Charles Mungoshi finds new hope

HARARE - Prolific writer Charles Mungoshi, who has been ill for close to a decade, has found hope in connecting with his fans and selling his latest book that took him 21 years to write.

During the course of last week, Mungoshi and his wife Jesesi sold copies of Branching Streams Flow in the Dark at the National Art Gallery in Harare, meeting and talking to buyers.

“Good day everyone, I am so overwhelmed with the response you have given this initiative. I know Dr Charles Mungoshi will be excited, since this will be his first public appearance after many years in connection with books — this will surely touch his heart! His inspiration is in writing and it is our hearts’ desire that he just sits on that desk and give Zimbabwe a few more pieces!” Jesesi said.

Mungoshi was conferred an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters — Dlitt) by the University of Zimbabwe in November 2003, in recognition of his immense contribution to Zimbabwean literature.

One of Zimbabwe’s best known writers, Mungoshi has won several awards, including International PEN Awards (1975, 1981 and 1998), Noma Honourable Awards For Publishing in Africa (1980, 1984, 1990 and 1992), Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best Book in Africa (1988), seven awards at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair’s 75 Best Books in Zimbabwe for seven of his publications and the Nama Silver Jubilee Award (2006).

“Today was really awesome, I would just like to thank everyone who came and supported us. This book took . . . Mungoshi 21 years to write and surely your participation in purchasing a copy will go a long way. The book is only $10.”

The couple has about 300 copies for sale.

Jesesi shared the story of how her husband got sick in 2010 and handed his wife the manuscript of the book, which she said is a life-changing book.

“My husband fell sick in 2010, despite the prayers we had for him, the situation was so hopeless. I had been beaten down, broken but God’s grace is merciful! I told my family, baba will get back on the desk! It has been eight years and he is still there hanging strong! Rewind to early 2010, he handed me a manuscript of a book that took him 21 years to write, and he said this will be the first book you will publish as a family!” Jesesi wrote on her Facebook page.

Mungoshi suffered a stroke in April 2010, which nearly paralysed him and pushed him into a two-month long comma.

“We managed to publish the book and it is titled Branching Streams Flow in the Dark! The story is truly wonderful. I know some of you have not managed to get a copy — therefore, next week I will be having these copies and you have to come and grab yours. I will have my husband coming along so he may sign a few copies. We just want to show and encourage him that he can still do it!”

This is not the first time that a member of the Mungoshi family has tried to market the renowned writer’s 2013 publication.

In March 2016 — soon after launching five of his own titles in Harare — Charles Mungoshi Junior embarked on a Campaign Book Sale to push sales of Branching Streams Flow in the Dark.

Then, Mungoshi Jnr said the Campaign Book Sale — which was more of a mobile books store — was a family initiative meant to market 1 000 copies of his father’s book to help raise money to finance the renowned writer’s medication in the United Kingdom.

“When I was growing up, I would see my father moving around with a bag selling books as well as giving and exchanging some.

“We are aiming at pushing 1 000 copies as a way of not only amplifying the character of Charles Mungoshi but also assist in funding his medical bills.”

The message on the campaign flier read in part; “ . . . buy a copy of Branching Streams Flow in the Dark . . . and help fund his treatment . . . buy a book, inform a mind, mend a destiny, build a generation . . .”

Mungoshi Jnr added that his father’s book had not realised much when it first went on the market, owing to a combination of piracy and the fact that the family was concentrating on his deteriorating health.

“Wherever you go in the country, you will meet people who may have studied at least a book by Charles Mungoshi in their educational careers.

“Some of his books have been set books in schools, colleges and universities but because of piracy, these have not rewarded him much.”

The arts seem to flow in the Mungoshi family’s DNA. Jesesi, mother to Mungoshi Jnr, is an accomplished actress, having starred in the highest-grossing film in Zimbabwean history, Neria — written by novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and directed by Godwin Mawuru. The screenplay was written by Louise Riber.

Mungoshi Jnr himself unveiled five inspirational titles on the same day in 2016; The Curse of Being Young and Successful: Inspired by the Life of Chamu Chiwanza, Falls for the Top, Madhiri Ecash, Inspirations from Lack on the Road to Abundance and Snippets of my Versatile Mind.

The award-winning Mungoshi Snr — one of the few Zimbabwean authors to write across languages as well as the major genres of prose, poetry and drama — has the following titles to his name; Coming of the Dry Season (1972), Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva (1975), Waiting for the Rain (1975), Makunun’unu Maodzamoyo (“Brooding Breeds Despair”; 1977), Inongova Njake Njake (1980), Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura? (1983), The Setting Sun and Rolling World (1987), Stories from a Childhood (1989), One Day Long Ago: More Stories from a Shona Childhood (1991), Walking Still (short stories; 1997), The Milkman Doesn’t Only Deliver Milk (1998) and Branching Streams Flow in the Dark (2013).

Comments (1)

we thank God for Charles' recovery. we wish him long life. he is an inspiration indeed. Jessi, kindly give us contact phone numbers, so that we can buy the book via ecocash or any other means,, include price + postage. we want to help recover the bills. not all of us can come to the gallery, we do not know where to come and buy the books

Jade - 27 March 2018

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