Petina Gappah honoured

THE Harare City Library last Friday honoured lawyer and award-winning author, Petina Gappah, by naming its children’s section the Petina Gappah Children’s Library following her sterling role in helping to raise funds for the refurbishment of the library.


Gappah received the honour at a colourful function held at the library’s main complex.

The author of The Book of Memory said although she was at first reluctant to accept the honour, she was encouraged to do so following a discussion she had with United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean actor, Chipo Chung, whose voice is used in the audio book.

“I was so touched and honoured, and it was lovely to be surrounded by so many friends old and new, and by my family,” Gappah wrote on her Facebook wall.

Her son, Kush, cut the ribbon during the official opening ceremony.

“I have to be honest and say that when Mr Dube (the librarian) reached out to me to suggest this, my initial instinct was to say no,” she said.

Gappah paid tribute to the people who helped in the fruition of her dream — Roger Stringer, Penny Stone and Richard Beattie — whom she described as “Library Titans”.

She expressed gratitude to several stakeholders who also donated books to the library and these included the late Spanish Ambassador to Zimbabwe Pilar Fuertes Farragut and former British ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert who held fundraisers for the project.

Gappah also cited Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay who donated books to the project.

In her speech at the ceremony, Gappah pledged to work towards making the children’s section a place to be for the young.

She appealed to National Arts Council of Zimbabwe assistant director, Nicholas Moyo, to engage the government to reconsider the duty imposed on imported books.

The library was established in 1902 as the Queen Victoria Memorial Library and Museum before it spread its wings to Greendale, Hatfield, Highlands, Mabelreign and Mount Pleasant.

It then went into decline due to lack of investment and suffering the effects of the economic downturn, jolting Gappah into action in 2011. – NewsDay

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