Story by Black Mampara
MAZVIHWA, ZIMBABWE: It was most gratifying for me to be part of the social media’s WhatsApp platform administered by the soft-spoken and humble Zvishavane based author, Emmanuel ‘WekwaFish’ Mhike Hove, who was launching his debut Shona Poetry anthology. Entitled, ‘Nzungu Dzembeu’, the book sold gold as over close to two-thirds of the printed 250 copies went up for grabs. Friends from near and as far afield as USA converged for the two hour-long hot session and all ‘connived’ to buy the book.
In his opening remarks, Mr Reward Shockson, a Provincial Officer from the Ministry of Youth, Sport Arts and Recreation, Midlands, saluted Mhike for his efforts to make sure the arts industry continues to breathe, “I want to salute you Mr Mhike, our most decorated, artist, a winner of local and regional awards, an arts advocate, an arts and culture mentor and a community development practitioner.”
Mr Shockson went on to affirm his ministry’s efforts to make sure intellectual property laws and rights are put in place through working with its parastatals, authorities and the law enforcement bodies.
In his wise words, the award-winning journalist, poet and author of ‘Chibarabada’ an anti-novel, Tinashe Muchuri, who was the project’s chief editor, assured the would be readers that the book is loaded, “Seed Nuts (Nzungu Dzembeu) is a product I am proud to usher to you all. Taste it. Chew it. Swallow it. It is good for your mental health.”
Another Midlands arts female prodigy Mrs Noreen Sigauke(Nee Mutera) spiced the evening with a Shona poetry piece, ‘Rwaamai’ which implored everyone to fall in love with their mother languages and not to shy away from them.
The author himself, Mhike read of his refreshing piece entitled, ‘Vamwe’ taken from the new book, page 95. The poem fosters the idea of oneness in communities.
‘Idzodzi nzungu dzinoda vamwe kudzidyara
Dzinoda vamwe kudzisakura,
Dzinoda vamwe kudzitanhaura,
Kusvika dzizova musvo nzungu dzembeu dzakadai….
(These nuts need many hands for them to bear fruits – planters, weeders and pluckers.)
To put icing on the cake and to make the day a memorable one, Guest of Honour for the event renowned author, editor and the founder or Munyori Literary Journal, Professor Emmanuel Sigauke termed this event, ‘The launch of the decade’. It was a befitting tag for the event as the book was written in the rural areas.
“This launch is unique in that it is the launch of a book that was conceived, written, and developed in a rural setting, and that although it was published in the city of Bulawayo, the book has found its way back home, to the rural areas, where it is being launched to an international audience, a feat made possible by Mazvihwa’s connectivity to the world though platforms like WhatsApp. Initially, the book was going to be launched on the ground in Gudo, Mazvihwa, and I still hope there will be a follow-up celebration in person, and that as many people as possible in and outside Mazvihwa will be invited to the event,” said Professor Sigauke.
Professor Sigauke went on to encourage authors to be patient and not to rush to the print with half-baked cakes. He heaped praises on Mhike for engaging Muchuri, a highly professional editor for his work to come out clean.
Participants on the platform also hailed the author and promised to continue supporting him.
Allyc Ndlovu, a Director of Programs at Muonde Trust and a big fan of Mhike poems thanked Mhike’s wife for the support she rendered during the time the project was in it’s conception up to birth.
Mhike who is the crown Prince of Mazvihwa and the Muonde Trust Coordinator is endeared to his community. His event was graced by respected people of great standing from all walks of life. Hon Gandiwa, Mr Chikumbo, Bishop Taitasei Machingura, Doctor Samwanda, Miss Kupfavira to mention just buy a few.
Another most gratifying thing was seeing one fan buying twenty copies set to be donated to all schools in Mazvihwa. This was complemented by a fan in Chicago, America who bought three copies for Mhike’s former Primary and Secondary schools as well as one for Muonde Trust Community Library. This is a step further in Chisiya and Muonde’s quest to cultivate and inculcate a reading culture amongst children and young people in Zimbabwe and Mazvihwa in particular.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Edwin Msipa aka Black Mampara, The Irregular Poet, is a book reviewer, freelancer, author of several books and an educationist.