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Shimmer Chinodya in mental rehab


RENOWNED poet, author and fiction-writer Shimmer Chinodya, who caused mayhem when he stripped naked in Harare’s central business district last year, has been detained at Annex Hospital, a mental patients’ facility near Parirenyatwa General Hospital in Harare.


Annex, a part of the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, is a rehabilitation centre which houses mental, alcohol and drug addict patients.

Chinodya (58) stirred debate when his story was published in a local tabloid prompting fellow author Ignatius Mabasa to write in his weekly column a piece titled Writing About Madness Not a Sign of Madness.

The article apparently defended Chinodya when he allegedly stripped naked in front of staffers and onlookers, hurling obscenities at them.

It was reported that on Boxing Day last year, Chinodya arrived at Corporate 24 Medical Centre and proceeded to the reception area where he “started scribbling furiously in his notebook from morning till 7pm, stark naked”.

His relatives were only later contacted after he had been identified and his sisters went there and frantically tried to dress him up without success.

It is understood that he berated and called them witches, resulting in police being asked to intervene.

An official at Annex said the prolific writer killed time by always reading novels.

“He comes alone here and at times is escorted by his family. He has been around for quite some time and he looks quite miserable,” the official said.

An amateur picture even qualified the miserable life the renowned artist had fallen into.

It showed him in the blue Annex garb and unkempt grey hair.

Born in Gweru in 1957, Chinodya was educated at Goromonzi High School and the University of Zimbabwe, where he studied literature and education.

He graduated with a master of arts degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa, in the United States, in 1985, a year after he had attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the university.

He authored several books including Harvest of Thorns, for which he won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1990.

His short story Can We Talk, included in Can We Talk and Other Stories, was shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000.

Chinodya’s works include Dew in the Morning (1982), Farai’s Girls (1984), Child of War (1986), Harvest of Thorns (1989), Can We Talk and Other Stories (1998), Tale of Tamari (2004), Chairman of Fools (2005), Strife (2006) and Tindo’s Quest (2011).

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