Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tribute to Julius Chingono from Fungai Rufaro Machirori

There are many things wrong with Bulawayo’s public library, but sometimes it startles you with a gem of a book that changes your perception about things.

I first came across Julius Chingono’s writing in 2007 when flitting across the shelves of library books, my hands stopped to rest on a book with an image of a dark window frame emitting the bright light of a yellow sky, bruise-red sun and neon green mountain tops.

Not Another Day.

It was indeed not another day as I read through the poems and short stories in that anthology, awestruck by the man’s superb ability to use verse to revolt against the political and social suffocation of our beloved Zimbabwe.

So how did my perception change?

I realised that a man, much older than me, whose historical context couldn’t have been more different to mine, could speak to many of my situations as a 23-year-old young woman waiting for life to finally happen to her.

I learnt that words know no owner, and that when used well and respected fully, they can mediate between the most unlikely of people.

I still have Julius’s poetry written up in my old university notebook - welcome salve to the drudgery of lectures and intellectual labour on hot summer days.

I still have the words that he left us all behind with, words which have immortalised this man so that future generations may marvel too at the wonder of his brilliance.

Go well.

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