Thursday, 03 September 2015
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News makers: Zakes Mda on Why Story-telling Will Survive (even if books don’t) - Wednesday, 12 August 2015 07:07
News makers: Eight nations, 50 exhibitors for FNB Joburg Art Fair - Saturday, 08 August 2015 12:35
News makers: Writers re-ignite robust debate - Monday, 03 August 2015 06:32
Surprises at IIFF 2015 Awards

Surprises at IIFF 2015 Awards

Visual Arts

The International Images Films Festival for Women 2015 (IIFF) 14th edition running under the theme: Women Alive – Women of…

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Five Writers; Five Perspectives

Five Writers; Five Perspectives

Book Review

This new contribution to understanding the trajectory taken in the rise and development of art in Zimbabwe comprises five chapters,…

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Zakes Mda on Why Story-telling Will Survive (even if books don’t)

Zakes Mda on Why Story-telling Will Survive (even if books don’t)

News makers

Regarded as one of South Africa’s leading authors, Zakes Mda (real name: Zanemvula Kizito Gatyeni Mda) is a multi-talented writer,…

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Eight nations, 50 exhibitors for FNB Joburg Art Fair

Eight nations, 50 exhibitors for FNB Joburg Art Fair

News makers

Fifty modern and contemporary art exhibitors from eight countries are taking part in the FNB  Johannesburg Art Fair. 

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A Conversation with writer E C Osondu

A Conversation with writer E C Osondu

Book Review

E C Osondu is an award-winning author from Nigeria. In 2009, he won the Caine Prize for  African Writing for…

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Writers re-ignite robust debate

Writers re-ignite robust debate

News makers

Musaemura Zimunya declared it a “full house” while Emmanuel Sigauke saw in it a reconnection of the vibrancy that characterized…

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Paradox of Zimbabwe’s high literacy rate

Paradox of Zimbabwe’s high literacy rate

Perspective

One of the major highlights of the second day of the 2015 Book Fair Indaba was the unpacking of the…

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Importance of research and publishing

Importance of research and publishing

Perspective

Walter Bgoya, the eminent Tanzanian progressive publisher, argues that research and publishing are of critical importance in disseminating new knowledge…

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Importance and impact of ZIBF

Importance and impact of ZIBF

News makers

A senior Tanzanian pioneering publisher yesterday shared the importance and impact of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair during his Keynote…

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Importance of research and publishing

Importance of research and publishing

Perspective

Walter Bgoya, the eminent Tanzanian progressive publisher, argues that research and publishing are of critical importance in disseminating new knowledge…

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Excitement at Venice Biennale

Excitement at Venice Biennale

Visual Arts

The Zimbabwe pavilion at the on-going 56th Venice Biennale is attracting the attention of art students. The latest among these have…

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New story telling departure

New story telling departure

Perspective

Writer, poet and publisher, Ignatius Tirivangani Mabasa, has kept audiences both young and old, at home and abroad rapt with…

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Tribute to Freedom Nyamubaya

Tribute to Freedom Nyamubaya

Perspective

Poet, short story writer, performance artist and development worker, Freedom Nyamubaya, who has died in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe aged 57, was…

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Ubuntu Pixels at the Venice Biennale

Ubuntu Pixels at the Venice Biennale

News makers

Three artists the artists - Gareth Nyandoro, Masimba Hwati and Chikonzero Chazunguza - currently representing Zimbabwe at the Venice Biennale…

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Being literary in Zimbabwe

 

When I went to University and chose to study English Literature (to the dismay of my family and friends) I was a lost soul. I was side-stepping more lucrative prospects in law, business and science and yet English literature was the Eureka of my awakening. 


I had unconsciously begun a journey to discover the contradictions of my being. The Literature Department, curiously called the English Department, at Midlands State University where I pursued undergraduate degree studies teaches mostly English authors from Chaucer to Dickens. It bothered me that our educational system still connived with the past. Questions crawled in my mind. They still do. 


What is the reason in this day and age that we should be brought up on an impoverished reading diet in a so-called English Department? Why is this pattern so in our time? Why does it still persist? Has this all been an accident of content, time, place and history?


Despite the crucial role the twin fields of literature and culture play in making a child aware of, and rediscovering his environment, in Zimbabwe literature remains a looked down upon subject. The great difficulty posed by colonial history is that it brought us into a world with no real centre and no easily defined point of view. In fact, the cultural onion was peeled to a point where our tears still refuse to dry.


One of Africa’s eminent writers, Chinua Achebe, highlights the problem with the world knowledge system when he rightly points out that it is dominated by Europe and it excludes the “African testimony”. I am fully aware of the simplifications I am indulging in so that my basic points can stand out. 


However, I realize, for instance there is some sort of effort to try to study African writing and I also realise that there is effort by some European universities to “post –colonise” the African knowledge system and psyche, but despite these academically elegant labels and sometimes nonsensical pedagogical qualifications that can be made from the high chair of academia, there is some patronising attitude in all this. The knowledge system teaches little about Africa, or worse ignores it. 


It is this misnomer that led me to want to be a literary researcher to declare my independence and refuse to be a squawking literary parrot. I wanted to do some demolition work on the walls that keep me from knowing myself, and seek ways of understanding the possibilities inherent in my life as an African. 
My other desire is to interfere and interrupt the flows of thought, to engage with and fight the present as a response to my own being. When I was 20 years old, I became an editorial apprentice at a small but vibrant publishing house in Harare. This experience deepened my desire to want to be involved in the production of knowledge relevant to our needs. 


This involvement with the publishing industry, as well as the writing fraternity and academia in Zimbabwe, made me realise that we had a capacity to produce and package our own stories and ideas but sometimes that is not enough when we have to rely on Western donors for capital to fund our projects and who often come in with their own agendas.


When I was at university in Gweru I had one big ambition: to critically engage with the dominant patterns of intellectual production. What irked me most was that I had seen foreign and well funded scholars come to Zimbabwe and in six months or less, they left with a book manuscript of our culture, politics, economics, music etc. It was as if the locals were intellectually impotent or incurious, so they needed someone to tell them something about themselves. As young as I was, I often wondered why we required intervention from foreign academics for us as Zimbabweans to appreciate ourselves. I am lucky to be part of the solution. As a publisher you learn how to package thoughts and visions. As an academic you learn how to think and dream. As a writer you create your own reality.

 

- By Tinashe Mushakavanhu.

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  Inspirational Saying

Do we not run the risk that the knowledge society is for the rich and elite who pride themselves in not being able to speak an African language?  - Walter Bgoya.