Zimbabwean literature in doldrums?

The Chronicle

Stephen Mpofu,Perspective

OR is it more precise for this pen to suggest, contrary to the heading above, that our literature as the collected creative writing of our nation or group of people is at a crossroads or under siege by us, Zimbabwean people?A prominent, longtime scribe who preferred anonymity claimed this week that Zimbabwean literature was at a crossroads because the book value chain — under which writers submitted their creative artwork to publishers who worked with printers elsewhere and then had the books distributed to bookshops for sale to the public and to libraries — had now broken with the result that now many writers sold their literary works online, thanks to digitalisation which has become a modern norm in Zimbabwean as well as in other societies in the global village.

The author attributed this new development to some individuals whom he blamed for regarding any literary artistic criticism as being directly directed at them or their leaders instead of accepting that artform as critical in suggesting solutions to human frailties in our society, which book reviews in newspapers and other publications do for a better tomorrow for our nation as a whole.

Implied in the writer in point’s claim about the individuals, including some politicians is that the leaders in question regard themselves as being infallible and should therefore never be criticised in literary works for any shortcomings by them as way of correcting any failures by leaders whether those failures are unintentional.

But, of course, as anyone should know, only Jesus Christ, the son of God and His father our Creator are infallible, which therefore strongly suggests, in this writer’s own humble opinion, that the book value chain must be accorded by all sectors of our society all the support it requires and deserves as a broom that helps in getting rid of political riffraffs from every sector of our society.

The unnamed writer above in this discourse also said that if the broken book value chain remains unrepaired the future of book printers, bookshops and librarians risked becoming uncertain.
Worse still, in this writer’s fears, literature intended to immortalise the armed revolution by gallant sons and daughters of the soil who retrieved our motherland from racist, oppressive colonial rule by those without knees might not see the light of dawn, or do so for only a short while as any reference to the shortcomings of colonial political rulers might be viewed by some leaders as also referring to their own shortcomings.


One leading Zanu-PF leader has said repeatedly that he had failed to find in local bookshops Creatures at the Top, a book by this writer published locally but on sale in many shops overseas.
A senior employee of the publishing house which put out the book did say however, that the company continued to work with bookshops and that sales of books online by authors was just complementary to the work of book publishers.
In conclusion, the above discourse no doubt leaves many Zimbabweans waiting for our Government’s clear way forward in nation building vis-à-vis the role of literature or collected creative writing by our own authors.

Article Source: The Chronicle

Enjoyed this post? Share it!