BULAWAYO – For an individual whose profession is entirely centred on dealing with figures and armed with an MBA in Finance it was never going to be an easy choice for Fortune Senamile Nkomo to suddenly turn to literature and compile a comprehensive 244 -paged- book.
Not just a mere book, but a voluminous literal work based on a larger-than-life veteran nationalist, the late Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo.
The autobiograph is titled, Father Zimbabwe, The life and times of an African Legend.
“I am thoroughly impressed and excited about how he has admirably pieced together the complicated events that constitute the public life of his uncle Joshua Nkomo,” says former Vice Chancellor of the National University of Science and Technology professor Phineas Mogorosi Makhurane in the book’s foreword in reference to the author, Fortune Senamile Nkomo.
He is second son to Dr Joshua Nyongolo Nkomo’s only surviving Brother Edward.
The 55-year-old accountant surprised many academics including those from his workplace at Nust where he has been a bursar for the past 22 years, by publishing his debut literal work.
While the book has received rave views in the shortest period of its release, the brains behind the project cannot be overlooked.
The Daily News spoke to Nkomo this week who bared his soul about his momentous decision to fully tell the untold story of Oka Nyongolo, Zimbabwe’s former Vice President of Zimbabwe.
“The idea to write this book came about in 1998 when I was studying at the University of Stirling in Scotland.
“I remember one day I went to the library and when I gave the library assistant my student card she was pleased to see my surname as she asked me about Father Zimbabwe,” Nkomo recalls.
“Just 30 minutes later I went into a bank within the campus and the cashier there told me that my surname was famous. I was just amazed at how people as far as Scotland would really know him.
This forced me to think of writing a book about my uncle,” he said. Nkomo said since then he started working on implementing the idea which took him two years to get down serious to.
“In 2000 after Dr Nkomo died I started reading a lot of books and made a lot of research at the Zimbabwe National Achieves and the Chronicle library.
I bought a lot of biographies mostly those of veteran nationalists including the likes of Ian Smith, Nelson Mandela, President Robert Mugabe, Simon Muzenda and Kwame Nkrumah among others,” Nkomo explained.
He added that some useful information came from elderly people who used to closely follow the late national icon.
“The information was full of historical data and I was surprised to learn that these elders were walking libraries. I just made sure that they didn’t die with that wealth of knowledge,” Nkomo said.
He started working on the book in 2000 and completed it in 2011 and from there on encountered a plethora of predicaments in trying to get a reliable publisher.
Harare based Radiant Publishers ensured the book became available on the bookshelves in June this year after it was officially launched at the National Gallery in Bulawayo on June 14, and then at Joina City’s Innovate bookshop in Harare on June 28.
Before the man who had several honorary names like Chibwe Chitedza, Mafukufuku, Shumba yeZimbabwe and Father Zimbabwe among others passed on, on July 1, 1999 he wrote his own autobiography called The Story of My life.
While the book captures an intriguing political history from the 1950s onwards, his nephew Senamile felt the job was not done in full and someone was always meant to come and complete it which he voluntarily and happily did.
When it was announced that Senamile was launching another autobiography of the late revered and internationally acclaimed hero, many wondered what difference there was from Dr Nkomo’s The Story of My life.
Nkomo explained: “Like I said there is a 16-year gap of events of his life not mentioned in the book and besides my book is more into relevant strategic analysis and comments from different people while his was simple a narration.
“Another thing my book also emphasises on is the popularity of Nkomo which he could not show himself in the book. For instance I indicate how he was twice crowned King of Zimbabwe at the Airport and at Gwanzura stadium in 1961.”
He says the response that he got from different stakeholders after his debut book went on the streets encouraged him to think of working on biographies of other Zimbabwe’s veteran nationalists.
“While I faced many challenges during the process to come up with the book, I feel I am encouraged a lot to have more biographies,” he said.
Nkomo expressed joy at the rate at which his book was selling ever since it was released almost two months ago.
However, Nkomo who is also a co-pastor together with his wife Linda at Bible Inn Word Ministries says he has a message to Zimbabweans.
“As a Christian our church emphasises on national healing so in reference to the book it is meant to promote healing and not to open scars. It is also meant to promote peace and not divisions. As much as Dr Nkomo would say if he was alive that people should unite and love each other.”
As for the conclusion of his book, the author says: “That must surely be his desire to see them come together again after his death as they had done at his death: the clenched fist and the open palm clasped together as one.”