Monday, April 22, 2024
HomenewsClosure of Zimbabwe's Popular Weaver Press

Closure of Zimbabwe’s Popular Weaver Press

Weaver Press ZimbabweWeaver Press Zimbabwe

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Established by Zimbabwean couple Irene Staunton and Murray McCartney, the country’s popular publisher – Weaver Press – announced its closure on its 25th anniversary last December. The closure has been attributed to various factors, including piracy, self-publishing, lack of funding, and social media.

Weaver Press is based in Emerald Hills and has published a diverse range of literature, including novels, history, memoirs, poetry, short stories, anthropology, and environmental studies. The publisher has played a noteworthy role in Zimbabwean literature, helping many authors to become established. It has released works of around 80 fiction writers, including Zimbabwean American actress Danai Gurira, Yvonne Vera, Emmanuel Sigauke, Chenjerai Hove and Gugu Ndlovu.

Yvonne Vera’s The Stone Virgins, which was published in 2002, is one of the famous works by Weaver Press in their early days. The book focuses on Zimbabwe’s transition from colonial rule to independence and the brutal civil war dictated by Robert Mugabe. The book won the Macmillan Prize for African Adult Fiction.

Ignatius Mabasa, a poet and writer, says:

“Weaver Press was a serious publisher. I mean they did not just publish books. The books were of high quality. Thoroughly edited.”

Having survived Zimbabwe’s economic malaise due to high unemployment, hyperinflation, and poverty in the 2000s, Weaver Press cannot handle it anymore. says the editor, who has been serving the publishing industry for almost 40 years.

“One could argue that a small independent publisher has become something of an anomaly at a time when everyone who wants to write can self-publish, and social media plays such a significant role in what people value and how they spend their time.”

Weaver Press was one of the few remaining traditional publishers focusing on literature as other publishers, like College Press and Zimbabwe Publishing House, are mainly focusing on textbooks for schools.

Staunton characterizes piracy as one of the threats to the literature sector, coupled with younger generations relating more to watching than reading. She says:

“There is little or no government funding for libraries, and most schools do not encourage people to read with well-stocked libraries and free-reading periods. In other words, reading for pleasure or to stimulate one’s ideas and imagination is not encouraged in our young people.”

Navkiran Dhaliwal is a seasoned content writer with 10+ years of experience. When she’s not writing, she can be found cooking up a storm or spending time with her dog, Rain.

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