Novel tackles child marriages, rape Yvonne Ndove

Kundai Marunya Arts Correspondent

At a time when the local literature sector has been flooded by motivational and self-help book, new author Yvonne Ndove has dedicated a novel that highlights child marriages, sexual abuse and rape.

Titled “A Web of Lies”, the book is a tale of a young woman who grows up believing her mother to be her sister.

Rungano Rungano, a wealthy business man by rural standards, befriends a village head in a ploy to get closer to her 13-year-old daughter, Chenai, who he is eventually given in marriage despite her protests.

Her own mother, a submissive church going woman, fails to protect her daughter and agrees to marry her off.

Chenai suffers untold torment of being ripped away from her mother, school, friends and everything she knows and is forced to bed a 40-year-old husband.

The spousal rape results in the birth of Chido, who is also raped by her father to conceive yet another child.

“A Web of Lies” follows a common phenomenon of rape being concealed to protect the perpetrator who is the family’s breadwinner.

Chenai, together with her sister, witness Chido being raped by her own father, but fail to make a report to the police to protect Rungano.

To conceal the crime and protect the family name, a pregnant Chido is taken to live with her grandparents in the rural areas only to return to the city, where the family now owned retail outlets, with a daughter.

Chido’s child is ripped away from her to be nursed by her own mother as she goes to stay with an aunt who refuses to let her live with her rapist father.

Everyone involved is sworn to secrecy.

The family goes to the length of relocating to another residential area to conceal the web of crimes.

A well-written “A Web of Lies” highlights how rape victims suffer in silence, especially when the crime is committed by someone in the family.

It warns of the dangers of protecting paedophiles and condoning child marriages as perpetrators will always strike again.

The book interrogates how religion, which commands women to be submissive, has for long been used to the advantage of paedophiles, while leaders who are supposed to be custodians of the law are complicit for financial gains.

Ndove is a registered nurse whose passion for writing has led to the publishing of “A Web of Lies” as her first book.

“I never really planned on writing a book, but rather a short story about a child who was a victim of rape, then my imagination just turned the story into one of incest and the birth of the book,” she said.

“I have always enjoyed writing short stories and poems from a young age, but I had never thought of actually writing a book.

“We have a family WhatsApp group where I always post my short stories and poems and with my family’s encouragement, I decided to give it a go and that is how I ended up with the book.”

Ndove said she took a year writing the novel.

“Writing took about a year, but I spent about seven months to get the book published because of other commitments and financial constraints,” she said.

“I wanted the book to be a surprise to my family, so I couldn’t ask for financial aid, I had to do it on my own.”

Since publishing the book, Ndove has received encouraging comments.

“The book has been so well received,” she said. “I didn’t expect such a response. I have had a lot of positive comments and people encouraging me to write more.”

“A Web of Lies” was published with the consultation of TisuMazwi, a communication-centred social enterprise well-known for championing story-telling in Zimbabwe and abroad.

It was edited by the company’s managing editor Fungayi Sox.

Ndove thanked Sox for his support.

“He made it easier for a first-time publisher to get the book out there,” she said. “Everyone at TisuMazwi was patient, understanding and at the same time very professional in how they handled my book which made the journey to publishing enjoyable and easy.”

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