Dominican Convent girls stole the limelight at the Book Café on Thursday night where renowned short story writer, poet and mathematician Lilian Masitera was launching her fifth book Saskam Express.
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Kudzai Takaedza, a form four student, recited a poem by Masitera at the book launch, where seven of her colleagues also performed songs by the late mbira maestro Chiwoniso Mararire, using mbira, hosho and traditional drums.
An official from the Culture Fund which provided funding to have the book published at Print Dynamics noted that she was pleased with the performance by the Dominican Convent girls, adding that this showed that the school is mentoring students to enter the creative arts industry.
There were showers of praises for Dominican Convent authorities and particularly Ticha Muzavasi and another lady teacher, who both are coaches at this Catholic institution.
Masitera read an excerpt from the book which tackles various social problems where the main character makes a phone call to a colleague and throughout the book; these characters try to do all sorts of things to make ends meet.
“If you do not have employment you have to create employment or else you sink and that is why the banner right behind me says rise above, take flight, move on. That is what the story is telling us in Saskam Express,” Masitera said.
Sascam (spelt saskam on book) is an acronym for the then Salisbury Association for the Care of the African Mentally Handicapped — is now known as Zimcare Trust — which caters for people with mental challenges.
It is a book that keeps the reader in stitches of laughter through and through.
Other books which Masitera has published are Start With Me, The Trail, Now I Can Play and Militant Shadow.
In 1994, she was among a group of women who published the first anthology of poems and short stories by Zimbabwean female writers.
The anthology was described by local critics as “a landmark in the history of Zimbabwean literature”.
In 1997, she received a merit award from the International Society of Poets for her poem, Enter The Teetotaler which also appears in Militant Shadow (Minerva Press, 1996).