Mazvita; By Simbarashe Nyamadzawo, Harare, Gumiguru Incorporated, 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-77906-928-3 (Paperback)
Reviewed by Eddie Zvinonzwa
THE late Charles Mungoshi and Chenjerai Hove (also late) could rank as Zimbabwe’s best-known bilingual writers who had the flexibility and evident fluidity to produce works across genres and languages with equal effectiveness.
When I suggested to Nyamadzawo the other day that he must have been an apprentice of Mungoshi in writing across languages, he smiled admitting that indeed the late renowned writer was his inspiration on that one.
In this review however, quotations are taken from Tatenda to avoid the hurdle of having to do translations on a narrative that in itself is a translation of the English version.
In Mazvita, Nyamadzawo clearly shows maturity as an artist. Readers who have had the opportunity to follow the motivational writer can sense the growth in this piece.
A translation from the English narrative Tatenda, Mazvita explores contemporary themes and this is what makes this book refreshing. The characters themselves are not
When you read Mazvita, you must quickly grab a copy of Tatenda in order to see how Nyamadzawo has metamorphosed from a mere motivational inspirational writer and public speaker to a writer of note who should soon find his way onto literature syllabi for both English and Shona for either Ordinary or Advanced Level examinations.
Those who adjudged that Tatenda is indeed fit for study as a set text in schools were very right. The same should be said about Mazvita.
After reading through the two texts, I was convinced that in terms of theme and style, Nyamadzawo’s books can easily fit the bill. The simplicity of his style — especially the language – is a real marvel to experience first-hand but it does not in any way compromise his works. If anything, it actually widens his readership base.
The journey motif, a popular ingredient of prosper narratives opens Nyamadzawo’s book.
“When the plane touched down at Robert Mugabe International Airport, Tatenda awoke from a deep sleep.” Readers immediately plunge into the story through the flashback technique as they would want to know where
Tatenda — who is called Mazvita in the Shona version — is coming from.
The author has opened the reader to so many possibilities and the fact that Tatenda is now a regular traveller all most suggests success and affluence. These are no ordinary journeys on board the usual “chicken bus” to some rural outpost but real business trips that suggest he is a well-heeled individual.
Although the themes of ambition and determination remain motivational and even inspirational, it is important that this time Nyamadzawo has a real story with characters who can easily fit in real life. The reader would enjoy reading the story of Mazvita/Tatenda and seek to explore traits that they can emulate in real life.
Whereas Mazvita carries chapter titles, every chapter in Tatenda begins with a quotable quote from some big name. When chapter 2 opens, which in the Shona version is Nzombe huru yakabva mukurerwa, a popular Shona proverb which means that even the greatest of personalities were at one point small, the quote from former United States president Barack Obama seems to explore Mazvita/Tatenda’s background.
“I was not born into money or status. I was born to a teenage mom in Hawaii and my dad left us when I was two but my family gave me love, they gave me education and most of all they gave me hope, hope that in America no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, fight for it and work for it.” (p5)
It is no coincidence therefore that Mazvita/Tatenda finds his footing after travelling to Silicon Valley, California in the United States.
Tatenda, who “was born in Domboshava, a village characterised by granite hills and situated about 30km north of Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe…. The main economic activity of the villagers in Domboshava is horticulture … Some young people who are not given to the trade of farming have crossed regions to the mineral-rich Mazowe Dam to do gold panning.” (p5)
The change we see in the young man on his return after bagging the life-changing US$1,2 million cheque is mean feat.
In Rumbidzai, Tatenda/Mazvita has a dependable and loving wife who stands with him all the way.
Uncle Johnson is the one who encourages Tatenda to go to Silicon Valley for the technology conference in his place.
While themes of love (parental), betrayal and loyalty, determination, wealth and poverty neatly interwoven making the book a fitting option for literature study in schools.
Tatenda’s life journey, the shocks and surprises he has to go through are something not far removed from real life.
Nyamadzawo has previously published Faithpreneurship: Inspiration for 21st Century Leaders, Emerge among other inspirational titles.
Nyamadzawo is an award-winning motivational speaker, who is also the founder of Gumiguru Incorporated, a Harare-based leadership and leadership consultancy company.