BY KIMBERLY KARIATI
SIXTEEN budding writers aged between 13 to 27 years have launched an anthology of COVID-19 inspired stories titled Lockdown Blues and Blisses that depicts shared experiences and effects of the coronavirus pandemic in the eyes of young people.
In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, publisher and the group’s representative Tabeth Ruvarashe Manyonga (29) said the anthology launched on Saturday at Alliance Française in Harare share various experiences on some issues that are overlooked in the society.
“The anthology was written in different genres and writing styles. There is a poem titled COVID-19 written by Nokutenda Parwaringira (13), a play titled Lockdown Misery by Sarah Chinyama (17) and short stories,” she said.
“The authors of this book drew all these emotions in as creative a manner as they could. They spoke their feelings out through paper and ink and addressed issues which parents or guardians may be overlooking such as drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, child abuse and mental health.”
She said together with the project co-ordinator Laina Mutasa they added their stories, Lockdown Bliss and Burning in the Frontline, respectively as a way of motivating the youths and giving them direction in bookmaking.
“This project started as an online life-coaching programme in a WhatsApp group led by Laina Mutasa during the lockdown in May 2020. The aim was to instil value, empower, raise awareness and evoke resilience on relevant challenges that the teens and youth were facing under the pandemic,” she said.
“This led to the book as these young writers shared their voices on how they tended to turn to bad behaviours such as drug abuse when they did not get the attention they deserve.”
“Death has also been another terrible experience during this period and these young souls have felt and experienced the depression that comes through grief. Not only has it been all about blues, but we became more self-conscious and focused on personal development as Kiara Manaka’s story Becoming a Butterfly entails.”
Manyonga said the young writers showed great commitment and were working on individual projects.
“This anthology is paving the direction of these young writers in their writing career. They now have a feel of what it takes to be a published author and how the process is done. Catch them young, they are the future of tomorrow,” she said.
Other stories in the book include COVID-19 by Angelic Parwaringira, A Teenager’s Verdict (Gem Masawi), I Wish It Didn’t Happen That Way by Nyashadzashe Chinyama, A Rebellion Averted by Praise, Thando (Kimberly Gobvu), Rain On My Parade (Tinashe Sefaidiga), A family in Turmoil (Tinomudaishe Chinyama), Isaac Letshala (Fikile Mkandla) The Presentation (Natasha Mariwo), The Prodigal Son (Paul Makwasha), An Empty World (Kimberly Svosve), Uncontrollable (Faith Katungumidza), Dim Light (Tarisai Krystal) and Seventy Two Hours (Bradley Mavunga).
Follow Kimberly on twitter @lizellekimkari