Sunday, January 15, 2012
CHARLES MATORERA ON THE WORLD OF WRITING
He has apparently just burst onto the literary scene with a string of profound short stories. But Charles Matorera, a Free State based Zimbabwean has always relished the world of reading and writing, as he explains briefly here...
JERRY: You are making your mark as a writer. Going down memory lane how did it start; from your youth perhaps?
CHARLES MATORERA: I think I inherited the story telling talents of my grandpa who was a WW2 hero; he could tell you a story a dozen times and you could still be interested to hear it again. Most of my stories I could tell people and they would ask "why can't you write a book?"
Also at school they encouraged us to read anything, even lost newspapers. At home it wasn't easy as they were subsistence farmers... they always had a job for you, so any reading would have to be only at night.
Who are your favourite writers?
Charles Mungoshi, Chenjerai Hove, Shima Chinodya, Ngugi wa Thiong, Chinue Achebe, Mahommed Takur Gabar, Mtutuzeli Matshoba, Wilbur Smith, Robert Ludlum hey the list is endless...
Zimbabwe has a strong vibrant literary tradition. You must be proud of this as a Zimbabwean?
Zimbabwe is literarily rich; the British Council, Zimbabwe Publishing House helped a lot - but nowadays politics has intervened into literature and things have largely fallen apart. Yes we have got great talents like Marechera and Dangarembga and a lot in local languages but the economy essentially killed the market.
We hear everytime about daunting challenges facing African writing. What is your take on this?
African writing needs a face lift, there are no publishing houses who go deep in talent search and try to develop new writers. The governments are also not helping, so we do people who take writing as a career. But surely, we do have talent; so much so in the Free State here!
Some give in to despair and cynicism over this. What will you say is the importance of literature anyway?
The importance of literature to me is:
a)the footprints of our lives to the future generations like the bible, rock paintings and hieroglyphics tells us about the past.
b) entertainment - we mostly read to enjoy
c)education, it's hard to con a literate person
What are your next literary plans, dreams?
I would like to go into novels when in the future. I would like to promote literature in Africa, helping the hidden talents to get exposure. The final dream is to one day help convert the great African stories into motion pictures. Thank You