Book Review by Brian Kazungu, 28/01/2019
Simbarashe Nyamadzawo’s novel Tatenda is a fusion of travel, romance, entrepreneurship, culture, patriotism, tourism and revolutionary thinking coupled with a touch of affluence and modernity.
He also wrote the book as if he was both the tourism and cultural ambassador of his country, Zimbabwe judging by his appealing and true presentation of the country’s treasured tourist attractions.
Some of the sentences in the opening chapter of this novel reads “December had always been a busy month at the airport. It was packed with travellers departing and arriving in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city.
Some were citizens returning home from a sojourn abroad while others were tourists en-route to resort towns like Kariba, Nyanga and Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls was a beautiful tourist town that played host to the falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World named after former British monarch, Queen Victoria.”
This chapter even starts with a travel related quote from St Augustine which says “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”
More so, every of the chapters in the novel Tatenda starts with a quotation that is related to the theme of that specific chapter as quoted especially from speeches by famous philosophers or world leaders.
To anybody who has not been to Zimbabwe, the book becomes a tool for you to navigate the Zimbabwe landscape and experience its cultural and social dynamics through Simbarashe’s artistic literary creativity.
The way that he describes some of the characters, places and circumstances in his novel are very vivid, artistic and appetizing in such a way that the reader gets immersed in the novel itself and it also lures you to continue reading as you would want to see what happens next.
“After 30 minutes, Ellen his personal assistant arrived to pick him up. Ellen was a 22-year old gorgeous young woman, light skinned and with a good sense of fashion. She wore a tight two piece blue suit that hugged her curves. She exuded a sweet perfume scent. As she walked down the corridor in her high heels, men could not help it but ogle at her figure.”
“He stood up when Ellen got to where he was sitting so he could hug her. It was a tight embrace. Then he pulled out a chair for her.” Reads part of the book.
Just by reading from the above statements, a reader would be left wondering what happened next between Ellen and Tatenda.
The writer continues with this creative pattern as he takes you through other various characters involved in other intriguing scenarios that always keeps you hanging as you explore the book.
This novel also showcases a revolutionary challenge on the status quo and traditional approach to life issues especially concerning the way people mostly from Zimbabwe had been used to in their interaction with parents and pastors as well as in their engagement on issues such as courtship.
In one instance, Tatenda takes his usual professional rather than religious approach in handling a request for a speaking engagement which was offered by a pastor who had wanted him to be a guest speaker in his church.
On another instance, we see Tatenda turning down some scholarships which he believed where not in line with his dreams while lastly in the same context we see a girl named Stella seemingly trying to make some daring moves (flirting) on Tatenda.
“I can see you are busy. Can I have your number so that I can keep in touch with you? Stella asked.”
This novel is a suspense filled creative work of fiction which incorporates real life places, businesses and other issues in a way that makes it easy for readers especially today’s youths to blend with the vibe since they can relate with the technologies, places etc. that the writer uses in his narratives.
Simbarashe, in the novel Tatenda talks of real countries and the related places such as Robert Mugabe international Airport in Zimbabwe, OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa and Twinlakes School in Zambia.
He goes on to incorporate social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook in the same way that he talks of Ecocash, a cash transfer innovation by a real life company called Econet Wireless using a style that makes the book relatable to most Zimbabweans as it even helps people from other countries to get a general view of the country in their minds.
Besides the intriguing suspense, the book is also a priceless handbook on how to handle issues of life especially career path, marital issues and managing the consequences of your choices and decisions as you traverse from one decade to another.
After going through some highs and lows, Tatenda who is also the main character in the novel Tatenda ends up attending an Information Technology conference in America with the help of his uncle Sekuru Jonasi where he won prize money for his business pitch, a development which changed his life and that of his wife for good.
The book is a rare piece of literary creativity with a positive message that can instantly transform the lives of the readers by giving hope to those who are going through tough situations and inspiring others to follow their dreams and live their lives with purpose.
Brian Kazungu is a Christian, Media Practitioner, Author, Poet, Technology Enthusiast, Entrepreneur and an Opinion Leader.
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