Renowned author Chingono remembered

The Spanish Embassy will on Wednesday commemorate the first anniversary of the death of renowned Zimbabwean author Julius Chingono at Theatre in the Park at the Harare Gardens.
Chingono died on January 2 2011 in Norton at the age of 65.

Family, artists and friends of the late Chingono will attend the event in remembrance of one of Zimbabwes funniest and yet serious poets and champion to the poor and marginalised.

The idea of organising the homage came from the Spanish Ambassador, His Excellency, Pilar Fuertes Ferragut, who was a personal friend of the late Chingono and who respected his work, considering him one of the best poets in Zimbabwe, said Spanish Embassy cultural attach, Marina Garcia.

Chingono was born on a commercial farm in Rusape, working most of his life in the mines as a blaster and in his spare time he wrote poetry until he delved into it more seriously when he left full-time work in 1999.

His work has been published in several anthologies of Shona poetry including Nhetembo, Mabvumira eNhetembo and Gwenyambira between 1968 and 1980.

His only novel, Chipo Changu, was published in 1978, an award-winning play, Ruvimbo, was published in 1980, and a collection of poetry and short stories, Not Another Day in 2006, by Weaver Press.

His poetry in English has also been published in several South African and Zimbabwean anthologies: Flags of Love (Mireza yeRudo) (1983) and Flag of Rags (1996).

He was guest poet at festivals in Rotterdam (Poetry International 2004), Durban (Time of the Writer 2006) and Tel Aviv (Shaar International Poetry Festival 2008) and he was also published in the short story compilations, Writing Still (2003), Writing Now (2005) and Laughing Now (2007).

In 2009 he made headlines when he was detained by the police for reciting his poem My Uniform which was about a policeman who used his uniform to engage in corrupt activities, said Garcia.

Garcia said the late Chingono was a friend of both the new generation of writers and the old, he was easily approachable for many and he worked with young artist organisations like the Writers International Network Zimbabwe, where he was one of the board members.

Garcia said the most recent work he left as his legacy was a collection of short stories and poems in English that, along with those from John Eppel, forms the book Together soon to be co-published by AmaBooks and the University of New Orleans Press.

She said before he died Chongono was also working on a collection of short stories in Shona. On Wednesday entertainment will be presented by comedian Michael Kudakwashe who attended the African Poetry Festival in South Africa with Chingono.

Writers such as Tinashe Muchuri, Chirikure Chirikure, Virginia Phiri, Batsirai Chigama, John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo, among many others, will participate at the event.

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