Tawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent
Cattle heading on plains in rural areas was an unavoidable chore year in and year out for young boys. No wonder why they came up with many activities and games to make it an exciting time.
For most of us who grew up in rural areas our history begins with such humble tales.
One day at the age of six, I woke up on a chilly Sunday and drove my father’s cattle towards a hill near one of the popular Mission schools in Gutu, St Albert “Chimombe” Mission.
Upon my arrival at the hill I just decided to go and rest on a grave while the cattle were feeding on the long green grass that was around the grave yard. Despite being told that grave yards are sacred places according to our culture the way missionaries had designed the graves made me not fear these ones. Little did I know that I was literally resting on top of the greatest of the early wave of writers to emerge from my country.
Yes, I had decided to relax on the final resting place of the mortal remains of Mordecai Abenia Hamutyinei.
The author has remained relevant a long time after his death as his works continue to immortalise him. ZBC TV is currently screening a film based on his popular novel “Kusasana Kunoparira”. His works continue to be included in the high school syllabus as set books.
Novels such as “Kusasana kunoparira”, “Ndikandei Mugehena”, “Musango Munenyama”, “Chinamanenji hachifambisi” and the vibrant poetry compilation “Mabvumira enhetembo” contain social messages that have transformed the lives of people.
The film that is being screened on the national television on Monday features actors such as Tapiwa Mavindidze who plays the role of detective Chinovava Mushoma. Mishaps that arise from extra marital affairs have been exposed in some of his novels such as “China Manenji Hachifambisi”.
This is an apt theme for our current lives as infidelity seems to be on the rise with some resultant incidents resulting in tragedy, public humiliation and other unintended consequences.
One cannot forget the poem “Kana amutanga Musikana” that was published in the book “Mabvumira Enhetembo” in which the author gently mocks the process of proposing love to a girl in a rural set up.
In the poem the author explains how the girl would play hard making sure to give the guy encouraging hints before finally giving in and admitting that she too was in love.
His wife Mai Hamutyinei said the great writer would first observe the world around him before sitting down to write a novel.
“Baba could go out there and come up with a theme for his works. “Musango Munenyama” was written after he met some hunters who had wild animals,” she said.
She said his husband was a fair man who was just plain in his personal and family relations.
The publishing manager of Mambo Press Wonai Paradza said though he had not worked with Hamutyinei directly the author had left a legacy of good working relations with the publishing house. “I have never heard any problem with Hamutyinei and even today his books still record a high number of sales,” said Vonai.
Paradza said a lot of people are buying the books of Hamutyinei is a clear sign that his works are very vital in our modern day society.
What more can any writer hope for beyond leaving behind a heritage that outlives one’s own time?