Beaven Tapureta Arts Correspondent
The book “Beyond Politics” (2018) by Charlene Vuta is admittedly nonfiction but like any other genuine nonfiction or research work, it has its individual imagination relevant to present day Zimbabwe. The title itself sets the tone of what exactly readers can expect to find in the book. An exciting topical context in which one can safely pin the book into is the political event late last year which saw the momentous political leadership shift in Zimbabwe. Simply, in some way, it was a climactic inquiry into the definition of politics. What is politics, in particular African politics as even in some countries in mother Africa have experienced events of the same nature?
Vuta says development defines politics. The sub-title, “A Proposal for Zimbabwean Development”, says it loud and clear.
The new Zimbabwean Government has raised high the flag of development, embracing this simple definition of politics in different ways and Vuta, a young female citizen, packs her input in words easy to comprehend.
After reading “Beyond Politics”, a book totally non-fiction and a different discipline, it was clear it wallows in the same pool of works normally handling what could be described as political subject matter.
In fiction, this kind of subject matter could be open or subtle. When you read, for instance, the title story of Farayi Mungoshi’s fiction anthology “Behind the Wall Everywhere”, it gracefully, creatively captures political issues like land redistribution and other pre- and post-independence issues. Is it early to say Farayi Mungoshi could now be an experimentalist of the political short story! We are also yet to read the stuff other new writers are describing as “the political novel” when they talk about their works in progress.
Vuta has a message for Zimbabwe. In her nonpartisan book, she clears a certain path through the dense jungle of a problematic economy. She does not write about power politics. She is loyal to the historical truth and the enthusiasm of her book is transmitted to the reader in a non-specialist language. The book title reflects a refusal to be pigeon-holed as one of those books that harangue about political party dogmas. Vuta, by using such a title, is running away or shunning the bad flavor which the word “politics” is mostly associated with all over the world.
Teamwork is generally the gist of the book, though she splits this theme into various notions for the reader to understand the meaning of development. In her third chapter, titled “Collective Responsibility” she urges oneness, coming together of the rural or urban population, sons and daughters in or outside the country, if Zimbabwe is to build a sustainable economy.
“The notion of collective responsibility is a concept that has for long eluded Zimbabwe as a country. Citizen participation has diminished in all sectors economic, social as well as political. This has even worsened due to the high rate of migration that has resultantly led to the diaspora people feeling a little left out from the concerns of their country of origin,” she writes.
Another solution the author proposes to Zimbabwe’s current challenges is the prioritisation of resources, that is, how to translate resources into opportunities. It is not true that although the country may need foreign aid because no man is an island, it also has its own potential within to build better lives for its people. But which resource deserves more attention than the other or needs to be linked with the other?
Vuta suggests a lot of answers but among them, she calls for an investment in research.
“Research inquiry and analysis will ensure adoption of solutions that has more conservation than consumption. This identification limits unsustainable and situational reactionary policies,” she writes.
“Beyond Politics”, with its ordinary viewpoint and vast resource of well-researched knowledge, is patriotic to the Zimbabwe’s story and one trusts that it finds wide readership in all sections of the politico-economic community.
Born in January 1995, Vuta grew up an orphan and her life experiences inspired her to write her debut book titled “A Lifetime Excuse” which she says opened the whole world for her. She went on to become a motivational speaker, junior parliamentarian, TV presenter, an arts group founder, among other achievements.