YOUNG journalist-cum-author, Lazarus Sauti, is onto something huge.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
His debut offering, Nei? — a collection of short stories and poetry — speaks of an innovative author out to break several rules in the writing industry.
Sauti told NewsDay Life & Style that the book’s title was centred on questions about issues that vexed humanity.
“The questions include: why people are corrupt? Why do people cheat? Why do people lie? Why do people fake miracles? Why are people poor when the country is endowed with natural resources? These questions therefore influenced the title Nei?,” he said.
Sauti said he opted for Shona short stories because very few authors pursued that trajectory and as a way of promoting local languages.
“Innovation inspired me. I think mixing 27 poems and five short stories in one collection offers variety to the reader,” he said.
Sauti said corruption was a predominant theme in the collection because his role as a writer was to reflect and interpret society.
“I used the short story, Misungo, and the poem, Kakonye, to fight corruption, a vice that is stalling sustainable socio-economic development in Zimbabwe. I used the two pieces to sound the alarm. Remember, literature is an instrument used by writers to express and change the world,” he said.
Sauti said he chose the question and answer “newspaper approach” in the story, Ndaibhadharwa Kufambisa Minana: Delight Munjanja because he wanted to be experimental.
“I used my news gathering and writing skills to package that story in a way that is easy to read, follow and grasp,” he said.
In the poem, Ndepapi Pacho, the author appeals to the ancestors to have mercy in the face of climate change.
“Ndepapi Pacho explores indigenous knowledge and its importance in people’s life. Before the advent of Christianity, the Shona people consulted ancestral spirits for all their worries in life. The poem, therefore, is simply reminding people not to forget their ancestral spirits. I believe that respecting our indigenous knowledge systems and our ancestors, of course, will help in fighting plagues such as poverty, climate change and disease,” he said.
The book was nominated for a National Arts Merit Award in 2017.