Franschoek –Zimbabwean Journalist and writer of the book In the Jaws of the Crocodile has been featured at this year’s edition of the prestigious Franschoek Literary Festival in Cape Town.
Speaking to a diverse audience in the Church Hall under the theme – Re-Imagining a Nation – Ray narrated how he wrote the book and the bureaucracy he faced in requesting an interview with Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on how he had escaped the country into Mozambique and finally South Africa.
Mnangagwa whom Ray described as cool, reserved, fearless and ruthless would (during the interview) deliberately release and withhold answers to the interview questions paused to him and gave one-word answers, almost throwing spanners into the author’s job.
In the Jaws of the Crocodile tells the gripping story of how Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe in fear for his life, and of his brief exile in South Africa, where he declared to Mugabe that he would return ‘in a matter of weeks’ to take control of the levers of power.
Ndlovu articulated well the Zimbabwean ”Coup” as depicted in his book and blamed the local and international media for not calling a spade a spade.
The Zimbabwean opposition fell into political trance celebrating blindly the dramatic fall of Mugabe in a ‘clever coup’ which consequently piled it into the jaws of the crocodile.
Zimbabwe’s current situation of worsening human rights abuses, run-away inflation , energy crisis, alleged judicial politicization, corruption and clamp down on the opposition confirms what many have described as a new dispensation draped in old costumes.
Now that Ray has written one of the most controversial books in Zimbabwe’s literary landscape, he feels that he may now be on the radar of the country’s feared security agents.
Ray was not the only writer raising the Zimbabwean flag high in Franschoek during the festival.
Former finance Minister Tendai Biti, Rutendo Tavengerwei and Sue Nyathi had their works featured as well.
Rutendo Tavengerwei is a Zimbabwean born writer, who has lived in several countries till now and is an international trade lawyer by profession. Rutendo’s debut novel Hope is Our Only Wing was published in May 2018 by Bonnier Zaffre in the UK where it was nominated for the Carnegie Medal. It was also published in Brazil where it was a bestseller, and will also be released in the U.S in September 2019. Currently, Rutendo is awaiting the launch of her second novel, The Colours That Blind which will be released in the UK in June 2019.
Sue Nyathi was born and raised in Bulawayo and resides in Johannesburg. An investment analyst by day and a storyteller to her son at night, she writes to escape the reality of financial markets and economic shop talk. She made her screenwriting debut on the award-winning e.tv series Matatiele. Her first novel, The Polygamist, was published in 2012 and readers can look forward to its film adaptation in 2019.
Tendai Laxton Biti was Zimbabwe’s Minister of Finance from 2009 to 2013 and was named the 2011 Best Finance Minister in Africa by Euromoney Emerging Markets for stabilising and setting the Zimbabwean economy on a growth trajectory. Biti has published his book Democracy Works.