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picture: Monica Cheru
The Writivism 2014 workshops will be
held on the 8th of February 2014, simultaneously in five different African
cities. The one-day workshops are planned for Abuja, Harare, Kampala, Nairobi
and Cape Town. Applicants will attend workshops in the cities closest to their
The Abuja workshop will be facilitated
by Ukamaka Olisakwe, Kampala; Beatrice Lamwaka, Cape
Town; Rachel Zadok, Nairobi; Okwiri Oduor and Harare; Monica
Cheru alongside other writers.
The workshops will include a short
master class on fiction writing, a reading and writing exercise. Each
participant shall be assigned a mentor at the end of the workshop, with whom
they shall work on a flash fiction story to be published in newspapers and a
short story for submission to the Writivism African Short Story Prize.
The workshop aims at identifying
emerging African writers.
Applicants must be resident on the African continent;
Applicants must not have published a book before;
All application material must be put in the body of the email; no
Deadline for submission is 31st December 2014 midnight, East African
Those accepted to the workshop will be notified by 20th January 2014;
The workshop is non-residential and participants are responsible for the
transport to and from the venue;
Application Email subject should read ‘Writivism 2014 Application’;
Include Address (including phone contact), Country of Residence, Full
Legal Name, Gender, a 100-word maximum bio and a 400-700 word writing sample in
Participants in past Writivism workshops can apply if they have since
not published a book;
The writing sample must be fiction.
Keep checking http://www.writivism.wordpress.com
and the Writivism Facebook Group for more updates.
Contact Monica on 0773 025 623 - firstname.lastname@example.org
By the time Brutus stabbed me, Mukoma had already left to fight
with the Mhere boys. Earlier in the morning, at home, he had told me that he
just wanted to hear my English, and to see if I had the right gestures for it,
adding that he was not interested in the prize-winning ceremony that would
follow the big performance, nor did he care about meeting my teachers to
discuss my progress. I don’t think when he left I had finished dying because
even before Mark Anthony arrived on the scene, half the audience had left the
play and had gone to watch Mukoma’s fight. At first, I had no idea what was
happening, until Miss Mukaro, the teacher who had directed the performance,
signaled Mark Anthony, acted by Chari, to stop talking, walked to where I lay
dead and whispered, “Caesar, your big brother.” I sprung up and looked where
Mukoma had been standing and saw that he was gone…
**** so goes the first paragraph of my favourite story in Emmanuel Sigauke’s
forthcoming collection of short stories. Right from the first line, you get
hooked and the story races with you in its jaws. I like the concept of ‘a fight
inside the insides of the fight’ used in that story. Emmanuel Sigauke may not
admit now, but when it finally comes out, this collection of short stories
tentatively called ‘Mukoma stories’ is going to be his major project to date.
He has been at this script for years now and I think he is close to releasing
it…. The stories revolve around a teenage boy and the escapades of his roguish
elder brother (mukoma). The boy has had to become a thinker and not a boy, in
order to survive because mukoma is as unpredictable as his mortar mouth. These
pieces come very close to the skin, akin to the short stories of Marechera,
Chinodya and Naipaul. Manu, let go! You have an extremely exciting script. (Kwachirere,
14 August 2010)
Thank you VaChirere for these encouraging words. I
am now sitting back, since the manuscript is now in the hands of an editor.
Hopefully they will like it. But you are right, I care so much about these
stories...and it was almost hard to let go...
I couldn't agree more with Chirere. I've seen bits
and pieces of the project here and there, and I await with a restless hunger.
That narrator... so alive and raw and stunning in his naivety and sometimes
hard circumstances, and the writer's voice just on the right note and
effortless. Either way you are drawn in, and I know we are in trouble when the
YEMUNHU, By Ignatius Mabasa
by Bhabhu Books, Harare, 2013
first reviewed in the Shona by Tinashe Muchuri
and the review was translated into English
by Memory Chirere
In Shona traditions, you do not strike the rival
once and just expect him to fall and die. Ignatius Mabasa has
returned with yet his third blow in the form of beautiful tapestry of ideas. Those in search of a good story will benefit.
You do not rush to punish the child for the first
or second offence but on the third, there is bound to be trouble. If you missed
Mapenzi, Mabasa’s first novel or Ndafa Here, his second, you will surely not
miss his third offering, Imbwa Yemunhu. This one is the ultimate Ignatius
In Imbwa Yemunhu you come
across Musavhaya or Musa in brief. Usually
Musa becomes jelly kneed when he comes across beer and beautiful women. This
time he even wants to grab someone’s wife. She is called Juli. Juli’s husband is
an ordinary lay about and petty trader called Richard who is not fazed by his noncommittal
ways. Richard seems ready to allow his marriage to collapse. Imbwa Yemunhu revolves around
Musa and Juli, occasionally touching the extended family and those characters
from the various entertainment joints.
Imbwa Yemunhu, is a novel that demonstrates Mabasa’s unparalleled
ability to reveal the ordinary people’s daily struggles. Musa is pressed by his
own mother and elder brother to marry Hazvi when he has no any feelings for the
girl. He plays up in order to silence his community which expects him to get
married. Ironically, Richard does the same by marrying Juli just for the sake of
it. This shows how people get into relationships in order to meet societal
The resultant regret forms
the bedrock to Mabasa latest offering.
But what comes out of
regret? Juli wishes she had a man like Musa instead of Richard. But she is
stuck with Richard! Hazvi wishes she had not had the misfortune of knowing her
father. Richard wishes he had not fallen into this marriage with Juli because it is
an apparent trap. One key politician’s wife wishes her husband had employed white
aides instead of black ones because then, she could have been saved from meeting Musa who has brought
hell into her life. The late musician, Simon Chimbetu (who is a character in
this novel), wishes he had preached about God during his sojourn on earth. Musa’s
brother, Hamu wishes he had not pushed Musa into marrying Hazvi because that
could have saved him the embarrassment that comes
from the arranged union.
Why are all these people
full of regret?
Imbwa Yemunhu is the story about failure to come face to
face with the results of one’s choices. Musa is unable to quit the bottle. If
you ask him if he was forced into beer in the first place, his answer is no. In
fact, the first time he tasted beer, he even found it bitter and unpalatable. But he
kept on trying until he became addicted. Self inflicted troubles! Here you also
read about fake love. There are also the silent and undeclared divorces between
partners. There is utter dog behaviour, sadness, drunkenness, prostitution and
that hunger for happiness.
Mabasa does well in coming
up with a story that delves into the human thought tracks. You are able to
travel with Musa to places that you have been, once upon a time. There are also places and
situations that you have come across in your private life. You
mourn alongside Musa because his troubles are similar to yours. You are persuaded
to spare a thought for girls who go into forced marriages with men they do not
love. You feel for girls who are raped by their own parents or relatives. You find
sympathy for women who throw themselves at men who they do not love just for
the sake of getting married.
Imbwa Yemunhu exposes how family members behave when there is a rapist
in their midst. Hazvi’s father rapes Hazvi’s mother. Hazvi’s mother is threatened with death and in the end Hazvi
faces the same fate and nobody in the community lifts even a finger!
At the centre of this
thrilling novel is Musa’s journey in pursuit of salvation. Through
Musa’s journey, you note that this novel is not your ordinary roadside sermon where
an overzealous preacher pesters you into joining their particular church and not
this or that church.
We are all sojourners, fighting against numerous physical and spiritual forces. For whom is
it well? That is Ignatius Mabasa's fundamental question. Maybe that is why the character Old Bob cries each time he listens to the classical
Rhumba track, Shauri Yako.
As soon as you pick Imbwa Yemunhu, you come face to face with the image of a sad dog on the cover. Looking
closely, you notice that this is a dog with a human face! It may mean that;
when a man looks after a dog in the home, the dog begins to resemble the master
or the master the dog! That is in tandem with the funny dream Musa has in which
he is sitting amongst countless dogs of all species in a bar at Chikwanha
shopping centre. And, when he embarks on a kombi; there are only dogs of all varieties
in there playing all sorts of dog games and he chants‘Humbwa nehumbwa
pamusoro pehumbwa.’ (A dog inside a dog inside a dog!)
The use of dream and
madness allows Mabasa a lot of creative entrance into what could be
considered taboo territories. Nobody can prohibit other people from dreaming. This
is what carries Musa ahead and offers him opportunity to experience what hell
is like. Only in the dream does Musa hold hands romantically with the prominent
politician’s wife! There are no bounds in dreams.
+ Tinashe Muchuri is a Zimbabwean author,
journalist and storyteller.