A few words are enough
I first met Julius Chingono in 1989 in the book NHETEMBO doing my ‘O’ level Shona. I fell in love with his poetry right away. I wished to meet him in the future. I wanted to ask what inspired him to write such witty pieces. It was in 2003 that I finally met Julius when he was an editor for a Norton based creative writing magazine, The New Voice Magazine. I later discovered he was a relative of mine. He was a brother. We shared the same totem Mbizi (zebra) and shared the same origins in Manicaland.
My most memorable time with Julius was in 2010, when I was helping with his stories for the book Together. In May 2010, during HIFA, Jane and Brian of ’amaBooks had arranged to meet Julius, but he did not turn up. I met them and they asked me to inform Julius they would like to talk to him about the project Together. It was after telling Julius about my meeting with Jane and Brian that he asked me to type his stories and email them to ‘amaBooks. We conveyed the arrangement to Jane and Brian, who were very happy with the idea.
It was not easy to get hold of Julius every time you wished to meet him. He would appear and disappear. If you arranged to meet in the morning you would wait, and wait, ugomirira, uchitarira nguva, uchitarira pava nezuva, while waiting for him. That was Julius for you. He would come in the afternoon for the meeting. He did not want to be pushed.
In early December 2010, Jane, Brian and Drew Shaw wrote to me to ask if I could contact Julius to try to get him to answer some questions, the responses to which were to form part of the introduction to the book. On the 10th of December 2010, the last day I saw Julius, I asked him the questions. He answered the question “When did you meet John Eppel?” with “2007”. To the other questions he only gave me three words. I asked him, “Is this enough?” He responded: “Don’t give people a lot of words. A few words are enough.”
Wakatisiira iyi nhaka
Na Tinashe Muchuri
Ndaida kukurukura newe mashoko mazhinji
Kana nzendo dziya tainge toronga ndaidisa chose kufamba newe
Asi ndiyoka iya yawakati dai
Iwe ndokuti pangu ndapedza
Zvasarirewe kuenderera mberi
Zvakadaro hauna kuita chinyemu
Wakatisiira iyi nhaka
Nhasi yondoti handichati waida kuti
Nokuti nhongwa pauri hadzina akaona
Waiva mutamba nepwere
Vakuru uchifamba navo pahukuru
Iyewe muromo wasina simba
Waisanyarara ukapaona pakanyangwa vasina simba
Waipareva nechako chinyoreso
Madetembo, nyaya pfupi nenganonyorwa, kukava kutaura kwako
Nhasi pano ndorangarira iwe mhare
Waisatya kunyanzi zvawainge wakura zvakanaka wani muchihwande hwande
Navakomana vakapfigira meso mumaboniboni
a-a iwe waive nyanzvi kuronga matare evanhu ane hunhu
kana naYave haagumbuki newe ravo gamba
Poem reproduced with permission from Tinashe Muchuri.
Performed on February 8 during the tribute to Julius function at Theatre in the Park in Harare, organised by the Embassy of Spain to Zimbabwe.