By Mtandazo Dube
Dr Charles Mungoshi (71), who died yesterday morning at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, will be buried at his rural home in Chivhu on Tuesday.
Family spokesperson Tendai Madondo said the body of the late prolific writer would be transported to Chivhu tomorrow. Dr Mungoshi died after a long battle with a debilitating neurological condition.
In a tweet, the Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry said: “I never met the legend behind the pen, but I loved his books, and many more will too. Rest in peace Charles Mungoshi.”
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) also expressed condolences to the Mungoshi family, the arts fraternity and the nation at large on the passing on of the renowned writer.
“National Arts Council of Zimbabwe will forever cherish his legacy in immensely contributing to arts promotion and development.
“Dr Mungoshi’s literature enriched the nation and his artistic prowess in writing was unique and wisdom-filled. May his dear should rest in peace,” read a statement from NACZ.
In a condolence message yesterday, academic, author and former Deputy Prime Minister in the inclusive Government (2009- 2013), Prof Arthur Mutambara said a literary giant had fallen.
“The creative industry, literature and Zimbabwean nation has lost a pillar. The influence of Mungoshi’s work cuts across generations, continents and cultures. A distinguished and prolific writer, an iconic author – our national contribution to the world of literature.
“His works will never die. As we mourn him, let us address the contradictions and disconnects in the political economy of the publishing industry, and the creative industry in general, that short-change our artists and writers,” said Prof Mutambara.
Dr Mungoshi was a multi-award winning novelist, poet, short-story writer and actor who was internationally recognised and celebrated.
He published 18 books, which include “Waiting for the Rain” ( 1975), “Ndiko Kupindana Kwemazuva” (1975), “Makunun’unu Maodza Moyo” (1970), “The Milkman Doesn’t Only Deliver Milk” (1981), “Inongova Njake Njake” (1980), “Coming of the Dry Season” (1972) and “Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness” (2013).
Among other accolades, Dr Mungoshi twice won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book in Africa and was subsequently invited to meet the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II.
One of his poems was curated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a permanent display of public art at their new headquarters in Seattle, Washington, USA, in 2011.
In 2003, he was conferred an honorary doctorate by the University of Zimbabwe after winning multiple awards, which include Zimbabwe’s 75-best books, where he appeared in the top five lists in both Shona and English categories.
Dr Mungoshi was born in 1947 in a village near Chivhu in Manyene. After leaving school, he worked with the Forestry Commission before joining Textbook Sales. From 1975 to 1981, he worked at the Literature Bureau as an editor and at Zimbabwe Publishing House.
In 1985-87, he was Writer in Residence at the University of Zimbabwe and since then he has worked as a freelance writer, script writer and editor.
Mungoshi has written novels and short stories in both Shona and English.
Dr Mungoshi also edited Mazambuko by Musaemura Zimunya, among others.
In a short statement announcing his death, the Mungoshi family said they were honoured to have Dr Mungoshi, a quiet, deeply loving and caring husband.
Dr Mungoshi is survived by his wife Jesesi, his five children – Farai, Graham, Nyasha, Charles and Tsitsi – and seven grandchildren.
Mourners are gathered at Number 47, Uta Street, Zengeza 1. The Sunday Mail