on the links between poetry and music, psychology and characterization. Paida Mudzamba, a poet, is also a gifted violinist who explained how she is inspired by music in the composition of her poetry. Paida also played some of her songs to demonstrate her points.
Another member Mimi Machakaire, author of the novel ‘Princess Gangster’ (2014, BookLove Publishers, Gweru) and a regular columnist for our WIN Newsletter, shared how in her novel she avoided following the good-girl-gone-bad plot and rather used the bad-girl-gone-worse string to bring out a new perspective.
Mimi, a teenage writer, could be one of a few published teenage writers in Zimbabwe and the discussants realized that lack of serious writers from this age group is possibly caused by lack of parental/family support.
The next meeting is expected to take place on November 8, 2014, same time at the same venue.


Writer Virginia Phiri is one of the key presenters 


Literary Evening


Prof Vitalis Nyawaranda, Virginia Phiri and Tinashe Muchuri

Readings by the authors and discussions on their work

FREE, all welcome!

Date: Thursday, 30 October, 2014
Time: 5pm
Venue: Book Cafe, Harare (139 Samora Machel Ave, Cnr 6th Street)

(Presented by the Zimbabwe Writers’ Association)


Mimi Machakaire

Negativity at every corner

This is an issue based on tough love. Some people do not realize how hard it is to be a writer and think that they can just wake up one day and make it happen. It is not that easy.  In this world people can be cruel about your decision to be a writer and the honest brutal fact is that not everyone will support you. If you are lucky you might get one or two people who will stand by you but at the end of the day we walk this earth alone and we need to be as durable as we can be to keep up with the lack of enthusiasm that society always throw at us.  As youths we tend to feed off encouragement and when we come across that one person who says ‘no’ we shut down. That needs to stop.  Whether you like it or not, you will come across enemies because once we have put ourselves out there we are automatically exposed to critics in every land and everyone who is not walking on the same path as you, sees themselves as such. 
As a writer we will dish out our manuscript to any publisher that we can find and wait anxiously to hear their thoughts on our story. We would have spent many moons working on our talents and when the job is done we think that we will be published instantly. Then when the first critic says ‘no’ we doubt ourselves as storytellers. Yet the thought of fame and fortune comes to mind as well as the sheer passion for our interests and this helps us persevere. Those of us who are brave enough to do so in any case will keep fighting patiently. For those who are not timid they need to be hit with the harsh reality that not everyone is going to enjoy reading your work but you cannot let that stop you from being published.
Even the best of the best out there were denied by several publishers at some point in their careers and because they did not allow the rejection to mess up their confidence and eventually they were finally heard. A great philosopher once said that no story lives until someone is there to listen, so know that if you keep your story hidden it will never exist. Keep pushing and ignore the ridicule that may come your way.
Instead of ignoring readers who say your story makes no sense, embrace them and try to figure out if their criticism can help you. Genuine critics help you become a success. Ignore the loud boos that might deafen your ears and ignore the people who say that you will be better off with a backup plan in case this career does not work out. Only you and you only know the ‘voice great within you’.
Being a writer is problematic to say the least and I will keep saying how hard it is because there are many writers of my generation out there who are not prepared to understand the consequences that come with it. It is challenging to take on the crowd on your own.
There will come a time when you will have what is called a writers’ block and you cannot come up with anything to add to your story. There will come a time when you will be tempted to plagiarize and end up taking over an idea that is not your own. There will come a time when you will be uninspired or got not the imagination to tell your story because someone else has told you that you will receive a lot of backlash from the audience.  Every story has its own reaction but that should not limit your imagination. If you want to write a story about an alien who lands in an African village and takes over that community then go for it because the mark of a true storyteller is the impact that they bring upon their audience. If society is not talking about it then you have not done anything. 
Look at the amount of harsh comments both good and bad that the writer/s behind the movie script called ‘2012’ got after its release. Everyone pulled out their Bibles in order to understand the hidden messages that the film might or might not have had. The audience assumed this was a warning; they were frightened  that the world was going to end and one citizen in particular even emptied out his bank account, gave away all his money, sold his house and awaited his death at a motel, simply because he thought that 2012 was the end. This is how great the impact of the movie had.
That kind of storytelling is what we need to keep the world entertained. No matter how controversial people will say it is, don’t be narrow-minded enough to accept that kind of disapproval. Society is afraid of something different but once it is presented to them they will go one of three ways. They will either accept that it is there and enjoy its company, or they might pretend that it is not or be angered by its existence or in their closed minded ways, try to destroy it.
As writers let us take a risk and think outside the box. Let us avoid being so petrified to experiment or be timid to see the outcome. Let us be adventurous with our work and develop a backbone which is strong enough to defend our inspiration when need comes.  Your passion for this career, despite all its challenges, should mean everything to you. Without passion there is no creativity behind your story. Finally, yet importantly, I say: Be READY for the negativity you WILL find at every corner of this earth BUT let us also believe in ourselves as writers because if we cannot, chances are too slim someone out there will take the time to believe in us.



CAPITALS is a proposed poetry anthology on the capital cities of the world edited by the award-winning poet-diplomat Abhay K. If you are a poet and have poems on a national capital city, please send it to:

General Submission Guidelines
  • Poems on national capital cities only. In English only. Maximum length-2 pages.
  • Previously unpublished work will be preferred; however, reprints will be considered, if you have the rights and give credit to original publication.
  • Poets retain rights.
  • Electronic submissions only.
  • Please submit only one poem on one capital city. The deadline is 31st December 2014.
  • Include a first page with your contact information, a brief bio (100 words max), the title of your poem and a brief story of your connection with the capital city.
  • Use a 12 point Arial font.
  • More info at


Tendai Chinhoro

Although the benefits of creativity to society as a whole have been well documented, social attitudes about this topic remain divided. According to Weis (2000), the wealth of literature regarding the development of creativity and the profusion of creativity techniques indicate wide acceptance, at least among academics, that creativity is desirable. There is, however, a dark side to creativity, in that it represents a "quest for a radical autonomy apart from the constraints of social responsibility". In other words, by encouraging creativity we are encouraging a departure from society's existing norms and values, (Weis, 2000). It is the aim of this column to explore such societal institutions and see how they impinge on the successful development and growth of creative talents and intelligent people in general. Maslow’s self-actualization theory note that one reason that a person does not move through the needs to self-actualization is because of the hindrances placed in their way by society. For example, education can act to inhibit a person's potential though also of course it can promote personal growth, so can other aspects of the family and culture, gender, school environment, religion, stratification all act to condition and funnel an individual into a role that is not fulfilling. However I will also show that while societal institutions are big sources of setback in nurturing creative talents, some have argued for the radical action by the artists themselves to escape this conditioning, and thus, a person has to awaken to their situation, to realize that their life could be different, that there are changes that can be made in the direction of self-realisation.
Intelligence is the ability to learn from experiences, solve problems, and use our knowledge to adapt to new situations. Creative intelligence is also defined as the ability to go beyond the existing and to create novel ideas and interesting ideas. Thus creatively intelligent people go beyond the norm, the expected; they bring about amusement in the way they do their things. It is this movement from the usual and the norm that may clash with the standards expected by the society and thus end up failing to get necessary support needed to facilitate success in the individual. Robert Sternberg (1985, 1999, and 2003) argues that creative intelligence makes people adapt to novel situations, generate novel ideas and have the ability to produce ideas that are both novel and valuable.
The family is one such social institution which has a great effect on creative talents. Warlonick (1993) note that in most societies across the globe, education is regarded as the most convenient path an individual can take to be successful in life. It is basically the traditional way in most societies. Very few actually pursue something artistic and if a child shows some artistic inclination very few parents actually encourage it. For example in India most parents don't want their children to take risks and enter the creative fields. Most want their kids to be engineers and doctors and mostly kids either end up wanting to be an engineer or a doctor and many parents want just that.  In many parts of the world like Asia or the middle east or Africa including Zimbabwean communities, parents have made sure their children pursue such perceived successful jobs and nothing else. One very important reason is for the child's own security as well as the parents when they get old. In underdeveloped rural communities in Zimbabwe, without a pension scheme old people must be looked after by the children. This means those ideas or passions that the children themselves have are ignored or trodden down whether this is an artistic pursuit or something else without an obvious monetary benefit. So gradually the arts have been slowly eradicated by underfunding both at family and national levels and a lack of appreciation except in cases where they were obviously successful such as in jobs which require some sort of artistic aptitude, like in architecture. This means the attached monetary value is what really matters. This undermines the meaning and value of art and so humanity is made a little more impoverished. Jung's path to individuation, the ego development required to overcome the Freudian superego, Adlerian theory and the stages of development of intellectual ability, all support the social support theory which observes that the family environment and subsequent socialization are primary factors in enabling the self to face the anxiety inherent in existence, where one's highest values may often be under threat. (To be continued)
(Tendai Chinhoro is a Kadoma-based upcoming novelist and musician. He is currently studying for his Masters in Community Psychology at the Midlands State University. Chinhoro is also a member of WIN)


Mazwi is a new online platform to assist  Zimbabwean book sellers, publishers and writers to market and sell books directly to mobile devices as well as receiving payment through mobile payment methods (EcoCash, textacash, V-payments, Visa and cash from anywhere in the world).
Local publishers and booksellers already using the Mazwi platform include Weaver Press, 'AmaBooks, Radiant Publishers, Inov8 Publishing, and Mambo Press. Writers have not been left behind. The platform boasts of having already started selling books on the platform by writers such as Pathisa Nyathi, Rabison Shumba, NoViolet Bulawayo and Shimmer Chinodya.
More information HERE


The poem  Ode for Dr. Maya Angelou is a collaborative poem done by seven poets, including Donald Kuutsi and Benevolent Masora who are WIN members. The whole collaborative poem was first published in the Sunday Mail in July this year. We publish the part below written by Benevolent Masora as an independent poem.

An Ode to Dr. Maya Angelou

By Benevolent Masora (above)

DR Maya Angelou
How vivid your greatness seems
Now as you lay
In the slow dignity of your eternal pause,
Or is it some humble lay?
Some natural sorrow, loss or pain,
That has been and may be again,
In the history of poetry, you sang a melancholy strain,
Only if your song had no ending,
As we listened motionless
And still the music in our hearts we
Long after it is heard no more,
For this, for everything we are out
Of tune,
For our noble titan has departed
From the long journey,
Encased in talent like uniform
But made weak by time and fate
Though much is taken, much still abides in us
That which we are, one equal temper
Of heroic hearts,
Strong in will to strive to seek, to find,
Joys we now inherit, seldom yet attained
By these young knights who fight
On paper
Ink expanding their conquered territories
Fled is the moment we visibly heard
But arrives that moment we sulk
Upon your wisdom
As you rest in eternal rest, can we
Move on…

(Benevolent Masora is a Lower 6 student at Churchill Boys High, Harare)

Struggle of a Man

By Donald Kuutsi (ABOVE)

Roosters welcome the new day
A continuation of the journey
Sun rays protrude through the windows
As the sun rises
The struggle begins
Survival of the fittest
In order to make ends meet
Prolonging the future lifespan,
Working until late to keep on the light
For the family to remain in the spotlight
Putting food on the table to feed the bellies,
Conscience and fury trapped inside his thoughts
Cuffed with invisible chains
Fury and Fate
Engraved at the back of his thoughts
Tossing him day and night
Endless, sleepless nights
No matter how hard he tries to close his eyes
His eyes are the mirrors of his soul
Fate waits for him in dreamland
Thoughts cease to be at peace
Wide awake day & night
Thoughts cease to rest
Like a parachute that works whilst it’s open
Every day is a journey on its own
Being the pillar of the family, serving two masters,
Goodwill hunting and his siblings
A struggle which can’t be denied, just like trying to run away from your shadow
That’s the struggle of a man….

(Donald Munyaradzi Kuutsi was born on July 9, 1991, in Harare. He is currently studying for a National Diploma in Marketing Management at the Harare Polytechnic College. He is in his third year. For Donald, poetry simply means Pouring Out Emotions To Reach You)



After a long hiatus Granta, one of the world’s most prestigious literary magazines, is again accepting unsolicited submissions.

Please follow this link for more information, click here


Beaven Tapureta 

We need stand-alone literary awards in Zimbabwe. Although people do not write their books to win awards, such awards have potential to elevate and enhance the visibility of Zimbabwean writers. Read More…

 (You can enjoy his column 'Bookshelf' which comes out every Wednesday in the Herald)


17 October 2014

Next Newsletter Coming Soon

Are you an aspiring writer and already a member of WIN-Zimbabwe? If not, this is the time. 

"Shiri yakangwara inovaka dendere nguva ichiripo..."

Come and grow with us. The little we may have is the greatest gift for you. Contact our office now!

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 82 coming soon...

04 October 2014

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 81

The late Paul Roger Brickhill (1958 - 2014)
(photo used with permission)

It is an emotional moment indeed for us all in the arts sector as we have lost one who created the much-needed space for artistic talent to grow, Paul Brickhill, owner of the popular arts and cultural hub The Book Café. Brickhill died from cancer on October 3 in Johannesburg, South Africa. May his soul rest in peace.
WIN continues to patiently do what it deems necessary for its members although things at times get difficult due to our limited resources. Poems in Tonga and Ndebele are still welcome for our ‘4 in 1’ Poetry Anthology Project. The journey, dear members and all new writers, is for the patient yet restlessly searching heart. Someday, when it’s time, you will be the next biggest star. This 81st newsletter comes with so much ‘ambrosia’ and we hope you will have your pick. May your wings of the creative imagination be un-clipped…


A group of five members met on Saturday, September 20, 2014 at the WIN office for the inaugural weekly “WIN Inspirational Saturday’ programme. The discussion touched on various topics as the group interacted with editors of a newly published Shona poetry anthology ‘Zviri Mugapu’ Brian Tafadzwa Penny and Givemore Mhlanga. Penny and Mhlanga have poems in the anthology also. The photo above shows (standing, from left) Brian Tafadzwa Penny, Givemore Mhlanga, Benard Yombayomba, Brighten Muvindi, (sitting, from left) Joseph Matonga who traveled all the way from Mhondoro, Benevolent  Masora and Pumulani Chipandamira.  
The following Saturday, September 27, the event was postponed. Published writer Lawrence Hoba was scheduled to be the guest of honor at the September 27 meeting.
Five to ten members will be invited to meet at the office on some Saturdays to discuss various writing issues.
If you want to take part you need to be a member and please contact us.


Yes, you can write: The picture above shows WIN Director Beaven Tapureta (far left) with some members of Viable Educational Centre writers club in Glen View 3, Harare

WIN-Zimbabwe Director was one of the invited guests at Viable Educational Centre prize giving ceremony in Glen View, Harare, where the writers’ association donated a few books to the school Writers’ Club.
The ceremony, aimed at rewarding students who have excelled in different fields in the 2014 academic year, took place on Friday, October 3, 2014, and was attended by various distinguished guests from different walks of life.
Although WIN could not participate in the whole ceremony, no doubt the friendship between the school and WIN has been established, courtesy of writer Freedom Gengezha who also teaches at the school and is a bona fide member WIN.
Gengezha, Patron of the writers club, is a passionate poet and has just finished his first novel which he is perfecting with help from WIN and other experienced readers.
The club members expressed joy for the small donation made by WIN and said they really would want WIN to come back for the official launch of the VEC writers club.
Gengezha and his colleagues at VEC deserve hats off salute for bringing their school into the family of readers and writers. 


The Golden Baobab Prizes for African children literature released this year’s longlist and, guess what, Zim is represented. We wish all the longlisted writers well. The shortlist will be announced on October, 30, 2014 and winners in all the six categories of the Golden Baobab Prizes will be announced on November 13. For more information, visit

Below is the 2014 longlist:

Early Chapter Book Prize

Ricky Dankwa Ansong (Ghana) – Kweku Ananse: The Tale of the Wolf and the Moon
Jayne Bauling (South Africa) – The Saturday Dress
Mamle Wolo (Ghana) – Flying through Water
Mary Okon Ononokpono (Nigeria) – Talulah the Time Traveller
Bontle Senne (South Africa) – The Monster at Midnight
Hillary Molenje Namunyu (Kenya) – Teddy Mapesa and the Missing Cash
Dina Mousa (Egypt) – The Sunbird and Fatuma

Picture Book Prize

Katherine Graham (South Africa) – The Lemon Tree
Aleya Kassam (Kenya) – The Jacaranda Tree
Kwame Aidoo (Ghana) – The Tale of Busy Body Bee
Mandy Collins (South Africa) – There is a Hyena in my Kitchen
Mike Mware (Zimbabwe) – The Big Ball
Shaleen Keshavjee-Gulam (Kenya) – Malaika’s Magical Kiosk
Portia Dery (Ghana) – Grandma’s List


(WIN Correspondent)

Part of the audience at the official launch of ‘The Whistling Shoes’

Bulawayo-based new writer Rudo Kanukamwe was all smiles on September 26, 2014, when she launched her debut novel The Whistling Shoes (2013, Diaspora Publishers, UK) at the Bulawayo National Art Gallery.
Some of the writers who attended the launch included respected cultural guru Pathisa Nyathi, Lassie Ndondo, Isaac Mpofu, and Prince N Sibanda.
The Whistling Shoes is available at the Bulawayo National Art Gallery, Cnr 7th Avenue/JMN Nkomo Street or at Z & N Enterprises, Cnr 3rd Avenue/JMN Nkomo Street, Bulawayo. Readers can also contact the author on 263-772755290.
Below is a brief interview with Kanukamwe.

‘The whistling Shoes’, why did you use that title?

RK: I went to great lengths trying to make sure that what I wrote went hand in hand with my title. I decided on the title The Whistling Shoes because the main theme, homosexuality, is something we are living with though we decide to ignore it, a minority of some Zimbabweans are practicing it and pretend its normal yet it’s not, just like a person who has a shoe with a hole they are not comfortable with yet they pretend and realize it’s not comfortable when the shoe tears away.

Your character Rachel is very strong in her challenges, what makes her tick?

RK: Well, when I wrote this novel, I was really inspired. I was really touched. So I had all the passion I needed to write and a readiness to succeed. I was never satisfied when I began writing. I always wanted more and that worked to my advantage. As I went on with my novel I realized that there are only three things that make one successful.1). Study, respect yourself and others.2). Always go an extra mile; there is no substitute for hard work. 3). There is no such thing as perfection even though we do our best every day to achieve it. So as a result I created someone who fell along those lines.

Do you have any advice for your peers?

RK: Work hard; never be an average person because average is a recipe for failure. An average person has little or nothing to show off for their years of hard labour. Who you are or what you choose to do with your life is not the issue. What really matters is not the job or profession but the person who does the job and what they make of it. Secondly become a life-long student, read, and gather information. Real leaders are readers and a disciplined reader becomes an expert at something through study.

(Kanukamwe Rudorwashe is a Zimbabwean born and bred in Bulawayo and resides in the midst of Northend. She is a freelance writer, poet, novelist and editor. She started writing at the age of 15, where she began writing articles for the local newspaper (CHRONICLE) all the same she took herself seriously. Her first novel, THE WHISTLING SHOES, was published by Diaspora Publishers in September 2013. She is working on her second novel (OMEGA). She has also put together her first edition to Physics, a textbook for tertiary schools which is currently in the capable hands of the editors and should be published anytime. She holds a diploma in Applied Chemical Technology which she acquired from Bulawayo Polytechnic.)

The Launch in Pictures

Kanukamwe autographing a copy of her novel

Ndebele writer and cultural thinker Pathisa Nyathi (left) pose with Kanukamwe

All smiles: Kanukamwe with a friend Vongai Chemhere


Dear Friends of the Chewa/ Nyanja language,

Allow me to share the latest news on our Dictionary of Chichewa/Chinyanja, the most widely spoken vernacular language of Central Africa.
The newest edition of the book version of the Dictionary is available to learners, teachers and other users.
CLAIM ( sells the book in its stores in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Mangochi, Balaka, Zomba, Mulanje. Also other bookshops sell the Dictionary.
The Dictionary is a small format compact thin paper volume of 1152 pages, printed in China.  This special high quality edition was published for the SADC region of Africa.  See the website of the Dictionary Project, 
In addition to its book version, the Dictionary is accessible electronically. The online version has its own website,  The site attracts a lot of visitors and users. Many are living outside Africa; a growing number is from Chichewa/ Chinyanja-speaking Africa itself. Access is free to a limited extent. Full access requires a modest fee.

On behalf of the Chichewa Dictionary Project, with kind regards,

Steven Paas (PhD)

PS: Please respond to


Mimi Machakaire

There comes a time in life when a writer decides to pick a role model. That role model is a person whom the writer will follow for encouragement, strength, courage and, most of all, guidance. Knowing that one’s role model has had a successful and lucrative career path within his/her field and taking the time to understand how they got to where they are today helps direct any new writer’s vision. Mine, for example, is JK Rowling (insert) mostly because I have read her personal and professional story. I have admired her struggle from rags to riches and as such she has (whether she knows this or not) enriched my life. That is the mark most new writers will look for on their chosen role model. 
As youths we tend to find someone to whom we can relate because we feel that, beyond our families and friends, the role model will be the one who will give us the honest advice that we need. We don’t have to ask them personally for that advice but as long as we find the information that will help us search for the answers to the questions that we have asked in the past, then we will take the effort to look for it. Even if it takes days or weeks or months or years at a time as long as we can comprehend where they were coming from then eventually it will make sense to us and therefore help develop our career that much more.
Knowing their story is also a comforting effect that captivates our attention because as beginners we will come across events in our lives within this path and struggle to recognize where our faults may lie and how we can learn from our mistakes. As we watch our role models grow as people who started from a similar ‘place’ or level where we are today gives us hope that we will one day stand where they are.  Being on this earth is not a smooth journey and at times we are not acknowledged as such but it takes a lot of maturity to realize where we fell, take the time to stand up and keep walking; then study the reasons why we fell in the first place in order to avoid falling again.  If we are not careful the amount of times that we fall could ultimately damage our career and therefore this process I am sharing now instructs you to stay cautious, learn and grow. 
One thing I have always said is that there is one big reason why I love my role model. This is because I admire the amount of times someone has fallen and not the amount of times they have succeeded.  I admire them because they have fallen before they wanted to find a way to get back up and stay up; your mistakes won’t mean anything if you haven’t acknowledged that they have been mistakes to begin with.
If you become successful in the world, it won’t mean anything unless you are humbled by it. No one will appreciate just how much it means to you to have what you have. You can neither change what has happened in the past nor can you run away from it and ignore it but you can create a brighter future and you can make yourself a better person because of it (the past). That attitude will give you the confidence to advance your career as a writer and with the help of your role model you can gain ideas from them that will teach you how to get the deserved recognition for your work. Lastly I have this to say: there are millions of Literatures out there in the whole world but there is only one voice that each youth of today will listen to and that voice is in you.     


Writing for the e-book market: A guide for Zimbabwean authors
By Masimba Musodza

With the phenomenal growth in the mobile phone and internet sectors, the emergence of digital publishing was inevitable. We used to speculate on this, my brother Chris and I, back in the day when e-books were only someone typing out a whole novel and posting it on the net for free and no one had thought of having the internet on a mobile phone. But now, it’s all here; mobile phones with full broadband capability and e-books. Just as mp3s were, for a while, just a sideshow for industry players, eBooks are a complete business on their own now with some specialising exclusively in eBooks. Between the tech guys, such as Chris, and businesspeople, a
way was figured out to sell eBooks and pay authors royalties.
Ebooks are not the only medium for delivering digital content commercially. There are platforms offering stories for free to readers, with revenue generated from advertising. There are also writers who post stories for free and attach a Paypal widget, hoping that people will feel moved to send them a tip.
Unfortunately, Zimbabwean writers have been missing out on all this action for a while now. Even those based abroad have found it hard to deal with the fact that ChiShona and SiNdebele (let alone Nyanja and other Zimbabwean languages) are not supported by the main distributors of digital content such as Amazon Kindle, Kobo etc. My MunaHacha Maive Nei? was the first novel published in ChiShona first in digital format before going to print. But after Kindle worked out that it was not in English, they pulled it down. Of course, I had already experienced the potential of eBooks. I was making about £60-100 a month on ebook sales alone on The Man
Who Turned into a Rastafarian. If I had been based in Zimbabwe at the time, this would have been a very princely sum indeed. Since then, I have established a reputation as a pioneer in Zimbabwean eBooks. Three recent developments now facilitate the Zimbabwe-based writer’s foray in to the world of epublishing. The first is the use of stable currencies, such as the American dollar, in the everyday economy, which has made possible international payment services such as VISA DEBIT and PayPal to operate in Zimbabwe. The second is the growth of the mobile phone
industry, including the capacity to conduct financial transactions via a handset... The third, is the appearance of a distribution platform,, which supports local languages. So, all that is left is for authors to come up with stories that readers will be glad to part their money with.
What would work for the Zimbabwean ebook industry?

Keep it byte-sized

If you are a new author, I suggest pulp. Something light. The first reason I recommend this approach is technical and therefore economic. You would have to be one of those established writers who sells millions of copies of a novel that isn’t even written yet before you expect readers to part with, say, $10, to download one of your works. A novella with no pictures will require less megabytes, which means the retail price is affordable to more people. A 25000 word steamy, pacey story at 75 cents a pop that costs nothing to download as it is barely half a megabyte, will reach more people than that 150000 word tome with 30 colour images. Pulp fiction is easy to write and easy to sell. You put out one of these a week and you could make
a living off being a writer or at least be able to pay one of your bills. Another method is break down your 150000 epic in to a series. This was how pulp stories used to be delivered in Victorian Britain. Pennydreadfuls, they were called. And several writers of that time defied the intellectual snobbery of the Establishment and churned out these pennydreadfuls for considerable profit.
The second reason is cultural and physical. People use their phones for other things, like making a call. No matter how engrossing your story is, no one wants to stare at a phone screen for hours as if they are studying sacred texts. They would rather get a print book. There is also such as thing as a reading device, such as a kindle. But these are still expensive. Moreover, rather bulky to carry around when you have a phone too. So, you want your story to be practical to read and one way to achieve this is to keep it short.

Keep it interesting.

Easy to read doesn’t mean something the reader forgets as soon as they slip their mobile back into their purse or pocket. You want them to be able to tell someone about it, spread the word, beg for more. Such reactions do not hurt the sales at all, so why not? How do you keep it interesting? Those of us who stick out from the crowd have our own shtick (excuse the pun). Some delve into controversial subjects. Some delve into that all-time favourite with Zimbabwean internet users- sex. Others delve into controversial subjects about sex. It is not for me to tell you what to write exactly. In fact, you don’t need me to tell you to keep your readers engaged. Which leads us to…..

Online presence

It is virtually impossible to sell digital content without an online presence. Not having much of an online presence and expecting sales is the same as expecting your book to fly off the shelves when it can only be found in three bookstores in the entire world. You need a website. You need a blog. You need a YouTube channel, and a Facebook page. There are several other free internet tools to capture your audience. Keeping them interested is then down to what you have for them, otherwise they will just wander off across the cyber plains, seeking other pastures to graze on.

(Masimba Musodza is a UK-based Zimbabwean writer)


The beautiful countryside of Zimbabwe

By Angazi Chiratidzo Ngwarati (Mutare)

Oh how i love the countryside of my birth, Zimbabwe
Nothing else can compare with it, not even the Zimbabwe ruins
Oh how so full of bursting colours
Everything seems to be painted in a vivid glow
The scent of the wet earth from the recent rains
Makes me crave to taste the grains and makes the blood in my veins flow with ever increasing strains of excitement
The feel of the crisp morning air caressing my cheeks
Covers my skin with streaks of vitality to the peak
The sound of the chirping birds in the heath
Is like music flirting with the strings of my heart
The water gushing from the mountain streams
Makes me think this might be but a dream
See how exquisite the flowers look in their natural splendour
Not even Solomon’s temple could be so tender
And as the golden petals fall to the ground like confetti at a wedding
I look around with renewed awe of God’s majestic placing
Beneath the rich soil i know it’s teeming with life
Worms, germs and every little creeping thing
The peace i feel here could easily ensnare me
Oh how i wish i could tear myself away from the city
Away from the hustle of noisy traffic
Away from the bustle of city life
Times moves ever so slowly here
This is the paradise i call my country home, Zimbabwe

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