Zim mourns celebrated author Hove

HARARE - Award-winning Zimbabwean writer Chenjerai Hove, 56, died in Norway on Sunday barely a day after the burial in Mhangura of top female poet and author Freedom Nyamubaya.

Hove, who was elected the inaugural chairperson of the Zimbabwe Writers Union (Ziwu) in 1984, reportedly died after a liver failure.

The award-winning author, who feared for his life due to his criticism of the Robert Mugabe-led government, lived in exile in the United States and Europe.

Renowned author Chirikure-Chirikure, a friend of the late celebrated author, told the Daily News that the deceased writer’s family was looking at ways of repatriating his body back home.

“This is very sad. Hove died on Sunday after we had buried Freedom Nyamubaya on Saturday,” he told the Daily News.

“His (Hove’s) wife has already left for Norway and hopefully we will soon have more details by end of day (yesterday).”

The Zimbabwe Writers Association (Zwa), in a statement released by its secretary-general Memory Chirere, has bemoaned the death of Hove at a time the nation was still coming to terms with the passing away of Nyamubaya.

“We wish to express our deepest condolences to his family and relatives and to his many colleagues and admirers at home and across the world on this sad loss. This comes barely hours after burying another eminent writer, Freedom Nyamubaya,” read part of the statement.

Zwa lauded the late author for standing for the vulnerable members of society.

“One may suggest that Hove wrote about the powerless of society. His stock characters; Marita, Marume, Janifa, Chisaga, Miriro etc are little men and women in a world which does not care about the weak,” the writers’ body added.

“Up to the time of his death, he had a well-known passion for peace, human rights and the dignity of all people. We shall forever cherish the power of his vision, his unique turn of phrase and his affable laughter. His outstanding work at ZIBF and Ziwu showed his keenness to work for the welfare of writers and other artists.”

Fellow authors have also expressed shock at the sudden death of the award-wining writer.

Christopher Mlalazi, one of the new crop of writers hogging the limelight on the local literary scene, had this to say:

“Rest in peace Chen. We met in Amsterdam in May, and as usual, you were laughing. I remember you telling us that the term ‘tribes’ refers to a group of people under subjugation, and that we should correctly say ‘ethnic groups.’ You were firm about that.”

Veteran editor Viola Zimunya, a friend of the late author, has also joined Zimbabweans in mourning the deceased critic of the ruling elite.

“Go right ahead and sing with the angels my friend. Go right ahead and converse with the ancestors — recite the poetry of life with them and make them proud. And while you are at it, you watch over Tecla (Hove’s wife), Tambu, Jabu, Paida, Tafadzwa, Takudzwa and the whole Hove/Muza family.

“They love and cherish you, and they will be missing you. I

will certainly miss the camaraderie, the laughter, the editing, the writing, the encouragement, guidance and support, but perhaps more poignantly the patient listening ear….”

The late Hove, who was born in 1954 near Zvishavane, announced his arrival on Zimbabwe’s literary scene when he contributed to

the Zimbabwe war poetry anthology: And Now The Poets Speak in 1981.

The highlight of his career was winning the prestigious “Noma Award for Publishing in Africa” in 1989 for his novel Bones.

Comments (14)

Hove was a sell out. Died of a whisky overdose. he should be buried in his beloved Europe.

godfrey gudo - 14 July 2015

RIP. Anyone who has studied Literature at any institution in Zimbabwe will agree with me that Chenje was a genius in that regard and the void he has left will remain till Jesus comes. Needless to say. He is one writer who attempted to present the liberation bush war as it came and went in 'Harvest of Thorns'.

edika - 14 July 2015

@godfrey gudo....urigudo for sure...!! Brain dzako ndedzegudo...I guessunogara mugomo...! May this great writer's soul rest in peace!!

Hatina - 14 July 2015

I understand your reasons for anger, Hatina; respect for the dead, perhaps. But you and Gudo are worlds apart just like a baboon and an educated man. Try to reach out to him and help him see light. Learn to take divergent views from all sorts, remembering that it takes all sorts to make a world. Good day mwana wamai.

edika - 15 July 2015

Rest in peace Chenjerai. Sorry for people like Gudo who are not tolerant who think 13 million people can all think like robots. Shame on you Gudo. At time you do not need to contribute anything if you have nothing worth to say.Hove was a true patriot. He was not a puppet. We will miss you ever. ps Gudo did you ever read this late giant's works? Oh boy what else would you need?

Nikita - 15 July 2015

godfrey gudo you are worse than your name and your small brains that enables you to survive by stealing from others like a baboon makes you think that being in the diaspora means selling out. It is a worst of my time to even hate you because even if baboons steal from my fields, hating them will be pointless. RIP our brave son of the soil Hove

Ziziharinanyanga - 15 July 2015

Hove was indeed a great writer. His Red Hills of Home is a great favourite of mine. Just a point of correction Edika, "Harvest of Thorns" was not authored by Hove but by Shimmer Chinodya. dzingi banzure

dzingi banzure - 15 July 2015

R.I.P Chenjerai Hove. Your work was cream of the cream. You are my Hero. Zviri-kurwadza tasara.

X-MAN IV - 15 July 2015

Ah, thanks dzingi! how could i mix the two? must have been struck hard by the sad news to remember what Chenje authored and did not.

edika - 16 July 2015

What a loss,those who studied literature will agree with me that Chenjerai Hove was a powerful especially in his book BONES.Your work will ever be remembered by many academics who studied your texts.Rest in peace.

Amos Xirhilele Hlungwani - 16 July 2015

Freedom T V Nyamubaya,ON THE ROAD AGAIN, Ooh what a loss,you demonstrated your own way of writing poetry which some thought was a deviation from the normal way of writing poetry.You left us still on the road,ON THE ROAD AGAIN,REST IN PEACE.

Amos Xirhilele Hlungwani - 16 July 2015

Rest in peace son of the soil you did your nation proud

carson macate - 16 July 2015

rest in peace

smiles - 16 July 2015

"Red hills and the pulse of exile, telling us this is home no more...".....such a powerful and emotional poem...Rest in peace Hove

theodora - 20 July 2015

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