Hats off to Novuyo

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NOVUYO Rosa Tshuma is a bright prospect for the literary sector in Bulawayo.

Report by Staff Reporter

At 25 years of age, she has already published her first book, a major achievement in a country where writers struggle to get their works published.
The reason is not that writers do not have anything to publish.

The industry is on its knees, with few publishing houses still in operation.

Very few people spend their hard-earned money to purchase books.

Those that have a few dollars to spare would rather buy school textbooks than fiction books, which are seen as a luxury.

In such a depressed environment, Tshuma is a beacon of hope, — the proverbial silver lining on a dark cloud, — where most of her peers are still coming of age and are yet to enter the publishing world.

Tshuma was fortunate enough to work with the British Council’s Identity and Diversity International Project.

Through this platform she managed to get some of her stories published in publications run under the programme.

These are Echoes of Young Voices, Identity Beyond Scribbled Words and Silent Cry.

Tshuma’s debut novel titled Shadows was published in South Africa this year.

“South Africa has a thriving economy that works like interconnected parts each effectively driving the engine.

“The writing industry has benefitted from this; a range of publishers, a range in the genres published, a plethora of bookstores, a reviewing culture, several significant national prizes and institutions dedicated to the study of craft,” she says.

On the state of affairs in Zimbabwe, she said: “Zimbabwe has a lot of writers, which is good. The range and publishing opportunities as well as bookstores for literature, a book reading culture, not to mention institutions dedicated to improving craft, are wanting.”
While she is happy about the quality of writing in Zimbabwe, she believes writers should constantly work on their craft.
“To quote an interesting point made by a writer friend,
writing within the country as a whole could do with moving away from a journalistic format, to the heart of the creative craft. Creative writing is not journalism,” Tshuma said.
Tshuma has already bagged an award in her short life as a published writer, she was the winner of the Intwasa Short Story Competition in 2009.
Presently, she is pursuing studies at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.