10-year-old bags Nama

The Chronicle

Yvonne Ncube, Showbiz Reporter
TEN-YEAR-OLD Ornald Gwiriri has broken the record by being the youngest award recipient in the history of the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama).

The 20th edition of the award ceremony which took place last Saturday at the HICC saw the Grade Five pupil walking away with the Outstanding Children’s Book award, a cash prize as well as an Old Mutual Flexi funeral cover.

The Macheke Government Primary School pupil’s book titled The Cursing Tortoise locked horns with Auntie Mazvita by Tinashe Muchuri and Tims’ Adventure in the Chocolate World by Chris Martin Lebolang. His father, Oscar Gwiriri, who is also a writer, said he was grateful to Nama for acknowledging his son’s talent.

“Ornald wrote the story and many others when he was eight years old. It started as a story he was just narrating when we were going shopping with his mother. The story made sense to us so we encouraged him to write the story down and he did likewise.

“Ornald has a flexible imagination and is passionate about telling funny stories. As a way of managing him from disturbing my writing schedule, I encouraged him to talk less and write more. I emulated the likes of the Jacksons, Williams, and Tanya Muzinda who have nurtured their own children into stars.

“The book was later published and it has been blessed with an award. I guess art runs in the family’s DNA. Ornald’s sister Natasha is also an internationally recognised published poet and the brother Onashe is into music,” he said.

Gwiriri said Ornald’s book was written by a child for other children hence it will be easily relatable for them.

“It’s not easy for adult writers to put themselves in the shoes of children, thus, this book is written by a child for other children hence it’ll be much relatable and interactive to children. I wish him success in the future as he continues to write more books. As a family, we’re very much fascinated by our boy’s achievement.”

Seeing his son being appreciated by people at the awards ceremony was a humbling moment for Gwiriri.

“I’m quite grateful to God and Nama for affording my child this prestigious award. The award ceremony taught me a lesson that when a child does well, he or she becomes the nation’s child. The attention given to Ornald was overwhelming.

“I shed tears of joy seeing my child being lifted up and pampered by celebrities and some posing for selfies with him. In my lifetime, I’ve never had such attention. Ornald is a shy boy, but the Nama event added a grain of confidence in him.

“I pray that every talented Zimbabwean child is given an opportunity and exposure to showcase their excellence and realise their dreams.”

The Cursing Tortoise was edited and published by Aleck Kaposa of Essential Books Publishing Company. – @SeehYvonne

Article Source: The Chronicle

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