By Joyce Mukucha
Simangaliso Chirisa aka ‘Simah’, a Zimbabwean-born novelist, is an inspirational example of a young creative woman who shows that when you are naturally gifted in something and you combine that with faith in God, commitment, perseverance, and relentless drive, you will ultimately succeed.
It was never her dream to see herself pursuing a career in writing but she ended up becoming a representation of the woman who is trying to make something out of nothing.
The young writer feels comfortable with being an optimistic, persistent, and dedicated leader in everything she embarks on.
Asked about her inspiration, Simangaliso highlighted that primarily, it started as a distraction so that she could turn her mind off from the pressures and stresses of life but soon developed into a pleasurable pastime.
“About my inspiration, that’s another story. I never knew I’m passionate about writing until July 2018. I slipped at home and ended up breaking the upper tendon of my left leg. So my surgery was done on the 9th of August and I spent three days at Parirenyatwa Hospital. A lot happened during that short period of time and left me emotionally drained.
“I was depressed and really needed something to keep myself busy. That is when the idea of venturing into writing came into my mind and I wrote my first short novel with 9 chapters, in 4 days. So in short, pain inspired me. I became a creative passionate writer, a novelist actually, and an adventurous lady.
“Let me say, I love doing different things. If you ask me to sing, I can, if you request for a dance, I can as well, designing anything that comes into my mind,” she said.
Another factor that also made Simangaliso become a writer is her painful life experience of being raised by a single mother which somewhere, somehow affected her well-being as the only child who witnessed marriage failure at a tender age.
Through writing, she has chosen to no longer be apologetic for her femaleness, childhood, and her femininity. She wanted to be respected in all of her femaleness because she feels she deserves to be.
PAINFUL DECEPTION is her first novel to be published which came out earlier last year. Her book is based on a real-life story that intends to make noise about abusive relationships and marriages. Marriages are failing to bloom because of various reasons causing children to suffer the consequences.
The main thrust of the story is aimed at giving advice on what can be done to ensure that couples manage to pull through thick and thin.
In her novel, she raises alarm on the consequences of anger, resentment, jealousy, and negativity in as much as the life of soulmates and couples is concerned. She has many more books that are yet to be released.
“It was hard to find me and my motivation among episodes of stress, anxiety, and depression. But I tried to start by writing about what I was going through. I didn’t worry about what it is that I was writing. I just expressed my emotions on a page and it helped me to make sense of some of the dark emotions that I was feeling.”
In as much as the young and energetic young lady’s goal is concerned, Simangaliso is aspiring to become an inspiration to many people in any way possible.
Responding to how the Zimbabwean society has influenced her career, Miss Chirisa said that society was negatively impacting her life especially when it comes to how African people perceive single parents as she indicated that it sometimes destroys one’s confidence.
Explaining the biggest related challenge when it comes to the novel-writing industry and how she overcomes it, Simangaliso said, “Well the only challenge that I can talk about is when someone steals your storyline and writes the same story with a different title or names. It used to pin me down but not anymore. Now I’m getting more inspiration from the readers’ reviews and I’m able to write less predictable stories.”
She indicated that she might not be able to see and meet up with everyone who needs help but strongly believes that through writing, many lives can be touched by her work.
Books, she explained, can be very powerful when they resonate strongly with their readers.
“Often, it can be felt that the very stories that we’re reading were in fact written just for us. This is because the writer who penned the story often understands deeply the highs and lows of life – what it’s like to fail and succeed and grow. I deeply understand some universal truths about what it’s like to be human,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of other young creatives, Simangaliso underscored that fear was causing many talents to remain invisible.
“Many are afraid, they think they’re not good enough to show themselves out there.”
It is important for upcoming artists, she said, to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help whenever it is needed.
The passionate writer also said artists and creatives of Zimbabwe can contribute to building of the economy.
“I think the main way to boost our economy through art is by supporting each other, obviously I mean becoming enemies of piracy and corruption.”
She said there was need for the Government of Zimbabwe to become more supportive towards the artists and creatives scattered around the country through giving them an open and free platform to showcase their talents.
Extending advice to upcoming artists, Simangaliso stressed that it was of paramount importance for artists to believe that they are talented with no one telling them otherwise. She said the best to excel is to give the industry the best shot and stay focused and everything else will fall into place.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Don’t let fear stop you from achieving your goals. Write that story that is in your mind down, share it, tell them that story, sing that song. Procrastination has a strong relationship with regrets.”
Asked about her favorite writer, Simangaliso said it was herself as she found an opportunity to realise that she can express her innermost thoughts through art.
Besides concentrating on writing novels, the talented young lady is working on writing what motivates and empowers young girls and women to stand up and let their voices be heard.
Trying to have a deep insight on how COVID-19 affected her career, Simangaliso pointed out that the pandemic did not really hinder her work but it actually helped her to figure out what she really wants to do.
Pertaining 2021 plans, Simangaliso has got a book she is preparing to publish and a plethora of programmes to work on.
Simangaliso was born on the 22nd of July in 1998 at Harare Hospital and grew up in Highfield. She attended Kuwangira Primary and went on to Glen Norah High 1 before she proceeded to Success Tutorial College. Currently, she is staying in Domboshava.
Of late, she wrote 22 novels with Painful Deception being her best piece which has been liked by many.
Simangaliso’s favourite piece is ‘ A Good Woman’ written by Danielle Steel. Her role model is her mother as she explained that she has always been there to share ideas and listen to her.
“When I failed to do something, my mother was always there to guide me and give me advice. She has always supported me in all my choices. She tried to make me strong as a young lady with an independent mind. I look up to her in hopes that someday I will make her proud.”