Rhodesia Herald, January 15, 1969
ONE of Rhodesia’s leading African authors, who has already written a prize-winning Shona novel — “Muchadura” (You shall confess) — has had his second published.
Father Emmanuel Francis Ribeiro’s second novel is “Tonderai” (Do not forget). Both his novels have won prizes in competitions arranged by the Rhodesia Literature Bureau.
Fr Ribeiro, a priest at Salisbury’s Highfield African Township, is a playwright, a musician and has written Shona epilogues for the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation’s African Service for two years.
He has already submitted manuscripts for his third novel and intends to write a fourth book before the end of the year.
Born at Enkeldoorn about 34 years ago, Fr Ribeiro grew up in Gatooma and completed his secondary education at Kutama, Gokomere and Chishawasha Missions.
He was elected the first chairman of the Shona and Ndebele Writers’ Association about two years ago.
Fr Ribeiro’s first novel earned him £35. More than 3 000 copies were sold. The novel, “Muchadura” has been used at African schools as a supplementary reader.
In his second novel — “Tonderai” — the author has observed that African parents are eager to send their children to school, but when the children return with ideas of their own about life, and what they wish to do in their careers, the parents refuse to accept these new concepts.
Fr Ribeiro said: “I write books after my day’s work.” He took a month to write his first novel and four months to write his second.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
Fr Ribeiro (85) has lived a colourful life in his 56 years as a Catholic priest. He was among the first Shona novelists, and his best-selling novel “Muchadura” was published by the Catholic-run publisher Mambo Press, in 1967, the same year that another Shona novelist, the late Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa published his best-selling Shona novel — “Garandichauya”.
Exposure to the changing socio-cultural, political and religious environment gave Catholic priests the impetus to promote Zimbabwean culture through writing books in the vernacular, composing gospel music and promoting the use of African instruments in the church.
The formation of the Literature Bureau was a positive step towards the promotion of local writing and reading. It is also interesting that the few writers of the time organised themselves and set up the Shona and Ndebele Writers’ Association, where today there is the Zimbabwe Writers Association and Zimbabwe Women Writers, etc.
Name changes: Rhodesia is now Zimbabwe; Salisbury — Harare; Enkeldoorn is Chivhu, and Gatooma is Kadoma. Even the pound sterling, the currency, the time has evolved since 1970.
The Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation, now ZBC has many radio stations that are not based on racial lines.