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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book review: 'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope' by Tsungi Chiwara

In our 21st century, numerous African writers are still trying to find their way in the literature world at the national or the international level. Tsungi Chiwara, a Christian author from Zimbabwe, is amongst this new breed of writers.

Tsungi Chiwara (Photo: Chiwara)
This year, Chiwara received the national nomination for 'Outstanding First Creative Published Work' from the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA).

'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope' is a captivating story about the life of Kui, a teenager from Zimbabwe. The novel is centered around her cushioned life. Kui, the heroine, has to overcome issues that many adults and teens face today.


"Writing the book was therapeutic for me because it touches many emotions that I have experienced personally at some point in my life." Chiwara said. "I would like to give people hope. I want readers. especially those who are in pain, to know without a doubt that things will one day get better."

Chiwara's novel is an historical piece because readers get the opportunity to be immersed in the pre- and post-independent Zimbabwe. Readers are active observers of some social changes that took place in the current Republic of Zimbabwe, a landlocked country located in Southern Africa, between South Africa and Zambia.




The book 'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope' brings a fresh perspective to anyone interested to know more about the modern day Zimbabwe. As stated by Chiwara, each page will leave readers wondering what will happen next. The story deals a lot with current issues faced by many families, parents and teenagers. 

"The story touches on a wide range of relevant topics and social concerns such as the discrimination endured by people living with HIV and AIDS, racism, betrayal, teenager love, forgiveness, father's neglect, parenting, social status." Chiwara said. "The book aims to appeal to a wide audience: those who like boarding school type novels, diaries, memoirs, romance and humour. Besides drawing attention to those issues and preaching the Gospel, I want people to enjoy a good read, to laugh and even to say 'Hey that sounds like me!'"

The uniqueness of  'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope' comes from the faith-based component which is progressively introduced as Kui faces life challenges and tries to find answers. Chiwara, who gave her life to her Lord and Saviour Jesus-Christ in March 1993, said that her life has never been the same since she made that decision.  She experienced positive changes. Through her book 'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope', she wants to give her readers the same opportunity and for those who are already followers of Christ, to be encouraged and blessed.  

Christian author Chiwara wants her writing to impact lives positively.  (Photo: Chiwara)


"I decided to write a genre called Christian Fiction. What is Christian Fiction? It's a fiction with a Christian theme. I am happy to say that I have found a niche in my writing because my genre is not yet widely spread in my country Zimbabwe and the continent of Africa," Chiwara said.  "I believe that even though some people will never pick up a Bible or enter a Church, they will be willing to read my book and receive the same godly message."

Chiwara hopes that her book will be translated in many languages one day so it can truly 'go to the ends of the earth' and reach those who may have never heard about her Lord Jesus-Christ. However, this is not the only project on Chiwara's mind. She is currently working on a week's teaching for an annual program for young people run by the South African arm of an international Christian organization. Starting this month of March, she will start her doctorate program at a South African University.   


"My Ph.D. will fall under health studies while focusing on women and information communication related to HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe." Chiwara said. "I would love to do some courses on writing in the future. You can look forward to read more Christian fiction books from me, but I am not sure when."

By writing and publishing her first book 'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope', Chiwara said one of her goals was to demonstrate that an ordinary person like her can become an author. There is no doubt that she has achieved her goal. The life story of Kui, the heroine of Chiwara's novel, will certainly inspire many. The novel 'Reflections of the heart: A story of hope' is now available on amazon