THIS morning we woke up to the disturbing news on the death of the doyen of literature, Charles Lovemore Mungoshi (1947-2019), who has been battling ill-health for nearly 10 years.

Charles died between 1 and 2am this morning.

Here was a man whose illustrious writing career, stretching from the early 1970s, had such a profound effect on my own writing career.

His novel, Waiting for the Rain has been prescribed reading for years in Zimbabwean schools. This novel was published in1975, the same year as his Shona novel Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva (How time passes). He received an International PEN award for both these books.

Mungoshi’s other publications include two collections of short stories, The Setting Sun and The Rolling World (1987), two collections of children’s stories, Stories from a Shona Childhood (1989) and _One Day Long Ago (1991) and a collection of poems, The Milkman Doesn’t Only Deliver Milk (1998). He had also written a short story collection  Walking Still and a novel, Branching Streams Flow in the Dark. He also has a short story in the anthology ‘Writing Still’ (ed. Irene Staunton, Weaver Press 2004).

A winner of two Commonwealth Writers awards and the PEN award, a NAMA Lifetime Achievement Award, among many others, Charles Mungoshi wrote eloquently in both Shona and English. Over the years, he has also released classics including Coming of the Dry Season, Kunyarara Hakusi Kutaura?, Ndiko Kupindana Kwamazuva, Inongova Njake Njake and Makunun’una Maodzamoyo.

In 2002, Mungoshi was awarded an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters), by the Univesity of Zimbabwe in recognition of his immense contribution to the development of literature in the country.

Mungoshi handled a broad range of literary genres and styles in a way that is very rarely surpassed by many in theThird World, according to one literary critic.

His literary profile was compact. He was a novelist, poet, short-story writer, playwright, film scriptwriter, actor, editor, translator, and literary consultant.

May his soul rest in eternal peace and may we continue to draw inspiration from the legacy he bequeathed to us.

Fare thee well, Charles