IMAGINE if we were to live in a unique world where The Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of Zimbabwe were to come together under one social and political system.
Quite similar to the popular argument by some sections of our society that this beautiful kingdom should be merged into South Africa, the Zimbabwe scenario would most certainly cause a lot of heated debate. Some would simply dismiss it as total madness while others would see it as an impossible dream.
However if you were to read a newly-published collection of short stories titled, Campus Voices Echoed: Lesotho and Zimbabwe Imagined, you would most certainly imagine that both Lesotho and Zimbabwe were actually one kingdom.
This anthology of short stories, which was published in July, is a collaborative work of literature from both the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and Zimbabwe’s Midlands State University (MSU).
In a unique spirit of corporation, students from the two universities have collectively written and published short stories which explore the diverse cultures between the two southern African states. Although Lesotho and Zimbabwe are more than a thousand kilometres apart, the stories in this anthology bring the two nations so close to each other it becomes almost impossible to separate them.
Campus Voices Echoed: Lesotho and Zimbabwe Imagined, uses storytelling to paint images of the common cultures and life experiences of the peoples of both Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
The stories in this collection draw from the common colonial history of the two countries. The diverse cultures and life experiences of the peoples of Lesotho and Zimbabwe as a so beautifully interwoven piece of writing that the reader is left with colourful images of both Maseru and Harare flooded with diverse people united in their humanity and peaceful existence.
According to one of the short story authors, Tsepiso Mothibi, Campus Voices Echoed: Lesotho and Zimbabwe Imagined is a yardstick of gauging contemporary writing trends in Lesotho, Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.
Mothibi told the Sunday Express that this unique form of writing between students in Lesotho and Zimbabwe is a special innovation that marks a new era in literary circles between the two countries.
“It is with a high sense of anticipation that one hopes this new venture will be nurtured so that it continues to exist well into the future,” Mothibi said.
In an interview with the Sunday Express, a senior lecturer in the Department of English at NUL, Piniel Shava, said the short story anthology is an outcome of the creative writing courses offered both at NUL and MSU.
“The stories in this collection were written by students doing the creative writing course in the two universities,” said Professor Shava.
“We are proud that we have been able to produce this unique piece of writing from the two universities.”
Meanwhile, the anthology editor Vongai Nyawo said that it was fun working with young writers from the two universities.
“It was an enriching experience dealing with the young and vibrant authors from Lesotho and Zimbabwe,” Dr Nyawo said, adding that the short stories were specially selected to demonstrate the similarities between the cultures of both Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Some of the entertaining stories in this collection include Animal or Bank Account and The Priest Encounters which narrates the dilemmas of priesthood and matters of the heart. Another interesting story Let him suffer too which deals with the issues of forgiveness and reconciliation within a marriage.
In its nature, Campus Voices Echoed: Lesotho and Zimbabwe Imagined makes a beautiful reading which makes us aware that Lesotho and Zimbabwe are only separated by man-made boundaries but in fact the two nations have so much in common that the two cannot be divorced.