Mawerera launches debut book

Mawerera told NewsDay Life & Style that the book follows the story of a young man fighting demons all his life from when he was a little boy until his death.

VETERAN journalist and communications expert Ray Mawerera recently launched his latest book titled Zagamo the War Within at the Theatre in The Park in Harare.

Mawerera told NewsDay Life & Style that the book follows the story of a young man fighting demons all his life from when he was a little boy until his death.

When the young man thought he could deal with the demons by confronting the causes, his expected solution only made it worse.

“The main teaching or message in the book is the critical imperative to address the serious mental health issues afflicting our nation, including post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mawerera said. 

“The book is not so much a war book as it is about the impact of war, the trauma it caused on all participants, those who actively went to the war front as soldiers as well as those left behind to support actively or passively. Even later generations who had or have no idea why it was all necessary. The impact of war is still with us, 44 years after independence, and that is a cause for concern.”

Mawerera said there was a need as a nation to scale up conversations around certain matters that appeared difficult to talk about such as those that can affect collective mental psyche and productive capacity.

He said the solutions and or options that may be considered to tackle the matters needed urgent conversations that are not being held.

The guest of honour at the launch, award-winning author, renowned storyteller and academic Ignatius Mabasa described Mawerera as a communicator who has been culturally refined.

“Mawerera is a known journalist, and journalists are writers who tell us about things that are happening around us and they value facts and truth telling. While Zagamo the War Within is a fictional story, it is so rich and historically accurate, giving the ghetto youths of today a glimpse into what life was then,” Mabasa said.

“The story makes a lot of comments, and these comments are a rich way to put things into context for the ama2K (youths) who read history books but find it hard to connect with the reality of the colonial era.”

Mabasa continued: “We may not all author stories, but we will identify with the characters in books written by others. I enjoyed the Zagamo story very much and this story will be excellent teen literature because it largely dwells on events in the narrator’s boyhood and teen life growing up in Highfields.”

“The story is beautifully told and truly demonstrates what Terry Eagleton points out that literature reflects “historical conditions which produced it,” (Eagleton, 2006). In Zagamo you get the unique opportunity to get into the mind of a young man whose comments and observations are rich diggings into the life of Africans, in the townships during the colonial era.

“What makes this story special is that it is the only one that I know that is about the life of a young boy and his understanding and interpretations of the birth and rise of nationalism in colonial Zimbabwe.”

He said Mawerera’s story gave another dimension of how people left to join the liberation struggle, how they came back changed to a society and still encounter more changes and betrayals.

Mabasa said the story reminded him of the time when his uncle Patrick Mugandanga returned from war to a changed environment and it took him a long time to stop treating his relatives with suspicion.

At the launch of the book that was graced by artists across genres, celebrated mbira sensation Hope Masike performed.

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