Monday, March 4, 2019

Charles through the eyes of David Mungoshi

When I accepted the invitation to stand in for Charles Mungoshi, it was with the confidence of knowing that he would be glad to know that I had done so, but understandably, and in accordance with social etiquette, I shall, of course, have to report back to him what I have done in his absence and on his behalf. That is the only way to avoid an elder brother’s wrath! Fortunately, there is no real trepidation associated with this obligation. We have always got along just fine.
I am told that when I was a tiny little baby on my mother’s lap, Charles, then known as Lovemore, and a perspicacious little brat of some two years of age or so, insisted, for some strange reason, that I was a chicken that he could play with. It did not matter that I had no feathers on me! It seems to me now, with hindsight, that even in those tender formative years, Charles, or shall I say Lovemore, was already exhibiting signs of being a lateral thinker, seeing things somewhat differently from others. Charles, according to my mother, stubbornly refused to shift form his contention that ‘Dovoot’ (David) was a baby chicken. No effort to convince him otherwise made the slightest impression on him. Nascent creativity?
After attending lower primary school at All Saints Wrenningham in what was then known as the Tribal Trust Lands (TTL) of Manyene, somewhere on the outskirts of the ‘Republic of Enkeldoorn’ [present day Chivhu], Charles did his upper primary school at Daramombe Mission where he remained for the next three years. Daramombe stands in the brooding shadow of the mystic Daramombe Mountain, a place where people had to be on their best behaviour or risk punishment from the spirits of the land. Such punishment could take the form of confused wandering on the slopes of the mountain, for days on end. The mountain also served a utilitarian purpose in that herdsmen could stand on its summit and scour the surrounding countryside for lost cattle. In later years when I became a student teacher at the College of Christ the King, Daramombe, I could not help but wonder about the import of what to me sounded like the gruff and somewhat apocalyptic but evocative bark of the great baboon that ruled the troops on the timeless Daramombe Mountain. Later, the renowned enthnomuscilogist Dumi Maraire was to compose a choral eulogy with a lilting melody and epigrammatic lyrics that left vivid silhouettes of the russet and gold of early summer and the youthful freshness of village beauties etched enticingly upon one’s mind.
January 1963 saw Charles begin secondary school at St Augustine’s Mission in Penhalonga. St Augustine’s, popularly known as kwaTsambe or Santaga, was a prestigious Anglican Secodary School for African Children. To date, St Augustine’s has remained so highly revered as to be the motivation for a joke about how the people of Manicaland do not consider that someone has had a proper  education unless they have the good fortune to have been to St Augustine’s.
In 1964 when Charles was in Form 2 at St Augustine’s, I enrolled into Form 1 at what was then the only secondary school for black children in the city of Bulawayo, the Bulawayo African Secondary School (BASS). This school was known in township lingo as ‘eHigh School’. Predictably, those of us who had the good fortune to be ‘high-scholars’ could not help but walk around with a conscious little swagger. We probably had more than our fair share of attention. We were probably quite conspicuous in our blue ties and black blazers. The badge had the caption ‘vela mfundo,’ a Ndebele exhortation to aspire for a acquisition of knowledge and education.
At about this time, Charles and I began what was to become a veritable flow of correspondence between us, talking about everything and anything: music, girls, literature and, yes you guessed it, ‘writing.’
It was while at St Augustine’s that Charles discovered his creative urge and began to nurture the rich talent that we celebrate today. As far back as the Daramombe years, Charles had begun to furnish me with vivid descriptions of his schoolmates. I remember a boy with a unique and poetic name. At the time I was blissfully unaware of the semantic ambivalence of the boy’s name. The sexual connotations in the now late Zvokwidza Chirume’s name only occurred to me much later, after I had become a little more schooled in the ways of the world and its mosaic of discourse universes.    
In some of his letters, Charles described people like Mr. Darling, the science master, whom he appeared to be quite fond of and Father Pierce, his headmaster and teacher of English. Charles’s letters were packed with all sorts of ditties.
Often, when in Manyene during the school holidays, Charles narrated other anecdotes that made me wish I could join him at the illustrious St Augustine’s school. One such anecdote was about Mr. Darling, the science teacher, remarking enigmatically to some naughty boy, ‘Boy, if you wanna play the kid, I’m gonna play the goat,’ or words to that effect.
Borrowed pedantic phrases like ‘You are intoxicated by the exuberance of your verbosity’ became part of our verbal arsenal and our shared jokes. We were both enthralled by the sound of words and our letters to each other became more and more artistic and articulate as the days went by. Regrettably, none of these ‘masterpieces’ survived. I suppose we could not have known then that we might in future want to recall their content or that other people might wish to have access to them.
It was while still at St Augustine’s that Charles began to develop a liking for theatre. He was often to be seen participating in end-of–year school plays. Of note was his role as the rascally but immensely likable Mr. Toad of Toad Hall. Not surprisingly, as we now know, he was later to write plays and film scrips as well as take part in T. V dramas.
During most school holidays, Charles and I spent much of our time in Manyene, herding cattle, splashing about in the waters of the Suka River or fishing with primitive fishing lines and hooks bought at the nearby Chambara Township or some other such shop. Sometimes we just wandered around the wetlands picking and eating the fleshy and juicy hute, a wild fruit that came in all sizes, the biggest being about thumb-size. They also came in a variety of colours, from a light purplish colour to a sort of deep navy blue or black. If you squeezed or crushed the leaves of the mukute, they emitted a pleasant and rather exotic smell and if you chewed them, your breath would smell fresh. The hute juice left the tongue a little dyed and most children loved sticking out their tongues to show the colouring.
At times we indulged our fancies and went exploring the Manyene hills, where an old man accredited with rain-making powers lived. We were so attracted to these ancient hills that we never tired of going there. What with the mountain goats and the underground caves said to have been places of refuge for the locals whenever war broke out in the past. I must admit though that I personally never actually saw any mountain goats although sightings of their droppings often had us in a sort of frenzy, a frenzy based on the belief that we were getting warm so to speak.
The ageless but paradoxically surrealistic ‘bushman’ paintings imbued us with a strange sense of timelessness. In the right season we ate the sweet but cloying wild fruit called tsvoritsvoto, a fruit that grows on a tree with shiny hairy dark green leaves and when ripe, the bright yellow of the tsvoritsvoto is easily visible from a distance. If you eat too much tsvoritsvoto, the inside of your mouth would feel strangely acidic and your teeth would be on edge. But that is part of the fun!
As you might very well imagine, we constantly entertained ourselves with stories, things we had seen, heard or read. You could say that we were real chatterboxes. We talked incessantly, but sometimes much of our talk amounted to no more than just sweet nothing. We were, so to speak, just another pair of country boys enjoying the heat of life. Sometimes we sat on some flat rock (ruware] to weave whips form the fibre of the munhondo tree. We used the whips to drive and control the cattle of just for the fun of cracking them. How Charles could crack that whip, make it sing, almost! You could hear its lyrical echo across the forest. But try as I did, I never could crack the whip quite the way that he did, much to my disappointment. Sometimes we strengthened the whips with the entwined fibre [mukosi] of the mutsamvi tree. The bit made of mutsamvi fibre, the mukosi, would be at the tail-end of the whip. Those were days of rural innocence and children confidences.
Sometime around 1965-6, I met a girl called Rindai. She was a beautiful girl with an unusual name particularly when the name is viewed in the context of what was prevalent at the time-a time when it was fashionable to have so-called Christian names, names which, invariably, tended to be European or Biblical. I suppose that Charles must have been as enamoured of the name as I was of the girl, because many years later, he used it in his popular Shona novel Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva which has since been translated into French directly from Shona by the French Linguist and writer, Mishel Lafon. Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva is the gender-sensitive, completely original and fictitious story of Rindai, a sensitive woman through whom Charles executes a kind of psychoanalysis of his characters. In comparing and contrasting Rindai and Magi, Rex Mbare observes:
Magi was reminiscent of a benefactor who floods you all at once with wonderful gifts. Your happiness is, not unexpectedly, quite profound yet so fleeting. By contrast, Rindai revealed the depths of her bounty in small but delectable doses, surprising you in stages until you begin to wonder whether you can survive the onslaught. The sweetness just seems to go on and on...
In the 1950s through to the later 1960s and about the early 1970s, PARADE Magazine housed in Salaisbury (Harare) at Inez Terrace, published original short stories from aspiring authors each month. In those days, PARADE was more or less at par with  South Africa’s DRUM Magazine in terms of content and patronage. Both magazines contributed immensely to the development of literature in the region. Later of course, Zimbabwean magazines like MAHOGANY and HORIZON, both now defunct and one or two others also played a significant role in the realm of creative writing. People like Leon Lambiris and Tinos Guvi, of PARADE, deserve a pat on the back for having encouraged and nurtured some of what in time became Zimbabwe’s foremost writers.
I first become aware of the magic and the power of good poetry through PARADE  when I read Tafirenyika Moyona’s poem A God’s Error whose diction and imagery were riveting, poignant and evocative. In the poem, Moyana decries the paradox of dark beauties with a surfeit of ravishing beauty juxtaposed with abject ignorance. Images evoked by the ‘thin wasp waist’ and ‘screaming wild chest,’ lingered on my mind for years.
Lest you start wondering where all this is leading, let me tell you that the first ever story that Charles had published was called ‘Cain’s Medal’ and was published by PARADE  sometime in 1966, perhaps earlier, while Charles was still at St Augustine’s. Cain’s Medal was a murder story, written in the fashion of thrillers. The biblical allusion created some mystery in the story, making the reader keen to find out its relevance. PARADE later published many other stories from Charles. In the PARADE stories he used the pen name ‘Carl Manhize’. My hope is that the PARADE stories can be published one day so that we can have a fuller view of Charles Mungoshi’s writing career.
PARADE also published my one short story, ‘But Not Very Complimentary,’ in 1967.  Never having been published before, I was very excited indeed. All my friends soon knew who ‘Sunny Mupozho’ was. My PARADE story was about petty crime and romance aboard an overnight train. In those days of thrill-seeking, we were trying to come up with exciting little anecdotes in the fashion of western thrillers.
But willy-nilly, our literary journeys had begun!
I wish to make the instructive observation that Charles is a voracious reader and has always been. He has probably read most classics and more besides. Thinking about Charles the avid reader makes me feel that any writer who does not read has no business writing. This is as true of him today as it was yesterday.
In the early days, he and I and many other boys of the time read a lot of literature cowboy stories, romances, detective stories as well as serious literature. It was also the fashion to follow the exploits of the rock stars of the day: Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, Little Richard and others. Film too had its attractions. I remember Charles rhapsodizing about Tommy Steele’s The Duke Wore Jeans.
Our favourite detective story-writer at the time was Peter Cheyney. He created many colourful characters including Mr. Lemuel G.H. Caution, otherwise known as Lemmy Caurion, a tough, rough- and – tumble detective. We both found Cheney’s dark series comprising Dark Hero, Dark Interlude and Dark Bahamas, Dark Wanton and Dark Duet quite appealing. We read them again and again over the years.
In Dark Bahamas a black sailor on a fishing boat is always either whistling or singing a song whose naughty lyrics go:
Nut-brown baby
Yo got rovin’ eyes
Yo don’t day nuttin
Wi’ dem honey lips
But yo sure say plenty
When you swing dem hips
An’ I feed de knife in me breeches.
 
We still find much joy and camaraderie in these words!
However, and more importantly, I believe that it was in Peter Cheyney’s books that Charles and I first encountered the technique that Charles later perfected in Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva, a technique that made it possible for the reader to experience vicariously but vividly nevertheless, the intensity and immediacy of introspection in the lives of the characters.
Each chapter in Ndiko Kupindana Kwemazuva is named after a character. The story is then narrated form that character’s angle of vision. The final chapter ties up all the threads and makes the plot more artistically coherent and effective. Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva epitomizes the use of internal monologue, which Charles employs in a sort of running commentary comprised of the tension between reality and appearance. While the characters say one thing aloud, what they say silently is quite another! This technique reaches fruition in his enigmatically entitled novel, Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura? (You also Speak When You Are Silent]. We see the likes of Chenjerai Hove in his own novel, Bones having recourse to this same technique.
So much has happened over the years that Charles may now only vaguely recall that his first attempt at writing a novel in Shona was when he wrote the manuscript entitled Handina Mwana Anozochema  (No Child to Tie Me Down) which never saw the light of day.
All his manuscripts in those days were written in long hand using the fountain pen, an all-time favourite of his. At the 2003 ZIBF Writers Workshop, Charles read an extract from a story written in ink using a fountain pen in long hand in an old coverless exercise book. If you want to put a smile on his face, give him a fountain pen and a bottle of ink on his next birthday, sometime in December.
Perhaps the greatness of Charles Mungoshi’s writing lies in its deceptive simplicity, its incisive vision and its witty dialogue. The maxim ‘to write is to read’ applies aptly to Charles. He is probably one of the best-read authors anywhere in the world. He reads, reads and reads. Then writes, writes and writes. In the course of all this, Charles has developed his innovatively distinctive style, a style that depicts the world in a  uniquely memorable way. My view is that his reading is at once his motivation and his tutor.
+Edited version of a speech delivered by David Mungoshi at ALLIANCE FRANCAISE at the launch of Michel Lafon’s French translation of Charles Mungoshi’s Ndiko Kupindana KwaMazuva, Harare, Friday, 17 September, 2003. The speech eventually got published in a book, Charles Mungoshi: A Critical Reader, pp273-78, 2006.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Charles Mungoshi dies

                                (Mungoshi 70th birthday pic by D. Maruziva)
It is sad that the world renowned Zimbabwean writer, Charles Mungoshi, is no more. He died in the early hours of the day today, 16 February 2019 at a hospital in Harare. Although he had been unwell for the past few years, there was hope that he would make it back to his writing desk. It was not to be.

At his 70th birthday on the 2nd December 2017, Mungoshi listened intently as we spoke about the day to day challenges and quipped: Kana rwizi rwakazara musaruedze negumbo. Siyai rwakadaro.  Rwuchaserera. (If a river is in flood, don’t dare cross. Wait until it subsides.)  That was quite a mouthful and very characteristic of him too to produce lines with subterranean meanings. In 2006 he wrote a short note: Put the lead on the handle but don’t let the handle rot in your hand.


Charles Mungoshi handled a broad range of literary genres and styles in a way that is very rarely surpassed by many in the so called Third World today. His literary profile is compact.  He was a novelist, poet, short-story writer, playwright, film scriptwriter, actor, editor, translator, and consultant.

Mungoshi wrote convincingly and continuously in both Shona and English where many of his compatriots tended to write in English or Shona or Ndebele only. In 1975 alone, for instance, Mungoshi published two books: Waiting for the Rain (a novel in English) and Ndiko Kupindana Kwemazuva (a novel in Shona). These two works exude separate amazing qualities that one wonders how they could have been written “back to back.”


That ambidexterity was no fluke because later, in 1980, Mungoshi repeated a similar feat, publishing Inongova Njakenjake (a play in Shona) and Some Kinds of Wounds (a short-story collection in English.)  It is as if Mungoshi writes simultaneously with two pens - one in the left hand and the other- in the right hand!

In fact and as shown below, between 1970 and 2000, a period of 30 years, Mungoshi made an average of one major publication in every one and half years and won a prize of sorts for each of them.


  1.  Makunun'unu Maodzamoyo (Brooding Breeds Despair) (1970)
  2. Coming of the Dry Season (1972
  3. Ndiko Kupindana Kwemazuva (How Time Passes) (1975)
  4. Waiting For the Rain (1975)
  5. Inongova Njakenjake (1980)
  6. Some Kind of Wounds (1980)
  7. The Milkmen Doesn't Only Deliver Milk (anthology) (1981)
  8. Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura? (1985) (Silence is Golden?)
  9. The Setting Sun and The Rolling World (1987)
  10. Stories From A Shona Childhood (1989)
  11. One Day Long Ago (1991)
  12. Abide with me (1992)
  13. The Axe (1995)
  14. Gwatakwata (1995)
  15. Children’s Video Picture Book ((1998)
  16. Walking Still (1997)
  17. Writing Still (2004) an anthology in English with Mungoshi's poems
  18. Branching Streams Flow in the Dark (2013)
Awards


  1. International PEN Awards (1975 twice for both Shona & English and 1981)
  2. Noma Honorable Awards For Publishing in Africa (1980, 1984, 1990 and 1992)
  3. Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book in Africa for The Setting Sun and The Rolling World (1988)
  4. Honorary Fellow in Writing Award in the Creative Activities of the International Writing Program by The University of Iowa (1991)
  5. USIA (United States Information Agency) Award for participating in the International Visitor Program (1991)
  6. The Setting Sun and The Rolling World was a New York Time notable book of the year (1989)
  7. Order of Merit Certificate Award by Zimbabwe Writers Union for winning in 1984 & 1992 the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa (1997)
  8. Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best Book in Africa for Walking Still (1998)
  9. Charles Mungoshi as 1998 winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, he was to be received in audience by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. That year again the Queen graciously agreed to meet the winner at Buckingham (Tuesday 12 May 1998)
  10. Received 7 awards at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair's 75 Best Books in Zimbabwe for 7 of his books (2004)[5]


 11.  National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) Silver Jubilee Award (2006)


 


  1. One of Charles Mungoshi's poems has been curetted by the William & Melinda Gates Foundation as a  permanent display as public art at their new headquarters in Seattle, Washington, in the U.S. 2011

13. Certificate of Honor Award of the 30th anniversary of Zimbabwe International Book Fair for dedicated service (2013).


 14. National Arts Merit Award 2014.

Maybe the greatest strength of Mungoshi literature is the life-like feel he has for people.  He has sympathy for the under-dog, without over-writing. His characters belong to believable circumstances, place and time and are endearing. He says about writing parts of Waiting for the Rain: “I was living in it (the story didn’t happen in the past. It is a drum. It is happening, it is playing now.”
Mungoshi’s works have been translated to numerous non-European languages; Waiting for the Rain from English: to Hungarian (1978), to Norwegian (1980) and to Russian (1983) second, Coming of the Dry Season from English: to Russian (1985) Third, The Setting Sun and the Rolling World, from English: to Japanese (1995) Stories from a Shona Childhood from English: to Swiss (1996), to German (1988), Walking Still from English: to Swiss (2006).
Born to a rural farming community in Chivhu on 2 December 1947, Mungoshi has very humble origins and has remained down to earth despite his international stature. Until the time he fell ill recently, he had travelled across Zimbabwe, mentoring young and new writers, sometimes for no fee. Records at the Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Women Writers association can bear testimony. He has mentored  or directly influenced  younger writers, among them Ignatius Mabasa, Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, Albert Nyathi, Joice Mutiti, Lawrence Hoba, Chiedza Musengezi, Thabisani Ndlovu, myself and others.  His style of writing has become a brand.  In honor of his amazing ambidexterity and depth, the University of Zimbabwe – conferred an honorary doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters-DLitt) on him on Friday 14 November 2003. 
The essence of Mungoshi literature is about grappling with the issues of home, identity and belonging in the changing times. He is constantly asking key questions: Do we truly belong to this land? Is it possible to belong here and elsewhere? What must we change and what exactly must continue and why? Is there any space for the individual in our quest for collective glory? Are we right? Are we wrong? In this quest Mungoshi pens “The Accident” a short story from Coming of the Dry Season which seems to question and challenge the stance of a people living under minority rules – the book landed him in trouble and is banned in Rhodesia only to re-appear later and has been studied in schools ever since. Mungoshi’s writings have also tended to evoke that strong sense of Zimbabweaness. We shall sorely miss him. NB: for all funeral arrangements, talk to family spokesperson Tendai Madondo at +263 783837098
+By Memory Chirere, Harare


 


 


 


 


 


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Friday, February 15, 2019

Shona anti-novel reviewed again...

Kunaka kweChibarabada kuri mukudhaka
Tinashe Muchuri. (2015). Chibarabada. Harare: Bhabhu Books, 200pages.
Edited by Ignatius Mabasa.
Zvandakapiwa Chibarabada naTinashe Muchuri musi watasangana paNational Gallery of Zimbabwe muHarare, handina kumbofunga zvokuti chingandidhaka kusvika pakukanganwa bhachi rangu pachiteshi chinokwirwa mabhazi ekuNorton.
Ini ndini ndakakanganisa, kuita rudo neChibarabada ndisati ndasvika kurabu kwandinogara. Chakanyanya kundikwezva moyo ibutiro racho raive nemifanikisoyezviso zviviri. Zviso zvine meso makuru nemeno ari pachena.
Ndaive nechidokwadokwa chokuda kuziva kuti zviso izvi ndezvanaani. Mushure mekuverenga rungano urwu, ndakazoziva kuti zviso izvi ndezvevanhu vandakambosangana navo vachikurukura nezveChibarabada.
Chibarabada chacho chimbori chii? Chibarabada ndiwe neni. Chibarabada iguta risina magetsi, chingwa nemvura yokunwa. Chibarabada mugwagwa uzere nemakomba. Chibarabada inyika yemapenzi.
Chibarabada inovhero rine manyorerwo akasiyana namamwe manovhero atajaira kuverenga. Pamwe pacho rwungano rwacho rwunoita kunge bepanhau riri kutaura zviri kuitika, pamwe pacho rwunoita kunge chikwangwani chinononngedzera vanhu kwachisingasviki, pamwe pacho rwunomboita kunge izwi ragodobori.
Shingi anotaura rwungano rwuno achisheedzera seanorova bembera, pamwe pacho anozevezera achisekera muhapwa, pamwe pacho anoungudza matama ake azere nemisodzi. Urwu rwungano rwunoyanika nyaya yokushungurudzwa kwadungamunhu, mhuri nenyika nekuda kwemakaro.
Shingi anokura achidya nokurasa. Hupenyu hwake hunotanga kushanduka musi unofa vabereki vake netsaona yemumugwagwa. Babamunini vake Merinyo nemukadzi wavo Eve vanomuonesa ndondo kusvika azonosarudza kugara kurabu reMosi. Ari ikoko anoona huipi nehutsinye hwemhuka dzinorarama muguta reMosi.
Muchuri anoshandisa chidavado chekuimba nziyo, nekutaura ngano mungano. Rwungano rwuno rwunoita seChibarabada, rwunotutuma furo rwuchiserera, rwotutuma furo rwuchigadzana, rwunotutuma zvakare rwuchiserera. Rwungano rwunoda kuverenga uchizororera. Ukaverenga kamwe kamwe unoshaya kwarwakananga. Rwunomboita kunge rwumbo rwejakwara, rwoita kunge tsamba yorudo, rwomboita kunge nduri dzenhorimbo.
Rungano rwuno harwudi kuverenga uri pako wega, rwunoda pane vanhu vazhinji pakaita sopamusangano kana mubhazi. Harwudi kuverengwa mumwoyo, rwunoda uchisheedzera semunhu asina hanya. Ukadaro harwukudhake seChibarabada.
+++naPhumulani Chipandambira, Norton, Zimbabwe, February, 2019.
to buy/order Chibarabada: +263782883203
 

Monday, February 11, 2019

article in which I complain about the book situation in Zim

Find here The Sunday Mail article in which I complain about the current situation of books in Zimbabwe: https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/a-peek-into-zimbabwes-book-industry



Saturday, May 12, 2018

ZIBF INDABA 2018 CALL FOR ABSTRACTS

(Farayi Mungoshi making remarks at a previous ZIBF main event)
           
            ZIBF INDABA 2018 CALL FOR ABSTRACT
 The dates for the Zimbabwe International Book Fair have been set for 24-29 September 2018. The Indaba Conference will therefore take place on 24 and 25 September 2018.  The theme of the 2018 Indaba Conference is “The Book: Creating the Future”
Sub-Themes: Presenters are encouraged to submit their own innovative topics that speak to the theme, The Book: Creating the Future. The following sub-themes are meant to guide possible research areas although they may be used as research topics:
 1)      Reading and writing books that create and inspire the future

Papers should discuss issues around Creative Cities in line with UNESCO’s agenda, arts and culture imaginations and envisioning the future including multi-media publications. The following are additional areas of focus:

Ø  Gearing the Book Industry for adult readers of tomorrow;
Ø  Gearing the Book Industry for young readers of tomorrow;
Ø  Use of social media for writing and publishing;
Ø  Writing books for ECD; and
Ø  Interfacing the book with other multi-media publications.

2)      Transforming and modernising societies through reading and writing
Presentations may focus on national development trajectories to industrialise and modernise nations. They should also address the regional and international development agendas such as Africa Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 SDGs regarding the need to transform people’s lives for the better in tomorrow’s future through the eradication of poverty; quality health through eradication of HIV & AIDS and other communicable diseases; and the need for education that transforms nations through industrialisation and modernisation.
3)      Books for Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology and Medicine including Climate change.
4)      Towards unity within the Book Industry
Access to Information for All as provided through National Book Policy, Intellectual Property, Copyright and eradication of Piracy.

 
We therefore urge and encourage contributors to the 2018 Indaba to come up with ideas that will benefit all participants in the book value chain.  
 
SUBMISSION OF ABSTRACTS
Abstracts of not more than 500 words and word-processed in Times New Roman script with 1.15 line spacing should be submitted by 31 May 2018 by email to events@zibfa.org.zw with a copy to zibfa@yahoo.com. The abstracts will be reviewed by experts and authors of selected abstracts will be notified by 30 June 2018.  Presenters should submit the full papers and power-point presentations of the full paper by 31 July 2018. Power-point presentations MUST summarise the full paper in bullet form and should enable presenters to speak to the paper within the allotted time. 
Thank you
Mr Jasper Maenzanise
Deputy Chair, Executive Board, Zimbabwe International Book Fair Association

 







Friday, December 15, 2017

A quote...and a new picture


                                                            Memory Chirere




And remember, no matter where you go, there you are-----Confucius

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Charles Mungoshi turns 70




(Mungoshi birthday pic by D. Maruziva)
 
Legendary Zimbabwean writer Charles Mungoshi turns 70 today 2 December 2017. Mungoshi handles a broad range of literary genres and styles in a way that is very rarely surpassed by many in the socalled Third World today. His literary profile is compact.  He is a novelist, poet, short-story writer, playwright, film scriptwriter, actor, editor, translator, and consultant.
While each of the other prominent writers of Zimbabwe like Vera, Marechera, Chinodya, Chiundura Moyo and Sigogo, have tended to write in English or Shona or Ndebele only, Mungoshi has written convincingly and continuously in both Shona and English. In 1975 alone, for instance, Mungoshi published two books: Waiting for the Rain (a novel in English) and Ndiko Kupindana Kwemazuva (a novel in Shona). These two works exude separate amazing qualities that one wonders how they could have been written “back to back.”

That ambidexterity was no fluke because later, in 1980, Mungoshi repeated a similar feat, publishing Inongova Njakenjake (a play in Shona) and Some Kinds of Wounds (a short-story collection in English.)  It is as if Mungoshi writes simultaneously with two pens - one in the left hand and the other- in the right hand!
In fact and as shown below, between 1970 and 2000, a period of 30 years, Mungoshi made an average of one major publication in every one and half years and won a prize of sorts for each of them.

  1.  Makunun'unu Maodzamoyo (Brooding Breeds Despair) (1970)
  2. Coming of the Dry Season (1972
  3. Ndiko Kupindana Kwemazuva (How Time Passes) (1975)
  4. Waiting For the Rain (1975)
  5. Inongova Njakenjake (1980)
  6. Some Kind of Wounds (1980)
  7. The Milkmen Doesn't Only Deliver Milk (anthology) (1981)
  8. Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura? (1985) (Silence is Golden?)
  9. The Setting Sun and The Rolling World (1987)
  10. Stories From A Shona Childhood (1989)
  11. One Day Long Ago (1991)
  12. Abide with me (1992)
  13. The Axe (1995)
  14. Gwatakwata (1995)
  15. Children’s Video Picture Book ((1998)
  16. Walking Still (1997)
  17. Writing Still (2004) an anthology in English with Mungoshi's poems
  18. Branching Streams Flow in the Dark (2013)
Awards

  1. International PEN Awards (1975 twice for both Shona & English and 1981)
  2. Noma Honorable Awards For Publishing in Africa (1980, 1984, 1990 and 1992)
  3. Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best Book in Africa for The Setting Sun and The Rolling World (1988)
  4. Honorary Fellow in Writing Award in the Creative Activities of the International Writing Program by The University of Iowa (1991)
  5. USIA (United States Information Agency) Award for participating in the International Visitor Program (1991)
  6. The Setting Sun and The Rolling World was a New York Time notable book of the year (1989)
  7. Order of Merit Certificate Award by Zimbabwe Writers Union for winning in 1984 & 1992 the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa (1997)
  8. Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best Book in Africa for Walking Still (1998)
  9. Charles Mungoshi as 1998 winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize, he was to be received in audience by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. That year again the Queen graciously agreed to meet the winner at Buckingham (Tuesday 12 May 1998)
  10. Received 7 awards at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair's 75 Best Books in Zimbabwe for 7 of his books (2004)[5]

11.  National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) Silver Jubilee Award (2006)

  1. One of Charles Mungoshi's poems has been curetted by the William & Melinda Gates Foundation as a  permanent display as public art at their new headquarters in Seattle, Washington, in the U.S. 2011

 

  1. Certificate of Honor Award of the 30th anniversary of Zimbabwe International Book Fair for dedicated service (2013).

14.  National Arts Merit Award 2014.

In the year 2004  Zimbabwe 75 best books, a project meant to come up with the best books ever to come out of Zimbabwe, Mungoshi appeared in the top 5 lists in both English and Shona categories – a feat completed by no other Zimbabwean writer.  The late Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, a short-story writer and essayist, even joked in The Daily Mirror of the same week that had any of Mungoshi’s works been translated to Ndebele, he could also have led in that category!
On 3 March 2006, Mungoshi appeared in the final list of the recipients of the Silver Jubilee Literary Awards, alongside Shona novelist Aaron Chiundura Moyo, pathfinder literary critic, George Kahari and Ndebele novelists, Ndabezinhle Sigogo and Barbara Nkala. He had beaten other hot nominees: fellow writers like Chenjerai Hove, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Mordekai Hamutyinei, Thompson Tsodzo, Pathisa Nyathi, Ben Sibenke and the late Dambudzo Marechera, and Yvone Vera.
As stated before, Mungoshi handles a broad range of literary genres and styles in a way that is yet to be surpassed by anyone in Zimbabwe. If the novel as in Makunun’unu Maodzamoyo (1970) or Waiting for the Rain (1975) offers the man a wider axis to explore and develop ideas, maybe his shorter bursts of inspiration find acute expression in shorter fiction as in Coming of the Dry Season (1972), Some Kinds of Wounds (1980) and Walking Still  (1997).  When that is done, the man does not linger long and suffer for he also broke into poetry in The Milk-man doesn’t Only Deliver Milk (1981). Feeling maybe trapped with traditional literary forms, he could, and as happened in 1992 with Abide with me, 1995 with The Axe and Gwatakwata, Children Video Picture Book 1997, get into writing for the screen.  Not apologizing for it, or looking back, he can go into acting itself. For instance he appears in plays as “the journalist” in Ndabve Zera, “the store-keeper” in Makunun’unu Maodzamoyo and as Trebonius in Julius Ceasar (produced by Andrew Shaw.)

When it suits him, he can also hit the road and present papers in Zimbabwe and across the globe.  The numerous invitations he has received are testimony to his status as an unofficial cultural ambassador of Zimbabwe. He has been Visiting Lecturer at the University of Florida in the 2000 Spring Semester and Resource Person at Netherlands’ Groningen Children’s Book Year Workshop in 1996. His profile shows that from 1980, 1990, Mungoshi did not go for a year without giving a paper in places like the University of Florida, Iowa, Durham University, Amsterdam, New Zealand, Australia, Cambridge University and many more.
Mungoshi is not very well known as a poet, arguably because he writes less poetry. However, his single poetry anthology, The Milkman Doesn’t Only Deliver Milk is deep and revealing. He refers to poetry in one interview as “only a sideline, a mere finger exercise” in his continuing endeavor to condense language to a spare state of fine precision. Mungoshi’s poetry exudes the styles and philosophies of his more celebrated prose.
The greatest strength of Mungoshi literature is the life-like feel he has for people.  He has sympathy for the under-dog, without over-writing. His characters belong to believable circumstances, place and time and are endearing. With use of deceptively simple language and plot comparable only to Mozambique’s Luis Honwana’s and maybe South-Africa’s Ezekiel Mphahlele’s too, Mungoshi tells stories about things you didn’t quite know about people you know.
For Mungoshi, writing is not external. It is participatory. It is not a profession or hobby. It is life. He says about writing parts of Waiting for the Rain: “I was living in it (the story didn’t happen in the past. It is a drum. It is happening, it is playing now.”
And maybe unknown to him, Charles Mungoshi helped introduce and popularize the techniques of psychological realism and stream of consciousness in Zimbabwean Literatures. At the attainment of Zimbabwe’s independence, African scholars in the Department of English of the University of Zimbabwe found Mungoshi’s quantity and quality of work very useful in arguing for a course on works by Africans in English language. The Rhodesian academics had often argued that there were not enough of such works to be studied in schools, colleges and at university levels.
A research conducted recently on the same department alone had very interesting revelations.  First, Mungoshi’s works have been translated to numerous non-European languages; Waiting for the Rain from English: to Hungarian (1978), to Norwegian (1980) and to Russian (1983) second, Coming of the Dry Season from English: to Russian (1985) Third, The Setting Sun and the Rolling World, from English: to Japanese (1995) Stories from a Shona Childhood from English: to Swiss (1996), to German (1988), Walking Still from English: to Swiss (2006).

Born to a rural farming community in Chivhu on 2 December 1947, Mungoshi has very humble origins and has remained down to earth despite his international stature. Until the time he fell ill recently, he had travelled across Zimbabwe, mentoring young and new writers, sometimes for no fee. Records at the Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Women Writers association can bear testimony. He has mentored  or directly influenced  younger writers, among them Ignatius Mabasa, Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, Albert Nyathi, Joice Mutiti, Lawrence Hoba, Chiedza Musengezi, Thabisani Ndlovu, myself and others.  His style of writing has become a brand.  In honor of his amazing ambidexterity and depth, the University of Zimbabwe – conferred an honorary doctorate degree (Doctor of Letters-DLitt) on him on Friday 14 November 2003.  
The essence of Mungoshi literature is about grappling with the issues of home, identity and belonging in the changing times. He is constantly asking key questions: Do we truly belong to this land? Is it possible to belong here and elsewhere? What must we change and what exactly must continue and why? Is there any space for the individual in our quest for collective glory? Are we right? Are we wrong? In this quest Mungoshi pens “The Accident” a short story from Coming of the Dry Season which seems to question and challenge the stance of a people living under minority rules – the book lands him in trouble and is banned in Rhodesia only to re-appear later and has been studied in schools ever since. Mungoshi’s writings have also tended to evoke that strong sense of Zimbabweaness.
+By Memory Chirere, Harare