by Richard Runyararo Mahomva
When the cosmos gives us new life we celebrate. When it’s time for a new season we celebrate. It is only when death strikes that we only mourn and sometimes curse the powers above for exercising their clout on us. Likewise, challenging our challenges also gives us the opportunity to see the inner strength we possess. In the academia, this is the same strength we gain if a new thought has been posited to stimulate debate and destabilize notions of ignorance. Every contribution to the body of knowledge, no matter how huge or trivialit may be viewed by any critical being means a lot because one read a day is a step out of the fraternity of the ignorant. One read a day is key to denouncing the pleasure found in the propensity of the absurd.
Therefore when a book is written we thank the writer for their generosity to illuminate the blurred constructs of our vain imaginations and interface with the world. It is such constructions by Chung Chin Yi that the truth should be re thought as writing is a philosophy hence philosophy is the destruction of historical ontologies to reconstruct new phenomena. Writing is destroying in order to reconstruct. Today okaMoyo has destroyed the third ontology and magnificently reconstructed a new dimension. We thank you.
You will agree with me that when one confirms the vocation to be a writer they have assumed a role of immortality. Their physical body may wear-away to sojourn the earth, but those who remain behind will see their reflections in the pages of a book. Any new writing by any writer is a bold step to fame and at the same time allowing the world to either appreciate the writer’s world perspective or to wage waragainst it,which, but however legitimizes and gives life to the piece of work.Today as we unveil this piece of work for intellectual consumption ideological associates and antagonists in the literary public sphere will also emerge, and all in one shall create an endless debate on the thought you have submitted.
MOYO’s new contribution to the body of knowledge comes at a time we have lost two great writers of this country; Prof Sam Moyo and Dr Vimbai GukweChivaura. May their souls rest in peace. These two may be gone, but I am sure those in the halls of the academia will rest not in making reference to how much they have contributed to indigenous knowledge generation. I do not intend to equate Njabulo to the late Prof Moyo and Dr Chivaura who passed on last week.
However, I find comfort that while we are losing great literary contributors of yesterday’s young generation, today we have young individuals who are following in their path. Young people who are saying we will use the little that we have “to carry our world-view” as overly emphasised by the late Dr Chivaura. This reminds me of the Ndebele adage: Ukwandakwaliwangabathakathi which is loosely translated as: It is only witches and wizards who hate prosperity and human development.
This is why I am standing on behalf of Leaders for Africa Network to endorse Moyo’s new book. At the same time, I am delighted by your attendance as it confirms that the efforts of writers are not in vain and that there is a market willing to consume literature. I will not pretend to be a motivational writer, I will speak in my capacity as an emerging academic writer and link it to the text we are launched. In the process, I hope to be able to explain how Moyo’s contribution has commanded my attention to make this presentation aimed at exclusively celebrating his journey as a new household namefor Bulawayo’s publishing sector.
Therefore I will start-off by taking stock of my encounter with Njabulo Moyo the self-publisher.
I first met Njabulo in 2012 after he launched his first book;“ African Sketches.” The meeting with Njabulo took place in his office when he was still working for the National Youth Development Trust (NYDT). I was compelled to meet this Njabulo guy who had stolen the waves of fame as a young self-published writer. For that reason I travelled all the way from Gweru to Bulawayo for a talk with this new poet in town. This was at a time I was also writing my first academic text titled;“Pan-Africanism from the cradle, the Present and the Future.”Which was published two years later.
The interest to meet with him was my quest for knowledge on the possibility of self-publishing. Moyo’s publication received wide attention and in the process it was both praised and denounced by many of us who were comfortable with conventional poetry writing. Personally, I remember confronting Moyo to give a critical appraisal for that book. The exchange we had was not pleasant as emotions were vented.
At that time Philani Nyoni wrote an award winning poetry anthology. To me Nyoni’s book “Once a lover, Always a Fool” was an expression of a conventional writer’s reciprocation to the new playing field that Njabulo Moyo had introduced. This point-proving environment offered a paradigm shift in the approach to publishing as it transcended the facet of the self towards a more institutional scale.
Then we had individuals like Owen Maseko setting up a printing outlet that complimented the emerging need to bridge the gap between conventional and alternative publishing in Bulawayo. This is where writers like me managed to draw the parameters to formalise the publishing enterprise and LAN Readers was born. Until this day LAN Readers has served as Leaders for Africa Network’s research and publishing unit.
At the same time Pathisa Nyathi’ s Amagugu Publishing stable had also began doing wonders, publishing one book after the other. In other words, I am asserting that Njabulo’s contribution to literature that informs our African world-view is more than what he once viewed as the simplistic African Sketches. Rather, his indelible mark in the story of Bulawayo’s alternative publishing culture is no longer a sketch, but a living reality of how much we need to go beyond arm-twisting arrangements that have seen many writers’ fruits of hard-work benefiting the interests of the publisher.
In the contemporary political discourse of Zimbabwe, Njabulo has given a strong indigenisation inclined context to the publishing fraternity. This also comes after Mai Ericah Gwetai’s self-published book which was launched during the Intwasa Festival in September. It would be a misrepresentation of history if I forget to mention how other poets like Solwazi Nkiwane became part of this alternative publishing movement with her debut piece; “Truth be told.”How can I also forget how Kudzai Chikomo’s Multi-Media Box has also enriched writers like me and Njabulo Moyo through high-tech publishing consultancy expertise.
From Sketches of My Soul to Motivating the Inner Soul
The transition from publishing Sketches of my Soul in 2013 tothis current work we launched titled;Motivating the Inner Soul reflects a newturn in Njabulo’s carrier as it no longer about sketches from his soul, about his soul for his soul. This time it is about you and me. It is about our souls that need motivation and thus Njabulo is writing to all of us in the confines of our goal-hunt apartments.
As a writer I hope this book will speak to the writer in me and redirect my energy towards progress. You may be a business person, a religious person or just a genre-less human desiring self-motivation. I hope you will find the pages of this book inspiring to any part of the inner self in you that needs transformation.
Through the approach used by Njabulo to write a motivational book in a time there is nothing to motivate us in the face of economic, social and political challenges I am sure he has assumed the position of being the “Man of the people” that Chinua Achebe wrote about in 1966. I see Njabulo’s work that addresses the “other” as a fulfilment of African philosopher, John Mbiti’s analysis of true leadership in the context of the “I am because we are” ideology.
As writers when we no longer write for self-conglomeration we are simple following the concept of giving back to the communities that have made us who we are.
At this juncture, let me say this book has lodgment in the contemporary literary ground space as it speaks of a young person raising out of the neo-colonial mechanized dehumanisation and using the pen as the only source of solace.
Just like other motivational writers like Chika Onyeani in his book The Capitalist Nigger, Njabulo is speaking to the African whose prosperity aspirations have been shut-down.
The Solidarity of endorsements of the book from likeminded Africans dotted all over the world makes it worth classifying as a Pan-African read. Likewise, the launch of this book follows a partnership arrangement that Moyo made with Leaders for Africa Network, a Pan-African ideology centred institution.
Therefore this book is Pan-African in every manner and as such it is a voice complimenting Taiwo Olufumi’s proposal in his book; Africa Must be Modern and in every manner it is a demonstration of how we should embrace this digital age to carry the African world-view and engage the world at all costs. We might not do it well like how our other global compatriots have done it, but the question is; where do we start?
You might not be able to meet certain standards and when those filled with prejudice attack the effort you have made ask them: If we are to get there, where do we start?
Let me say this is the beginning for you comrade.
Better is in the making.
Richard is the author of Pan-Africanism from the Cradle, the Present and the Future. He is founder of Leaders for Africa Network, a Bulawayo based think-tank and is the convener of the annual Back to Pan-Africanism Conference and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.