“MANY people talk about writing a book, but Tsungi has done it! In her first effort, Tsungi tells a story, and what a story it is! It is a story of hope and redemption in the midst of pain — and which one of us has

not had experience with the pains of life,” said author John Stanko, the president of Purpose Quest International from the USA.

The story of Chiwara is that of pure dedication, hard work and team-work which has seen the Harare based author publishing her maiden offering titled Reflections of the Heart.

The book is a touching story of a young woman’s journey through life. From the struggles of a dysfunctional family to the challenges faced by many women.

In an interview with Sunday Leisure, Chiwara described the purpose of her book as being to encourage hurting souls.

“I would love people to be hopeful in life no matter where they are currently at, knowing that things will get better, that God will make a way. I would like those who don’t know the Lord to consider Him,” she noted.

Many female writers have emerged in Zimbabwe and have written books that have been a source of encouragement and voicing the plight of women in the country.

“Most books on encouragement tend to be ‘teaching’ ones. But mine is a fiction novel. That makes it more unusual, more exciting and engaging. It’s a story that interweaves principles and encouragement in ways that people can relate to and better receive. On the spiritual side it includes what I call creative evangelism, appealing also to those who are not inclined to traditional evangelism. The gospel in my book comes alive and is more convincing as it is creatively presented in a tangible manner. Reviews on my website reveal this has been achieved,” she related.

Having started writing in September 2010, Chiwara had her first draft in March 2012. She worked with Tari Sharon Nyahoda (South Africa), Wilma Rutendo Bizabani and Gamu Chihambakwe (Zimbabwe) as her proof-readers.

Chiwara says penning the book that will change people’s lives has also changed her.
“I have become a person who thinks a lot about what she says, writes and does because as a writer and now a published author I have a degree of influence and play a part in shaping the mindsets of people around me - that’s a huge responsibility not to be taken lightly. I have become more relational because of a bit of research I did for the book, the different people I had to engage to make the book happen (couldn’t have done it on my own) and even now am having to relate to readers - I get emails and some really want to explain in detail how exactly the book touched them,” she revealed.

Having four kids, a husband and a full-time job and pursuing a Master’s degree did not make it easy for Chiwara to finish her book, but their support was worthwhile. Many other challenges stood in her way.

“Finding time to write with so much family responsibilities was something else! I have four kids, a husband, a full-time job, and I was also doing my Master’s at some stage so obviously you would want to know where I found the time - usually lunch-times (people often wondered, I’m sure, why I usually disappeared and didn’t hang around to chat!), evenings and weekends. But also in pursuit of your dream you usually have to sacrifice something, and for me one of those things was sleep, from time to time - I had to sleep very late or wake up very early and therefore have much less sleep than I would have wanted to or than was comfortable.

“Secondly when I did have writer’s block I would just literally do something else and pray for inspiration, and God never disappointed - something would eventually drop in my spirit and I would continue writing. Related to that is that right from the start I had to overcome the fear of having nothing to write or running out of things to write.

“Thirdly, I would have to say ‘being taken seriously’ was more a ‘perceived’ obstacle than anything else - when I talked about writing a book some people obviously thought it was a joke. I then decided to keep quiet about my project, only three or four very close people knew about it, incidentally the ones that kept encouraging me. I also just remain focused, visualised my finished book, visualised people’s lives being touched and that was the end of that obstacle. I basically gave myself milestones and kept moving forward in order to achieve what I had set out to do,” said Chiwara.

Tsungai Brenda Chiwara nee Mupawaenda or simply ‘Tsungi’ , the shorter version of ‘Tsungai’, as she prefers to be called has poured out her heart in her very first novel ‘Reflections of the heart – A story of Hope'. Her excellent work led her to be a 2014 NAMA nominee. 

2014 NAMA nominee Tsungi Chiwara (Photo: Chiwara)

How is your family’s background like?...read the complete interview at Women and Africa Interview

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