Ishmael Penyai relives Cyclone Idai pain in new publication

By Kenias Chivuzhe

A new book capturing the pain induced by Cyclone Idai in 2019, has been published.

The book contains short stories and poems capturing the physical and emotional pain that affected communities went through during the disaster.

“The mother of all disasters” – that is how the 2019 Cyclone Idai catastrophe is described in a book titled: ‘Cyclone Idai: The Poets Behind Idai,’ which was published by a Chipinge-based Penyai.

“This book is a combination of stories and poems on Cylone Idai. We have written this book to celebrate the end of Cyclone Idai, which caused a lot of havoc to the lives of the people and the environment. Some of the contributing authors include local teachers, local residents and others that visited Chimanimani including Pathisa Nyathi, a prominent Zimbabwean historian, veteran journalist Tapfuma Machakaire and Pamenus  Tuso among others,” Penyai said.

Apart from death and destruction of infrastructure, Cyclone Idai also left emotional scars.

He noted: “We have a poem by Violet Mahoso on the impact of cyclone on the girl child and that effectively explains what they went through. The issue of severe shortages of herbal medicines that were washed away by Cyclone Idai disadvantaged the local communities a lot as it relies of these medicines for survival. It is these largely untold stories that are being told from the eyes of local communities and authors.”

Penyai has also published two books, one titled Yarira Yekanyi and celebrates the achievements of the Ndau community in the arts sector.

The other, Dzangu Dzekwa Muthakhati, explores issues of witchcraft and mysterious goings-on in the community.