The Sunday News
Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
FOLLOWING in the footsteps of her late novelist father Norbert Mafumhe Mutasa whose books have been used as set books in Zimbabwe’s schools in the past few decades, 39-year-old Miriro Mafumhe Mutasa is distinguishing herself as a full-fledged writer having successfully broken a record by having her six novels published recently.
Ms Mutasa, a hairdresser by profession who studied trichology, has written Shona novels which include Inoreva Ndeirikuzhe, Zuva Igore, Bongozozo Renharembozha, Kuroorwa Kwangu, Hazvina Maturo and Sekuru Nhopi Nepwere. She also co-authored Mbuya Nhopi Nepwere with her twin sister Mirirai.
“I write under the auspices of our family project named Irikuvanga Mbizi Productions which is built around our totem Mbizi as we strive to preserve the legacy of our father, our family icon,” said Miriro.
She says she is inspired by life experiences and sometimes jots down her thoughts while attending to clients in her salon.
“I am a trained hairdresser. I did a course in trichology in South Africa. I came back and started working in a salon while pursuing my passion for writing.”
She said her novels were with the Curriculum Development Evaluation Department under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for consideration as set books for Shona literature.
“My keen interest in writing started when I was quite young. I nurtured the talent through the years whilst in high school when I joined the Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe (BWAZ) which assisted many budding writers to enhance their writing skills until my work got published.”
She said she writes in Shona not only to reach more of her target audience but essentially to play a part in preserving her vernacular language and national heritage.
“The synopsis of each of my initial six books which were published are as follows; Inoreva Ndeirikuzhe, which is about how to deal with contemporary health issues such as cancer and HIV and Aids awareness.
Hazvina Maturo is an exploration of modern life issues such as drug and substance abuse, paedophilia, robbery, prostitution, homosexuality, cultism as well as the plight of illegitimate children,” she said.
She also wrote Kuroorwa Kwangu which highlights the social impact of early child marriage, forced marriages, sexual and gender-based violence and how much it affects the girl child’s life and advancement while Bongozozo Renharembozha addresses gender-based violence being triggered by the proliferation and misuse of the modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) like smartphones.
In Zuva Igore she explores the socio-economic and political changes the country has gone through from pre- to post-independence eras up to the current period.
“It also provides information on Dzimbadzamabwe’s rich cultural life prior to colonisation and how this changed through colonial education and religion systems. It also gives highlights on how the country was liberated from colonial rule,” she said.
Zambuko is an anthology by various writers including her twin sister Mirirai.
She admitted that the book industry was facing challenges which include deep erosion of the reading culture and piracy.
“One of the greatest challenges writers are encountering not only in Zimbabwe but globally is that of piracy. The government has however committed to dealing decisively with this vice and hopefully our writers will fully enjoy the fruits of their effort,” she said.
She expressed hope that the objective of preserving the family legacy would be achieved since most family members possessed writing skills and were working on having their work published.
“At the moment Irikuvanga Mbizi is embarking on showcasing its first play based on one of the books titled Bongozozo Renharembozha,” said Miriro.
She appealed for sponsorship from well-wishers and the corporate world.
“As we perform, the audience will also boost the culture of reading among our people, especially the school going generation.”
Her father was both a renowned writer and administrator who served as chief executive officer for Shurugwi Town Council before occupying a similar position under Tongogara Rural District Council in Shurugwi.
Some of his novels include Mapatya, Nhume yaMambo and Misodzi Dikita Neropa which were used as set books in the country’s schools. His other publications are Chikara Chehasha, Dziva Renjuzu, Runako Munjodzi, Hondo Huru, Benzi Ritsiudze Rodzoka and Dangerous Journey,” she said.