Writing to raise awareness

By Pierre Potgieter


Pic By : Pierre Potgieter


Grant Goodwin and Ntendini Luvhengo are the winners of the English short story competition, which was held last term. The competition was organised by the Rhodes English Department with the topic being ‘starvation’. The competition was held to raise awareness of human rights abuse in Zimbabwe. The winners are both first year students and each won R250 in prize money.

Goodwin and Luvhengo agree that the topic is what influenced them to enter the competition. “Starvation has so many meanings, physically and emotionally and that you can write anything around it,” said Luvhengo. Goodwin’s story focuses on physical starvation, while Luvhengo’s focus was more on spiritual starvation. Goodwin, who is Zimbabwean, explains that he wanted to “empathise with the people in that type of hunger situation”.



Luvhengo’s story aims to touch the reader and “make them question themselves and ask themselves if they are happy within themselves.” Luvhengo saw the competition as a good way to communicate her ideas. Her argument is that although this story is aimed at many readers, it focuses specifically on leadership. Luvhengo says that her work expresses how “Mugabe is somehow suppressing his feelings,” and that he cannot possibly be neutral with all the international criticism. She added that no human being can run away from themselves.

Goodwin’s story concerns choices. “Zimbabwe doesn’t have any easy choices either,” said Goodwin. He also asks an important question: “How much attention does Zim need to get better? They [Zimbabweans] should not be forgotten,” he concluded.

Starvation


By Grant Goodwin

Sheltering beneath the torn remains of what had been the wing, the two men tried to shield their bodies from the blustering winds. Unheard over the gusts that threatened to knock them off the mountainside at last, their stomachs rumbled. The poor sandwiches they had been given halfway through their flight were a distant, mouth-watering memory now, and they wondered when they would be able to eat again. “I’m really hungry!” the darker one yelled over the gale. “Me too!” the other shouted back, his blonde hair whipped against his face as he turned to look at his only companion. “You don’t think…?”“No, we’ve gone over this. We can’t!”As he said it, the fair-haired man’s eyes crept across to the motionless form, half buried in dirty snow beyond the meager shelter offered by the charred wing. “It’s been days and days now! We have to eat something!” the other pleaded, his voice hoarse and cracked.

The blond man did not reply, but his eyes never left the corpse in front of him. Hunger pains shot through him as he stared at the dead body, no clear thoughts forming in his numb mind. “We wouldn’t eat everything. Just a little bit,” the darker man reasoned, his voice becoming smoother, an echo of the business presentations he used to make when he wore a suit every day. “We can’t,” the fair man stubbornly whispered, his words snatched up and thrown away by the wind.

Starvation
By Ntendeni Luvhengo

I have food on my table. Anything from hard, fried, oily pork to chicken, fish, beef, vegetables and boerewors. I live in a house with fifty rooms, an indoor pool and a large basketball

court. I own an estate on an exotic private Caribbean island, a crop farm in the naturally rich land of Venda in South Africa and shares with South Africa’s mining giant Anglo-Platinum. I am starving. My life is full of hunger. I am poor inside.

Like other dictators in Africa, I live a fabulous life and feed on money I never worked for. My children go to private schools and universities in London and each one of them owns a farm in Venda. An average man in my country will fight hunger, diseases and lack of freedom of speech until he dies but I am the hungriest one. I suffer more than that average man and I am dying. I live in extreme starvation. My soul is empty.

The number of men I have killed for expressing their thoughts against my government haunts me and follows me everyday. The echoes of television documentaries privately shot in my country, to show how many people are suffering because of me, are the reason why I don’t sleep. My soul is empty. My heart burns when I think of how God feels about what I do to poor people.


I am in a mental state of starvation and I think that I am going to starve until I die. Giving up to my starvation will mean losing all my riches and land which I don’t want to lose. No I don’t.

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