Covid-19 propels Nyoni to Amazon


Jeffrey Muvundusi

CONTROVERSIAL Bulawayo-based author-cum-poet Philani Nyoni, pictured, has been forced by the uncertainty brought about by coronavirus (Covid-19) to make his work available to the world via global retail giant Amazon.

Amazon’s profits have lately been surging so much that founder and primary shareholder Jeff Bezos is tipped to become one of the world’s wealthiest people.

Having noted the viability of the retail giant, Nyoni decided to post his book Philtrum 2.0.

“There’s a reason Bezos is making billions we can only dream about in Zimbabwean currency; he is perfectly positioned for a time like this when people can’t get out of their homes.

“It is unimaginably convenient to turn on your phone and touch whatever you want and it appears on your doorstep in a few days,” the poet said, explaining why he wants to take advantage of Amazon’s infrastructure.

Statistically, more than 60 percent of American households order Amazon’s products regularly. This is the market share Nyoni is pitching for, albeit with reservations.

“You have to understand that dealing with Amazon eliminates just about your entire domestic market. While figures look great for American households, do they know me or my work? Coming home, do you know anyone who has bought anything on Amazon?

“You can’t even use your bank card online and most people here don’t own a MasterCard. In fact, Amazon refused to acknowledge my local account for royalties and that leaves me with strong words for Finance minister Mthuli Ncube.”

Nyoni said despite taking the great leap forward, he was likely to benefit less financially from the move.

“Being on Amazon means I have to pay tax to the IRS; effectively I am now paying tax in two countries and can’t figure out what the hell for.”

Nyoni is one of Zimbabwe’s most prolific writers, with four books published locally.

Last year his work was translated into Swedish and published under the title Ett Kras Bon, translating to The Sod’s Prayer.

He is the first and only poet to receive National Arts Merit Awards for Literature and Spoken Word and has been shortlisted for two international awards in the last two years.

Asked about his future in the literature world, Nyoni said: “I have a dream that one day we have functional infrastructure; it shouldn’t take me all day to upload nine megabytes, the post office should stick to their word on delivery timelines and banks should work. That way we wouldn’t be paying tax to Donald Trump when we badly need every cent down here. But something tells me I might be grey before that comes to pass.”

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