27 March 2011

If Walls could Talk by Fungai Machirori

The boys were audacious enough to place bets when the decadent news about Rumbi spread across the corridors of the Communication Science department and wafted all the way along to the Chemistry labs, lacing their acrid smell with the sweetness of scandal.

Would Rumbi Magona give birth in time to be able to sit the final round of exams?

This story has been selected for the annual StoryTime anthology African Roar 2012, please go to the African Roar site for more info.

If Walls could Talk was written by Fungai Machirori.

Copyright © Fungai Machirori 2011.

Fungai MachiroriWriting about myself.

What a deeply challenging task. When asked to go back in time and tell someone about me, I am never too sure where and when to begin. Should I start with my birth date – April 2, 1984 – or with the beginnings of my passion for writing – which emerged around the time I was 12? Should I tell you about all the frustrating challenges or just about the deeply fulfilling successes?

I am never too sure.

And so I make a calculated guess at what might be interesting for you to learn about me.

I distinctly remember how, as a young girl, I always seemed to have my head buried in a book. It was torture for my older sister as I always recited what I had read to her on our long morning walk to school. I little realised that that natural inclination towards books was grooming me towards creating my own worlds of poetry and prose.

Throughout school, I always did well in literature and won a few inter-schools prizes along the way. But at 19, out of school and trying to make sense of myself, I realised that the world of arching birches and gargling brooks bore no resemblance to my own lived existence. I realised that though my writing was eloquent, it was not true to me as a young Zimbabwean going through the political and financial turmoil that marked our nation’s entry into the new millennium.

So, I would say that my writing career truly began in 2003, when I let go of my false existence and embraced the contemplative, and at times morose and even comic, voice that I recognise as my own.

At 21, I was privileged to participate in the British Council ‘Crossing Borders’ project – a project which sought to link Zimbabwe’s creative writers with mentors from Britain. It was a great privilege for me to sit at the same table as Zimbabwe’s most acclaimed talents – who included Chris Mlalazi, Raisedon Baya, Masimba Biriwasha and Megan Allardice – and have my young voice be heard among theirs.

Simply put, my career has grown exponentially since then. In 2006, a short story I wrote placed second in the national Intwasa short story writing competition – a deeply exciting achievement for me. As a result, I had a short story published by amaBooks in the anthology ‘Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe’. My poetry has been published by the British Council, and I am currently working with three other Zimbabwean women to have an anthology of our poems published in 2010. Also, I am working on my first novel – which I hope to have published in 2010.

Besides being a creative writer, I am also a journalist and blogger with a special focus on HIV, AIDS and gender issues. Thus far, I have been recognised for an Africa-wide award for excellence in HIV and AIDS reporting by the African Network for Strategic Communication in Health and Development (AfriComNet). The prize, which I won as a wide-eyed 23-year-old has done a world of good for my confidence in my journalistic writing.

I am thankful to God, each day that I can see the potential in everything I happen upon to become a story, an article, a poem.

I know that I am on the right course with my life because each day is so full of ideas and alive with adventure.


Fungai James Tichawangana said...

Beautifully written sazita. Harare State University? I'd like to study- or perhaps lecture- there one day.

Fungai Machirori said...

Thanks sazi!

Fungai James Tichawangana said...

Beautifully written sazita. Harare State University? I'd like to study- or perhaps lecture- there one day.

Avi8r said...

Well writtem Fungai. 
I can see the lecture theatres and almost smell the chalk..
Tragic for Rumbi though, does such naivety still exist in the modern institutes of Higher instruction? 

Fungai Machirori said...

Thanks. Well, the beauty with us human beings is that no one really knows what we are... Beautiful and frightening I think. So people might seem outwardly naive but not be so. Who knows why Rumbi really did kill herself? No one but her. And all we can ever speculate is that it was her naivety that cost her her life...

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