HomeNewsMangwende’s Chaminuka an engrossing read

Mangwende’s Chaminuka an engrossing read


WRITER Kelvin Mangwende has released a reverting play titled Chaminuka.


The play has an interesting plot that covers diverse themes ranging from power, corruption, gender, chauvinism and feminism, among other issues.

Set in a traditional monarchy dispensation, the fictional play revolves around the rule of Mambo Dungwiza and his insatiable love for women and obsession for an elusive heir to his kingdom; a male child.

Despite warnings by Chaminuka, the spirit medium that guides their day-to-day survival, Dungwiza falls prey to corrupt witchdoctors who topple him from power by killing him.

In their ploy, they create enemies for him to the extent of executing his kinsman Chihota and adopting the bereaved wife.

Unbeknown to him, the bereaved wife Nyadzisai is involved in a scheme to dislodge him from the throne.

Dungwiza chases his first wife, old Zengeza, from home and banishes her from the kingdom.

The supernatural Chaminuka, however, appears only to protect the vulnerable like Seke, one of the chief’s servants who sees the sacred medium.

Zengeza and her daughter, who despite her engagement to one of the soldiers who had left for the war, is forcibly bequeathed to one of the dubious witchdoctors, are also saved by the autochthon.

Interestingly, that the story is fictional cannot even successfully distract the reader from the extreme use of the names of people and places in Seke.

Though haphazardly used, names like Seke, Dungwiza (Chitungwiza), Mayambara, Manyame, Chaminuka and Nyatsime leave anyone with a bit of either interest or insight, or both, engrossed in the flow of the story.

What the reader may fail to understand is the landmarks like mountains that do not exist in the areas that today fall under Seke. Another question that may follow is the totem of Dungwiza who is of the Shumba totem.

These questions are, however, answered by historians and, of course, the fact that the writer makes it clear that it is a fictional piece.

The timeless story in the play is powerful and accurate enough on the intricacy of the human mind and behaviour making it relevant in any given society.

The political gimmicks portrayed in the play still are relevant with the dynamics that Zimbabweans are witnessing every day.

One troubling trend in the play, however, is the quality of editing with several mistakes and unnecessary repetitions which in a way are reflective of the status of the creative writing industry.

The idioms and the rich language that the writer uses are proof of a well-read author whose command of the Shona language is exceptional.

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