Beaven Tapureta Bookshelf
Pomp and ceremony marked the well-attended official launch of the book of jokes “Masasi aChinoz, Volume One” last Friday evening at the Harare City Library.
Authored by a young writer Chenjerai Mhondera, “Masasi aChinoz” carries 16 jokes created around the comic persona of Member of Parliament (Buhera South) Cde Chinotimba, popularly known as Cde Chinoz.
The launch of this book brought together people from different backgrounds. Important was the presence of government officials which was a good example of the support the whole writing industry strongly desire. It was an evening of double comedy as MP Cde Joseph Chinotimba, man of the moment, and the master of ceremony Timmy (you remember Timmy naBonzo!), a comedian par excellence himself, rendered jokes that made everyone forget about their problems.
At some point when Cde Chinotimba and some guests took to the dance-floor as the main entertainer Romeo Gasa sampled out melodious sungura tunes from his new and yet to be named seven-track album, music and literature literally blended well.
What with Gasa himself who during his performance took the house by surprise as he mimicked a war scene, tweaked his guitar to cough out gunshot sounds and had some guests nearly scrambling for the door!
Humor is known to have psychological effects. At times of crisis, psychologists say humor “is a psychological coping mechanism, it helps cope with difficulties”.
In Europe, it is said the liquidity crisis years ago made everybody seem powerless and people found refreshing moments only when they joked about it on blogs, in offices and other social media.
In Zimbabwe, jokes about any difficulties the nation is going through lessen the stress of overthinking.
The guest of honour Vice President, Retired General Constantino Chiwenga commended the young author Mhondera for breaking new ground by writing and publishing a book of jokes inspired by the comedian Cde Chinotimba.
In a speech read on his behalf by Chief Air Marshal (retired) Perrance Shiri who is also Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement, the Vice President said smiling and sense of humour does pay as testified by the book launch. He encouraged people not to be shy to demonstrate their different talents which can develop communities.
“If you have a gift, let it show, don’t be shy of what you know best,” he said.
The Vice President said it was amazing that Cde Chinotimba, because of being happy and making people around him happy, has been invited as Zimbabwe’s ambassador of happiness to Dubai where he will spend a week with other happiness ambassadors from around the world.
The book’s author Mhondera said he had been waiting for the launch to explain what really inspired him to write “Masasi aChinoz”. Wearing dark glasses and almost speaking in the manner of ex-President Robert Mugabe, Mhondera said Cde Chinoz is a philosopher.
“I do not hesitate whatsoever to tell everybody that I was inspired by the philosophical nature of a person by the name Hon Chinotimba. This man is indeed a philosopher to emerge in our times.”
His speech raised emotions of artists present when he blasted piracy which has seriously weakened the arts sector, particularly music and literature.
“We have thieves on the ground, in our streets, and everywhere who are ready to photocopy and pirate our works, sell the book or your products and make money while the writer or content creator is left to die without being rewarded for his sweat,” he said.
Mhondera reminded the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and other concerned ministries that artists fully support all their efforts to stop piracy in the country. He said piracy is putting Zimbabwe on bad record.
“While we can positively identify individuals in the streets as culprits behind piracy, the entire nation; I mean everybody in Zimbabwe is regarded as a threat to a sustainable global book industry. We are a pirating nation and we are in bad record for failing to protect local and foreign writers whose books are pirated and sold here,” said Mhondera.
The Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Mirriam Chikukwa also spiced the launch with her encouraging brief speech. Cde Chinotimba, pelting jokes as usual and describing himself as “the best MP in Zimbabwe”, spoke at length about the book, his background and his forthcoming trip to Dubai. Cde Chinoz said his passion to make people happy is a legacy he took from the late Vice President Simon Muzenda.
The book “Masasi aChinoz”, now available from the publisher, was auctioned at the launch and saw the highest bidder paying $360 for a copy.
Everyone who then bid at certain high amounts had their copies signed by Minister Shiri and Cde Chinotimba. In attendance also were Cde Chinotimba’s family and friends, school teachers from his constituency Buhera South, writers and representatives of different organisations.