Her passion for storytelling is extraordinary, uncovering untold stories, speaking for the ordinary folk and addressing issues people would rather leave unspoken. Prudence Natsai Muganiwah-Zvavanjanja is a social commentator, author, columnist, editor, artist and repertoire manager and a woman on a mission. To tell the stories that are not told, the stories of the ordinary people. Highlighting issues that move people and bring about change, Prudence believes it is her duty to speak up for the voiceless. Here is the story of the storyteller…….
Growing up, my dad was friends with a lot of artists and they would come to our house. I remember one particular day when I was three years old, my father was taking a walk in the garden, with me on his shoulders and he was having a chat with Tobias Areketa and Andy Brown (we called them Uncle Tobias and Uncle Andy). They were having a talk about a Kwekwe show which was going to feature Tobias Areketa and Andy Brown. Looking back now I realise that that’s where my love for the arts stems from. Most of what I do now was inspired by my late father; his friendships with all these artists and the promotion of music that he did, even though it was not at a grand scale.
I would say I stumbled into journalism. I’m just a writer, I’m not a mainstream journalist. I did not study journalism. I’m just a creative person who loves writing. I can make a story from the most dire situation. I go out, look for stories and tell them my own way. That’s how I became an Editor for The Standard and a columnist for various publications.
It has been very pleasant. There are lots of stories out there, anywhere and everywhere. However, I still think that there are a lot of gaps that are yet to be filled, a lot of untold stories that need to be told. I still want to tell more stories. There is so much to be written but so little time. The experience has made me a passionate storyteller and has driven me even further in writing.
Without revealing too much, both books are centred on two very strong women faced with adversity in life. The main character in Letters From Beyond, Olivia, sends a very deep message through her actions. All I can is she does that from the other side. Then in After Ba Kevhi, Mai Kevhi is another strong woman who teaches about hope, renewed love, using your own judgement and learning from past mistakes.
I love being the voice to the voiceless. I love writing stories about the ordinary people, the unimportant stories that are actually important. I want to address the issues that no one wants to talk about that affect the ordinary individuals in the society. For me writing comes naturally, I don’t plan for it. So all I can say is keep watching this space.
We linked up when I did a story on him for The Standard around 2014.The article was a success and he was very happy, from there a friendship was born. It all happened at a time when he was complaining that his brand was not strong online and I offered to manage his brand, his image and PR and that’s how it all began….
There is nothing regular about my days, but the most typical thing is I’m working on one artist or the other’s brand, image or profile; or I’m working on my books, managing online sales… If I’m not doing all of that I’m in the kitchen baking; I love baking cakes. And of course, the usual day to day duties as a mom and wife.
The constant pursuit of happiness, love and laughter.
Never burn bridges and never say never.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga
Be yourself; follow your dreams, follow your passion, don’t follow society’s norms and rules. That which you like to do most with little or no effort, that which occurs most naturally to you; that is your talent. Follow what you think is best and the world will adjust.
Whatever it is that has you burning , let it out. Your voice counts. I believe that most of the issues that we face are a result of fear, culture or societal judgement and not being able to use our voices. So I encourage women to speak out.