- Category: PA 2006
JULIUS CHINGONO was born on a commercial farm near Harare, Zimbabwe in 1946, and has worked for most of his life in Zimbabwean mines as a rock-blaster.
He began writing poetry in the late sixties and has had his poetry published in several anthologies of Shona poetry including Nhetembo, Mabvumira eNhetembo andGwenyambirabetween 1968 and 1980. Chingono’s only novel, Chipo Changu was published in 1978; an award-winning play, Ruvimbo, was published in 1980; and a collection of poetry and short stories, Not Another Day in 2006. In an interview with Zimbabwean publisher Irene Staunton he comments: “I just want to be myself when I write. I don’t want to jump onto the bandwagon. I want my writing to come from myself. Maybe it is a very small voice, but it is going to be heard somehow.”
Julius’ poetry in English has also been published in several South African and Zimbabwean anthologies. His collections include Flags of Love (Mireza yerudo) published by Gazebo books in 1983 and Flag of Rags published by Quartz Press in 1996. In his introduction to Flags of Rags, the late Lionel Abrahams wrote: “Why Julius Chingono has not long ago become famous in his own country is a circumstance I do not understand.He is a poet of Zimbabwe, saturated with strong feelings about that society and its predicaments, but whose distinctive voice I, a stranger, find persuasive and powerfully moving.”
Zimbabwean writer Charles Mungoshi: “I recognised [Julius’] sincerity and his feeling for humanity. I also understood that the simplicity of his language disguises the complexity, the irony, the double entendre that lies beneath the surface. You rarely read one of his poems the same way twice. “ In 2004, Julius was a participant at the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.