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'Mine is to tell the story' – Zakes Mda on his latest novel, Wayfarers’ Hymns – News24

Zakes Mda. (Photo: Gallo Images / Tammy Booyzen)

Zakes Mda. (Photo: Gallo Images / Tammy Booyzen)

Zakes Mda has become one of South Africa’s most beloved writers. After decades as a successful playwright, he launched his career as a novelist with Ways of Dying in 1995.

His other works include The Heart of Redness, Black Diamond, Cion, She Plays with the Darkness and the memoir Sometimes There Is a Void. Mda has won many awards, including the Sunday Times Fiction prize (twice), the M-Net Book Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

His latest novel, Wayfarers’ Hymns (Penguin), focuses on famo music, born in the drinking dens of migrant mineworkers in Lesotho, tracing the story of Kheleke, a wandering musician, and his sister Moliehi. Toloki, the professional mourner from Ways of Dying, reappears in this book, which also dals with the famo gangs and the battle for control of the illegal mines.

Here he answers some questions about his work.

How would you describe your writing style?

Like most writers I have many writing styles, depending on the form and content of what I am writing. The genre also counts. However, I do not describe my writing style. I leave that to the readers, critics, and scholars. Mine is to tell the story, theirs is to analyse and critique it, which will include discussion of style.

What would your day-to-day writing routine look like?

I don’t have a routine. I do what comes naturally each day. I wake up one morning and there is a song in my heart, I write a song. Or I wake up and feel like painting a picture, I do so. Same applies to writing a novel or a play or a film script. It just depends what I feel on any given day.

You were a student at Ohio University in the United States, and then returned as a professor of creative writing; a full circle. What are some of your fondest memories of being a South African student in America? How has your experience changed being a professor on the other side of the lecture?

The experience of being a student was much more pleasant than that of being a professor. For one thing, when I was a student at Ohio University, there were many other students from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and other African countries. We were a community and had lots of fun, getting drunk and being wild. As a professor, of course, it is a different world. One has to behave in a decent manner and have some modicum of dignity.

Wayfarers’ Hymns by Zakes Mda

Wayfarers’ Hymns by Zakes Mda.

Covid-19 presented a golden time for many authors to sit down and write. Was it like that for you?

Yes, Covid-19 presented me with many opportunities, even though it destroyed others. At least two movies I was involved in and were scheduled to be shot in 2020 had to be cancelled, or, hopefully, postponed. Production companies that had optioned my novel The Zulus of New York both for TV series and musical stage play also cancelled. My overseas tours were cancelled as well. So, I lost a lot of livelihood. But Covid-19 presented other opportunities. For instances during that lockdown period I could not travel. I therefore painted a lot, composed a lot of music and wrote a lot of fiction. I completed two books; namely a novel titled Wayfarers’ Hymns, and a historical fiction book for young adults titled Arola: A Journey into 10 Ancient African Civilizations. I also completed a libretto titled King Mamani, which I am currently negotiating to have produced in Cape Town.

How and what do you think we are going to be reading post-pandemic?

There’ll always be stories to tell and to read. I hope not all of them are about the pandemic. 

This interview is taken from Season’s Readings, the Exclusive Books list of the bookseller’s recommendations for the holidays. Season’s Readings is available at branches of Exclusive Books, or can be seen online. Books on this list offer double points for Fanatics Members if bought between now and 31 December.

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Gujarat's first Omicron case detected in Jamnagar – Sify News

Gandhinagar, Dec 4 (IANS) Gujarat on Saturday registered first Omicron case after a Zimbabwe resident, who arrived in Jamnagar, was found infected with Covid-19’s new mutant.

The Nodal officer for Corona, GG Hospital, Jamnagar, Dr S. Chatterjee told IANS: “Samples of the 72-year-old Zimbabwe resident sent to Biotechnological Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad tested positive for Omicron. The patient is in isolation since his admission. We had traced all his close contacts, screened them and they tested negative. But we will conduct the test of all his contacts once again.”

As he had returned from Zimbabwe, an African nation and one of the “at risk” countries identified by the authorities, his samples were sent to Ahmedabad for genome sequencing, which tested positive.

The man is believed to be a native of Jamnagar who has been living in Zimbabwe for many years.

He arrived on November 28 to meet his father-in-law. After he got a fever, his doctor advised him to get an RT-PCR test done. As mandated, the private laboratory informed the health authorities that his report was Covid-19 positive.

–IANS

amc/svn/skp/

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Gujarat’s first Omicron case detected in Jamnagar – SocialNews.XYZ

Gujarat's first Omicron case detected in Jamnagar

Gandhinagar, Dec 4 (SocialNews.XYZ) Gujarat on Saturday registered first Omicron case after a Zimbabwe resident, who arrived in Jamnagar, was found infected with Covid-19’s new mutant.

The Nodal officer for Corona, GG Hospital, Jamnagar, Dr S. Chatterjee told IANS: “Samples of the 72-year-old Zimbabwe resident sent to Biotechnological Research Laboratory in Ahmedabad tested positive for Omicron. The patient is in isolation since his admission. We had traced all his close contacts, screened them and they tested negative. But we will conduct the test of all his contacts once again.”


As he had returned from Zimbabwe, an African nation and one of the “at risk” countries identified by the authorities, his samples were sent to Ahmedabad for genome sequencing, which tested positive.

The man is believed to be a native of Jamnagar who has been living in Zimbabwe for many years.

He arrived on November 28 to meet his father-in-law. After he got a fever, his doctor advised him to get an RT-PCR test done. As mandated, the private laboratory informed the health authorities that his report was Covid-19 positive.

Source: IANS

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About Gopi

Gopi Adusumilli is a Programmer. He is the editor of SocialNews.XYZ and President of AGK Fire Inc.

He enjoys designing websites, developing mobile applications and publishing news articles on current events from various authenticated news sources.

When it comes to writing he likes to write about current world politics and Indian Movies. His future plans include developing SocialNews.XYZ into a News website that has no bias or judgment towards any.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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Zimbabwe to start administering booster doses as Omicron variant surfaces – Sify News

Harare, Dec 4 (IANS) Zimbabwe will start administering Covid-19 booster shots to frontline workers, people with chronic diseases, and the elderly with immediate effect, a senior Ministry of Health and Child Care official said on Friday.

The announcement came as the country on Thursday confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant that was detected in neighbouring South Africa last week, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Booster doses for frontline workers, those with chronic diseases and the elderly to commence with immediate effect,” Robert Mudyiradima, the acting secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, said in a statement.

Zimbabwean Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga on Thursday confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant in the country.

Daily cases have begun to rise sharply over the past few days from 40 on Sunday to 1,042 on Thursday.

The country says it has acquired enough Covid-19 vaccines, mainly Chinese-made, to inoculate 60 per cent of the population to achieve herd immunity.

As of Thursday, 3,829,636 people had received their first dose and 2,851,625 their second dose.

Zimbabwe’s cumulative cases stand at 136,379 with 4,707 deaths.

–IANS

int/sks/bg

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