BY AGATHA CHUMA
GWERU-BASED author Hopewell Gandiwa says he is ready for the virtual launch of his debut novel titled Rare Flower next month.
Gandiwa, who is also the founder of Paivapo Literary Arts, an arts initiative that seeks to influence positive change in society through arts, told NewsDay Life & Style that the virtual launch was in line with the COVID-19 guidelines.
“The decision to host a virtual book launch instead of the normal in-person unveiling is a result of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, our previous launch dates were also affected by COVID-19-induced lockdowns, hence the decision to go virtual,” he said.
“The virtual launch will also provide an opportunity for book lovers from across the globe to take part as individuals and corporates will be able to purchase copies of the book and donate them to schools of their choice.”
Gandiwa said Rare Flower was the story of a village girl Mandirasa, who is forced into marriage as appeasement for an avenging spirit (ngozi), but ran away upon meeting another girl who had suffered a similar fate.
He believes if issues of child and forced marriages are addressed in the open space by artists, society might change its mindset for the better.
“It is sad to note that cases of forced and child marriages are on the increase mainly due to poverty and archaic religious and cultural practices. More needs to be done to safeguard the girl child from abusive religious and unfair cultural practices,” Gandiwa said.
He added that if artists raised awareness and educated people through their pieces of work, societal attitudes would change.
“I developed a deep love affair with books from a tender age,” he said.
“What inspired me to write is the knowledge I have on the power which a book carries. It either changes one’s perceptions, opens minds or transforms lives for the better.”
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