The Herald (Harare)

31 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Know Your Author - Kandawasvika

Patrick Kandawasvika, a Zimbabwean teacher based in South African authored the book Danger Cord. He was born on March 18, 1969 in Kandawasvika Village near Mount St Marys in Hwedza.

Kandawasvika attended St Pauls Sango Primary School in the same town from Grade One to Four.

This was during the war and Kandawasvika and many children had to go to school knowing that they would stop anytime, should the war intensify.

As if fate had it, Kandawasvika had to stop going to school for one year because the war had intensified.

He left for Bulawayo where he attended Umgusa Primary School from Grade 4 and Grade 5 before going back to St Pauls Sango in Hwedza for Grade Six and Seven.

After completing primary school education he went back to Bulawayo for secondary education. He attended Gifford High School from Form One up to Four.

When he passed his Ordinary Level Examinations, Kandawasvika went to Hillside Teachers College for a teacher training course. From then onwards he has taught in many schools in Mashonaland East.

Among the schools that he taught are, Chiutsi Secondary School, Chidara Secondary School and Chimoio Secondary School all in Mutoko. Kandawasvika also taught in schools like Marondera Secondary, Dombi Secondary School both in Marondera before going to St Vincent Secondary School in Ruwa.

At the moment Kandawasvika is teaching at Caiphus Nyoka Secondary School in Dayton town in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

Narrating how he became the person he is, Kandawasvika said his Father Muchabaiwa Kandawasvika used to own shops at Dorowa Growth Point in Manicaland Province and his mother Eva Kandawasvika was a full time house wife.

Kandawasvika always had a keen interest in literature from a very young age and he said it is one of the reasons why he started writing.

"I have always loved writing and back in high school my teachers used to read out my essays in front of the class and it motivated me to research more about literature.

"Having been born during the war and spent part of my childhood in such a situation I could not participate during the war because I was very young. Soon after independence we were faced by the war against HIV and Aids and I told myself that I will help in this fight," said Kandawasvika.

He added that he was affected by the HIV and Aids Pandemic in a very big way that he decided to write a book that enlightens the general public on the evils of misbehaviour.

He, however, said he wrote the book in a lighter manner because he wanted it to be readable and enjoyable.

"I did not want to scare people by sounding like I was dictating to the readers on what to and what not to do, but I wanted people to know that HIV is not a death sentence that is why I wrote in such a way that entertains the reader," he said.

In the book Danger Card, an Aids patient on a hospital bed decides to break the silence and tell his story. His audience who included health workers and other patients are surprised by his mischievous teenage adventure. He tells of his experiences in the Rhodesian war of liberation to his casual escapades with commercial sex workers in the new independent Zimbabwe. He blames himself for his plight and attributes his fate to the wrong choices he made in life.

The stories he told gave rise to heated debate on commercial sex work, symptoms of HIV, testing, prevention and treatment options for STIs especially HIV and Aids. The tension and suspense mount as some members of his audience realise they also took part directly or indirectly in those adventures.

The story ends after the inevitable deaths of most of the patients, but closes on a happier note as two of the characters who were not promiscuous live to marry.

Kandawasvika provides a rare glimpse into the underworld of commercial sex work with such candor, humour and suspense seldom seen in matters so intimate. The story is told in an entertaining and informative way capturing the essential information on HIV and Aids.

"The book encourages those infected or affected by the virus to open up and help those who might be at risk of contracting the virus. The main character Stephen Gotora managed to open up about his status in the midst of stigma and in the process helped others to clean up their acts.

The book also exposes some myths and falsehoods and it skillfully brings out the difference between facts and fiction. Due to the story's moral theme, it can be a useful source of advice and guidance to teenagers and young adults without being dictatorial in the process.

Currently the Danger Card is being read at Caiphus Nyoka Secondary school in South Africa where he is based.

Published by raider publishing international in May 2012, the story is a realistic fiction and the characters are believable that in some cases might resemble people who live or might have lived, but Kandawasvika says that all his characters do not have any existence outside the author's mind.

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