Musonza writes on vulnerabilities outside homeland

Gweru International Book Festival Ignatius Chamunorwa Musonza

FOUNDER of the Gweru International Book Festival (GIBF) Ignatius Chamunorwa Musonza has said his forthcoming book titled Dakaboy Is Not My Name was inspired by Dakaboy Is Not My Name youths trying to make a living in Botswana.

The multi-talented Musonza told NewsDay Life & Style that the book is a cry of the youths who leave the country in search of greener pastures and also a protest against those who replace one’s real name with a work title.

“The inspiration and theme of the book was from the phrase “home is best”. Its aim is to highlight the impact of displacement and the vulnerabilities life outside the homeland exposes children to,” he said.

“The book is based on a research I carried out during a week-long stay at a squatter camp in Mogoditshane, a town outside Botswana’s capital city. I realised that our youths, who travel to other countries for greener pastures, sometimes end up in compromising situations because they will be away from their families.”

Musonza, whose experience in creative writing spans for over three decades, said art was about hard work and extended patience.

His efforts on children’s books have so far been recognised with National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) nominations three times under the award’s Best Children’s Book category.

His Nama-nominated publications include Tamari of Tamarindo (Macmillan Education-UK, Beggers (Longman Zimbabwe) and Don’t Play in The Road (Macmillan Education-UK).

“I am much of a children’s story writer, of course now and then I delve into the teenage and adult genres because stories come with different voices, but most of my books are for children,” he said.

“My first notable attempt at writing a book was around 2000, and then I eased off after some rather discouraging comments from the Zimbabwe Literature Bureau. That was according to my thinking then, but now perceiving in hindsight it was quite pertinent advice to any future writer.”

Musonza urged book writers not to give up their journey of writing.

“The arts industry needs one to stay focused and work harder because when the results start coming, it gives a greater sense of achievement and contentment than any other profession,” he said.

“Be alert to invest wisely. A good manager, literary agent and financial adviser is a great asset when successful. I am one of those people who turned from being a book reader to writer.”

Musonza said the third edition of the annual GIBF which celebrates literary and diversity of arts in Zimbabwe will be held in September.