Cont Mhlanga captures Mthwakazi history in new book

Renowned playwright and artist, Continueloving Mhlanga will this weekend launch his historical narrative book Izimpi ZikaMthwakazi- Mthwakazi Wars 1890 – 1983.

The book, written in what Mhlanga describes as “isiNdenglish” is published in Canada by Thabo Siziba, a cultural advocate.

Mhlanga said his cultural book was a project under the Imbali Yethu History Series and urged people to attend the official launch to be held at the Bulawayo City Hall Gardens on December 14, 2019.

“This will be a unique book launch party that Bulawayo has never seen before, starting at 11am to 6pm. We hope cultural identity lovers from across Bulawayo will come and be part of this experience,” he noted.

Mhlanga narrated how the Canadian based publisher phoned him seeking his opinion if it was safe to embark on a gruelling walk from Bulawayo to Harare and back to hand over a petition on promoting Mthwakazi cultural rights and diversity to President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“He sounded very worried about his security and safety around his project. But I told him it’s very safe and that he must be sure it was him paying for it, not some donor somewhere manipulating him for being African.

“Zimbabwe now has among the best, a people’s Constitution in the world, all you have to do is just exercise it as a citizen. If you want to walk 450km to give the President a love letter in his office, just do it. This is a free country. No one will stop you or harm you for doing that kind of thing,” said the playwright who founded Amakhosi Theatre.

Mhlanga adds that he even assured Siziba he would accompany him on his walk and be on standby should anything happen.

“This is how I met Thabo Siziba the walking publisher from Canada. It was after his walk that Siziba learned of the public need of Zimbabweans to learn some key missing historical narratives that would bring better improved understanding of ethnic relationships in the cultural diverse country.

“At the time Siziba was a Social Media Publisher owning a platform #TheWalk. He added me as one of his audiences. From time to time I made contributions to his platforms,” he said.

Mhlanga noted that all of a sudden and unplanned, audiences in the social media groups started compiling his historical narrative contributions to his platforms into PDF documents and reposting them to other groups.

“This brought in complications of copyright to my intellectual works and I was going to stop contributing to the platforms if there was no ways copyright would be managed.  This is when Siziba proposed to also publish my contributions in book form with proper ISBN responsibilities.

“Now that I had come to know Siziba personally and his passion for Mthwakazi culture, heritage, history and identity I trusted him with my history narratives and creative expression. I gave him the rights to publish the little book targeted at young readers searching for cultural identity; Mthwakazi Wars in my style of course, with a lot of stringent conditions that were meant to look after my creativity, style and my fans,” he said.

Mhlanga entices people to attend the launch saying: “Did you know that Bulawayo had street lights before London and they still work today? Come to the event and let me show them to you? Do you know why George Silundika Street does not pass through the City Hall? Come to the event and let me tell you why?

“Do you know why the Izinduna Indaba Portrait at the City Hall under the Clock was banned and closed to the public until recently? Come to the event let me share this reason with you? Do you know why the fountain at the City Hall Gardens was donated and by whom? Come to the event and hear it for yourself. It may turn out that the land mark that you see everyday the City Hall, has so much that you are not aware about for you and for generations to come.”

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