Beaven Tapureta Bookshelf
The Begatelle conference room upstairs at Meikles Hotel turned into a small literary Nineveh for Charles Mungoshi Jnr last Thursday evening when he launched his five motivational books.
For the arriving guests, an irresistible sight – a table pitched near the entrance, on top of it spread in crescent patterns were brand new colourful copies of the young author’s five books revealing the titles “The Curse of Being Young and Successful” (2016), “Madhiri eCash” (2015), “Falls for the Top” (2016), “Inspirations from Lack on the Road to Abundance” (2015) and “Snippets of my Versatile Mind” (2014). All the books were published by Mungoshi Press.
As it drizzled outside the hotel, a stimulating story of an undying legacy was being told inside the conference room. The name Charles Mungoshi (Snr) echoes with sublime literary ingenuity.
It speaks to the mind and awakens a nostalgic bug which can only be pacified by those characters, images, ideas in any of the great author’s novels. He has touched many lives of different backgrounds not only in Zimbabwe but in various spots across the globe.
But to have his son launching five books at once surely must have got some guests looking forward to some ‘common denominator’. A certain mystery haunted the conference room until Charles Mungoshi Jnr, spoke. “It would not be an event without honoring my parents from whom I have learnt many things. My mother doesn’t sleep. You see her dozing off at her laptop where she would be putting together a business project. I have learnt from her that you have to be a fighter to succeed in life,” said Mungoshi Jnr.
His father’s shining literary light, he said, has enveloped the family that wherever he goes some people are amazed that he is the son of a great author. “My father inspired me indirectly. I hated reading yet I remember my father coming home a little tipsy and teasing me, ‘Hauverenge mabhuku (You don’t read books!)’. I didn’t want to read even though he had a huge library at home. You could see books everywhere in the house. But from the time I started to write something, I felt relieved as if a certain burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I felt a relief, a release…”
Mungoshi Jnr is in a state of literary enchantment which he does not understand.
“I do not know what has come over me. What’s going on with me?” he said.
Yet it all began the very day he was born, the day it was decided he shall carry his father’s name.
He whom God chooses to carry forward his work he never leaves even when the chosen person tries to run away. Like in the Biblical story of Jonah, Charles Jnr could have been running away from literary Nineveh and yet the huge fish in whose belly he has been ‘hiding’ has now vomited him right to the place where he should be, the place he had been running away from!
To this writer, just after the launch, Jesesi Mungoshi narrated the day when the naming ceremony happened right at the hospital soon after Charles Jnr was born. On this blessed day she said she was with his father (Charles Mungoshi Snr) in the maternity ward when she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. There was no doctor or nurse nearby. It took long for the doctor to come and Jesesi says she sat calmly. And Mungoshi, a loving husband, happily sat beside her, admiring his son perhaps seeing a semblance of greatness in his face.
When the doctor finally came around, he (the doctor) held the baby in his arms, and turned to mother Jesesi.
“Saka zita remwana ndiani Mai Mungoshi (What is the name of the child Mrs. Mungoshi)?” the doctor asked. She looked at the father and said, “Ivava ava ndozita remwana. (His father’s name is the name of the child).” And so the baby became Charles Mungoshi Jnr. But he grew up distanced from the revelation inherent in his name until the right moment dawned.
“True, he never liked reading books until 2009 or thereabouts when he started writing. We did not know what inspired him. He also did not know what was happening to him. On a certain day he wrote something and gave it to his father to read. His father nodded his head as he read it, smiled and advised him to complete whatever he had written,” said Jesesi.
The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality, Dr. Walter Mzembi who was the guest of honor, said the book launch involved a great name that he felt compelled to respect.
“The Mungoshi name is like the Safirio Madzikatire name. These are brand names in the creative arts industry,” he said. He applauded the young author but had a few powerful words of wisdom for him and it seemed, for every other son or daughter in the house. Flanked by Jesesi Mungoshi and Charles Jnr, the Minister said to the son, “Sit a little bit more down with her. Spend a little more time with her. It is her womb, in that womb where the crafting of the inspiration, the message, the promise, was conceived. There is still more coming from her womb.” The minister later autographed some copies of the books being launched.
Charles Jnr’s brother Farai, who also spoke at the launch, has the literary baton passed to him also by his father. Farai’s genius seems to sway him towards the visual arts. He is currently involved in a film project based on one of his father’s book “Makunun’unu Maodzamoyo”.
Speeches by author Rabison Shumba who had a chance to read “Falls for the Top” when it was still a manuscript and Simbarashe Nyamadzawo, an inspirational speaker and author, were uplifting and showed that motivational writing is growing. Poetry by Tendai Maduwa and Flora Veit Wild also spiced the launch. Flora has extensively written about the late great writer Dambudzo Marechera who was a close friend of Charles Mungoshi Snr. However, Flora’s reading of what she called Marechera’s two-liner titled “Pub Conversation” came as a sobering reminder that one of the values which the literary legends being celebrated today stood for was a great passion for the creative written word and not money. The poem “Pub Conversation” goes:
“My name is not money - but mind”
Among the guests present at the launch was Chamu Chiwanza, the man whose life inspired the writing of one of Charles Jnr’s books titled “The Curse of Being Young and Successful” (and who is also the current national president of Affirmative Action Group), publishers Irene Staunton and Murray McCartney, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Director Elvas Mari and his wife, and writer Memory Chirere and his wife.