MARKETING, advertising and public relations expert Gary Thompson is set to release his debut novel, The Liberator, based on the real life of war veteran Winnie Kanoyangwa who was used by the Rhodesians as a human shield with devastating consequences at the height of the country’s liberation war.
By Phillip Chidavaenzi
Thompson told NewsDay Life & Style that the book, which is set to go on sale next week, blended reality and elements of fiction based on real life events.
He said the book presents an objective historical and balanced account that emerged from a painstaking process of interviews recorded since the time of Rhodesia’s last Prime Minister Ian Smith in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The Liberator is real, and some fiction, though based on true stories in my thousands of interviews through the years, from Ian Smith onward. The reader will discover and decide — you will be given both sides — you decide,” he said.
Thompson said the narrative in the book was strong enough to usurp his own biases and possible subjective interpretations.
“I have my bias, certainly. I would love to have loaded on truth but I come tainted. But the characters are rich and
real. The triumph and tragedy is they are built around a true story with an amazing twist,” he said.
“The current ramifications are integral to Zimbabwe’s and our own individual destinies. That’s why I felt compelled to write it.”
Thompson said his passion for writing dated back many years although he took a long retour somewhere along the way and pursued a career in advertising for two decades.
“I did write articles when I was at college but got side-tracked into a little advertising for 20 years,” he said.
The Gary Thompson and Associates boss said he was passionate about pursuing the truth and,through the book centred on the 1970s guerrilla war, wanted people to enjoy total liberty, something he said he demonstrated in the book through the character of Winnie.
“We are masked and potentially being vaccinated against the truth of liberty. This is for entertainment but revelation as well. The ultimate revolution is within. I hope to bring a turnaround in someone’s life for the better. Winnie
may show how,” he said.
“I would love to see people find liberty, be inspired, challenged and become their own liberators.
No one comes in perfect — these characters aren’t. There’s a rebel in us all. If people love my writing, I’d love to write more for them.”
In the book, the United Kingdom has just abandoned the rebellious Rhodesia as a bad colonial hangover and the colony faces a nationalistic onslaught from communist freedom fighters.
The book explores how the developments opened up Rhodesia to racial conflicts that still rage today and what Thompson described as “a hidden hand at play — a covert operation just behind the curtain — directing the play”.
“From the coup that was not one — to a global pandemic of fear that wasn’t one
either – have we been deceived into going back into those slave ships — but this time masked and ready to be
marked as global slaves voluntarily?” Thompson quips.
Thompson said this was a book about “a remarkable woman who lost everything and everyone she ever loved and
a general who won every battle he ever fought — except one” and documents stories about revolutionaries and an unsung hero.