One of Zimbabwe’s budding writers Rudo Bingepinge-Dzenga has just published her second novel titled Conquer.
The story balances two major themes, the stigma around albinism and sexual abuse of the boy child. While a lot of work has been done to educate the girl child and empowering her to speak out, a lot more needs to be done for the boy child to speak out against abuse.
Boys tend to “take it like a man” yet the destructive effects later on in life can never be undermined as portrayed by one of Conquer’s leading characters, Booker, a medical doctor.
September-Rain represents the stigmatised albinos. Society is quick to stigmatise albinos without understanding the genetics behind it.
We are a more exposed generation yet when it comes to albinism, we know very little — some still spit after shaking hands or meeting an albino so that they do not give birth to albino babies.
In Tanzania albinos are safer at special boarding schools because they are killed for muti.
Readers who read Dzenga’s first novel The Return or watched the short film version of the same are aware the writer is able to get the reader to cry, fight and laugh with characters.
Conquer is a well thought-out drama that has twists and turns that will keep the reader asking for more. The reader is taken through the hard times that September-Rain goes through and her resilience to be accepted as a human being and not be judged by her pigmentation.
By portraying Booker as an intelligent young doctor, the writer makes two major points: Even boys are not safe from abuse, let’s educate and empower the boy child too.
The effects of sexual child abuse are often so severe that no amount of education can cleanse them.
Counselling and confronting the problem is essential to healing.
Dzenga says: “I have albino, friends and family. I am inspired by their courage and determination to not let skin pigmentation come between them and their dreams.
“That is where the albinism theme comes from. My mom is a retired nurse-cum-evangelist in the United Methodist Church. I feel writing is my ministry too and I am particularly passionate about issues around women and children.
“I am happy because of all government efforts and non-governmental organisations, a lot more girls are opening up about abuse and reportingperpetrators, but this does not mean that our boys are safe.
“I am so grateful to Culture Fund of Zimbabwe because I was one of the first beneficiaries. My novel The Return, which focuses on the challenges women face after imprisonment was translated into Shona and Ndebele and adapted into a radio drama with funds from Culture Fund.
“In 2007 the short film version of The Return was screened at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival. The support form Culture Fund made me confident in the arts, I have buried the term ‘I can’t’.
“I have decided to write a children’s book. My children have great concepts they want to see in book form. I am working on it and hope to publish a kid’s series so that even my children can contribute their stories to it. I hope to launch the first adventures series for kids by the end of this year.”
Bingepinge–Dzenga is a born avid writer, who started writing at the age of nine, but her first story was published when she was 14.
Readers may remember her from local TV dramas from the ’90s that include Wakavimbisa Wani, Rage of Innocence and a short film titled Who is in Charge?
Bingepinge-Dzenga is passionate about public speaking, drama and writing, she is working with schools from her home town of Mutare to promote writing and public speaking at primary school level.
She is inspired by Virginia Phiri and looks up to the works of Joyce Simango and Dambudzo Marechera.