Beaven Tapureta Bookshelf —
There is no more reason for University of Zimbabwe academics to restrain from writing and publishing their works of scholarship as resources have been made available to them.
Speaking at a mega book launch held last Friday afternoon at the university, UZ Vice Chancellor, Professor Levi M. Nyagura said academics have no reason not to write because resources are available to increase their works of scholarship so that the institution reaches world class standards.
The launch, held in the Llewellin Lecture Theatre, celebrated seventeen books which various faculty members of the UZ produced this year alone.
“We need to do much more work in terms of production of academic books and for that, the University of Zimbabwe is committing itself in 2017 to establish a proper printing and publishing press. We should do away with the false reason that there is no money or not enough equipment,” said Professor Nyagura.
It was announced at the launch that the printing press will work closely together with a UZ bookshop which shall also be established next year.
Professor Nyagura said few years ago academics stressed lack of money as a de-motivation to writing, researching, and publishing. The institution made the money available but all of a sudden there were few books published.
So far, according to the Vice Chancellor, only a small percentage of the money provided for such projects has been used. The academics, however, came up with another reason for not publishing, which is, that there is no publisher. The vision to set up a printing and publishing press at the university is set to stabilise the case.
“We do not want to keep shifting goal posts. We need to be action and result-oriented to produce quality products so that we become competitive as an institution,” he said.
However, he was quick to comment that the “competitiveness” is not against other local universities because all academic institutions in the country share the same goal to produce quality human resources.
Professor Nyagura said as the oldest institution, the UZ should produce books and disseminate what it has gathered over all these 61 years of practice and share them with the younger universities.
He added that although the official launch of seventeen books illustrates the level of maturity of the university and indicates to the world that the university is an active participant in the dissemination of knowledge, the output of scholarship still needs to be improved.
“The reason why we have not made it to the best top 10 universities on the African continent is because our output of scholarship is negligible. We must produce about 100 books every year. You can see where we are; we are just beginning,” said the vice chancellor.
He seriously urged academics to increase their publications in form of journals and books so that the university can be recognised as one of the best on the continent and in the whole world.
The packed Llewellin Lecture Theatre not only echoed with intellectual sounds but also with some flowing Shona rhythms by poets Tinashe “Mutumwapavi” Muchuri and Batsirai Chiota.
Among the seventeen books launched there were about four interesting titles that can fall under creative writing and literary research such as the two Shona poetry anthologies edited by Munyaradzi Gunduza titled “Hodzeko YeNduri” (Secondary Book Press, 2016) and “Gwatakwata reNhetembo” (Secondary Book Press, 2016), “Sexualities in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Novels” by Dr B.C Manyarara, and Prof G Kahari’s “The Odyssey of Shona Imaginative Narratives”.
While the two Shona poetry collections feature both young and older poets and will in various ways add “nourishment” to the larger body of our literature in indigenous languages, Dr Manyarara’s work encourages literary research.
Her subject is thought-provoking and the author she puts under analysis is one of the greatest in the world. However, more of this kind of literary criticism and research need to be directed at our local writers’ works which have appealed not only to Zimbabwe but the entire world.
The authors and editors of all the books launched were given an opportunity to give summaries. The book highlights were appetising. For instance, Prof S Mukwembi’s brief about his book “A Training Course in Mathematical Methods in Corruption Management” had everyone wanting to read more to find out how one can mathematically handle this ‘deadly disease’!
The other books are: “Africa’s Intangible Heritage and Land: Emerging Perspectives” (R. Magosvongwe, O. Mlambo and E. Ndlovu), “Fundamentals of Educational Psychology” (F. Zindi), “Knowledge Production and African Universities: A Struggle Against Social Death” (C.G. Mararike and O. Vengeyi), “Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Policy Analysis, Management and Governance in Zimbabwe” (G. Zhou and T. Zinyamba).
The book launch was also attended by academics from other universities in the country.