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Chatima, Dunduru launch investigative novel The Storm

EDUCATIONIST Agrippa Sora says substance abuse is a reality and there is need for a quick remedial action.

Speaking as the guest of honour at the launch of an investigative novel The Storm at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare over the weekend, Sora said he had first-hand experience on how drugs had ruined the careers of several of his students, who had shown great potential.

He said he believed talent was moulded and perfected overtime and in the process, grinding off past imperfections.

Sora described the authors of The Storm as a formidable combination with a rare talent which can be perfected into global literary stardom.

The Storm is a cinematic narrative that portrays the ups and downs in life and survival of the fittest that come as a consequence of lack of and failure to control corruption, substance abuse, social displacement, gender-based violence, sadism and correctional infrastructure as well as support for volunteers.

The authors Elliot Chatima and Rumbidzai Chenai Dunduru expose and call for an immediate stop to drug and substance abuse in a jocular manner punctuated by a rich usage of languages in both standard and colloquial forms.

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Dunduru, aka Rumbi Chen and Chatima explore the divide between the United States and Zimbabwe, which they attribute to sanctions.

They believe the divide is a tragedy.

“Two bitter rival nations, Zimbabwe and the US, find a reason to co-operate as the hunt for JBZ may provide critical leads to Martinez, who has been on the US’s most wanted list. As if that was not good enough, JBZ accidentally kidnaps the US ambassador’s wife and children, making a compelling case for co-operation. Sanctions and diplomatic hostilities  stand in the way and top diplomats have three hours to thaw the frosty relations, put a team together, before it is too late,” a synopsis to The Storm read.

Panellists comprising former Zimbabwe Film Festival board member John Stewart, music producer Clive “Mono” Mukundu and poet and prolific editor Chirikure Chirikure described The Storm as a landmark in the fight against drug and substance abuse, including the fight against corruption.

The book launch attendees concurred that the book helps in promoting a culture of reading.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Harare provincial manager William Ndinde said reading books helped the youth to stay away from drugs and substances.

“Good creative writing is birthed from good readership,” he said.

Co-author Chatima admitted that there is need to take quick action to combat illicit drug and substance abuse.

Rumbi Chen, who spoke from her Melbourne base in Australia, took the audience by surprise as she livestreamed her speech.

She expressed gratitude for the tremendous support she received from the audience and panellists.

She appreciated that The Storm had anchored and transformed her plans to convert the book to a motion picture.

“My intention was to shed light on these critical interrelated issues, sparking conversation and awareness, especially on the pertinent challenges of drug abuse and the repercussions they have at family and community levels. For instance, people like James and Rudo suffer at the hands of drug abuse. Addressing these problems openly can help to break the cycle of silence and encourage change,” Rumbi Chen said.

“Readers should understand the importance of resilience and the power of collective action against injustice. Recognising these issues is the first step towards making a positive impact in society. Yes, all these challenges are known, but what an individual will do is a differentiating factor. For instance, people benefited from JBZ’s generosity and he appeared as a saviour. Had they known he was the culprit, some would have turned a blind eye, while others called out the bad he was doing.”

As a message for the readers, Rumbi Chen said: “I hope the book inspires reflection and dialogue. Together, we can work towards more just and compassionate communities and the world at large, where these challenges are addressed head-on. Detective Mike has not only done his job, but he took it personally to stop this menace to the point of risking his loved one’s happiness. The effects are devastating. It’s up to us to do the small change we can or to sit and enable the system that’s crippling our nation.”

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