Local female author Audrey Chirenje has produced seven books to date and the desire to motivate, enlighten and change the world through the pen has been the motivation behind her works.
She is the author of Life Will Humble You, Chances, Appearances or Not, Guilt, The Mhofus, Vana Mhofu and Ompofu.
The Chihota-born author describes herself as an ambitious, introvert realist writer who is still on a journey of learning, unlearning and relearning.
She finds joy in unpacking topical issues in society that include dating, rape, cultural norms like appeasing the dead, prostitution and small house trends, among others.
“My dad was an avid reader and he made sure we had lots of books from a young age. English was the subject I aced at school and I would get a prize. So, I would write stories that would top essays,” she recalled.
Fast forward to her adulthood, Chirenje went through a humbling experience.
“I was venting with pen and paper in my journal trying to make sense of it all. Combined with the lack of a television set for almost a year, I started reading a lot and I saw a gap in the literature that I was reading. That is when I came up with my own dose of writing and my objective is to entertain, enlighten, inspire and motivate,” she explained.
Through writing, Chirenje has learnt that life has no formula, adding that characters in books had taught her that things are not always as they appear.
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“People have their different paths and they will go through different things for a season, a reason and a purpose. I write in the first narrative trying to imagine the thought processes that people experience before they make a decision,” she noted.
“There is always more if you dig deep enough. I have learnt to judge less because of that and to cut people some slack. People are fighting battles you know nothing of, be kind always.” While writing books can be demanding, Chirenje manages to balance her work and writing.
“We have a movie night at home and we just binge and unwind. We also try to go out at least once a month and sample different places and cuisine. I also hang out with my mum, sisters, brothers and also the extended family wherever I can. Family is everything to me, that safe place where you can be you,” she said.
Chirenje believes people should not lose the essence of who they are trying to be who they think they should be or who they are told they should be. “It used to be hypocrisy and double standards, however, I have accepted that society also plays a role in perpetuating this. People have so much pressure trying to act perfect because of the dictates set by society. We just have to forgive a lot as a society and let people walk their own journeys,” she told NewsDay Life & Style.
Chirenje believes that through her works, she can help change the reading culture of Zimbabweans step-by-step and book-by-book.
“We can achieve it if we all put our minds to it. I would love to go to the rural areas and expose the children there to reading for fun and entertainment. I believe this can inspire them that they can be authors and earn a living out of it,” she noted.
“I would love to see more literature for Zimbabweans by Zimbabweans all over the world infiltrating other countries and cultures. We all have a story inside us which we can minister to someone else.”
Her word of advice to aspiring authors is that they should start writing today and explore their style and content. She said they should remain true to their inner voice and not try to copy others as people are wonderfully and uniquely made for a reason.
She added: “In everything people do, they have to learn to live and to accept that our steps are ordered by our Maker. Faith without action is dead so you need to do your part as well in this journey called life.”
- Follow Agatha on Twitter @AgathaChuma