Interview with Andrew Masuku
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Generally, Amazon is the site that any published book can easily be found. I simply search by genre and that way, many book options come out, depending on the specific topic I would be looking for. The interests shown by other readers are what influence me to pick up a book, review the background of the reader and the blurb. I then pick up a few other similar topics, doing the same, before deciding on the one that intuitively appeals to me. The decision to buy would basically be influenced by the book's ability to answer the question that would be of interest to me.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. This was to do with my first book, "The Seed of All Evil vs. The Seed of True Love". The message intended to drive home the fact that all problems in our country were caused by pride. At that time there was a lot of finger-pointing by politicians, without taking responsibility on what was going on. I had discovered, through my studies that pride was generally the cause of all human problems. It is pride that prevents people from learning new ideas. It is pride that causes people to avoid responsibility. It is pride that leads people to think more about themselves than benefiting other people. Actually, the list cannot be exhausted, as negatively affecting the generality of the people. It was from this view-point that the cited book was written.
What happened to that first book?
The book was published by the University of Zimbabwe in year 2008, at a time of hyper-inflation. It was sold out in the same year, as I suppose people took advantage of the inflation. The book left me in serious debts, as the Zimbabwe dollars could not help recoup the costs incurred or achieve the necessary funding in following up with readers. I just hope that the current title: "Dimensions of a New Civilization" would somehow make good sales, enabling me to raise sufficient funds to reprint that previous book, as well. However, as I compare the previous book with the current, I have no doubt that the latest one is loaded with the information that should make positive impact in my country.
What makes you feel that your writings will be of benefit to the Zimbabwean people?
My writings are based on the actual experience, concerning the effects of bad politics. There is a lot of misinformation that, in my view, will not help in correcting what is not right. Most people think that by changing the political leadership things will improve. I disagree. The current politicians have successfully implanted a culture of self-centredness in the generality of the people. Our problems do not emanate from ZANU PF, necessarily. What I see in our President, Robert Mugabe, is a reflection of the calibre of the influential people who use the tag of having fought in the armed struggle. But for their own selfish ends. The younger generation may see things differently. But that is what makes things complicated, as that leads towards relenting on the gains of independence. Do not forget that the current system is sustained by the very rich, able to use their money to influence a direction that benefits only the wrong people.
Dimensions of a New Civilization lays down causes of our current economic problems, yet proffering clear solutions, using the Word of God. Zimbabwe is a Christian country, so that it is not difficult to show my theories, using the word of God. While any other person could have written this type of book, from outside the country, it is not possible to document solutions without having gone through the experience that we have had, without war. Our Zimbabwean situation is peculiar, when considering that, even with glaring irresponsible behaviour of the politicians, there has not been any insurgents.
What credentials do you have in writing such books? People would want to know why they have to take you seriously.
That question portrays what I consider to be one of the reasons why we have problems in our country. The so-called uneducated are invalidated, as if those considered as educated have got anything positive to offer. If you look at the political landscape in our country, you will see that the only leader that has given Robert Mugabe a formidable challenge is Morgan Tsvangirai, viewed as not holding acceptable credentials to lead the country. But an interesting question is: where are those with commendable credentials?
My book shows clearly that credentials should not necessarily be the determining factor in assessing what is helpful or what is not. I suppose the record is there in the history of mankind, that people with positive impact on people's lives were not necessarily only those with acceptable credentials. Jesus Christ is a ready example of what I mean here. The only way I can encourage readers, is in that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The book was sufficiently critiqued by Scholars at the University of Zimbabwe and various other Christians. Giving it a default disregard is not fair to the author or to anyone seeking for solutions that are not readily available. I encourage the skeptics to just provide due critiquing of the book, with the alternative solutions to the Zimbabwean problems.
Who edited your book?
This is a project that was initiated from a zero budget, yet driven by the passion to address issues of concern. Editing is of utmost importance in book publishing, but lack of funding made it impossible to reach out to the established professional editors. However, over the last five years, the book went through several edits from the high profile people. These were not paid, as would normally be the case with professional services. I prefer not to put their names on the block, when all they did was voluntary, and I do not like to make them feel bad, or liable for whatever negative review, that may come from readers. I would rather take responsibility for everything. Nevertheless, I would like to assure readers that the material is readable and highly informative, judging by comments from several other independent readers, so far.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mostly, I read Christian material, based on traditional Christian Orthodoxy. But I allow my mind to also venture into other religious writings outside Christianity, to sufficiently enforce my appreciation of Biblical Scriptures. I also read some materials on internet, including local newspapers to keep myself abreast with what goes on in my country.
How are you marketing your book?
Once again, that is another challenge, due to financial constraints. Thanks to services like what is offered in Smashwords. But I now have my own website: www.newcivilization.co.zw, through which I regularly produce content that I hope benefits and attracts people to want to know more of what I offer, in my new book. Hopefully, as soon as my book takes off in sales, I will engage more of marketing services, so that this book goes far and wide.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Zimbabwe, having been born in Filabusi, before my parents relocated to Gokwe, in midlands area. My wife is from Manicaland. This gave me an exposure to understand virtually all cultures in Zimbabwe. What influenced my writing are the developments that I had observed since 1980, when the country attained independence. While most of the black people appreciated the attainment of independence, I had my own reservations, based on what I was observing as would lead us to the current problems. In the early years of 1980, I had been in the Air Force, so that I could not voice my political opinions to anyone, but desiring that everyone knew what I had in mind. When everything pointed to what I had actually predicted, the only option I had, within my inner feelings, was writing. My first book project started in 2005, even before the actual demise of the Zimbabwe dollar. Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, that book did not make sufficient impact.
Can people expect another book by you, any time soon?
Yes. It seems writing has now become part of me. However, I need to first recycle the other two books that were not adequately marketed, previously. I will also continue to produce thought-provoking articles through my website. Once funding becomes available, readers will start knowing and benefiting more through my writings.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I cannot say I was motivated to be an Indie author, other than saying I became an indie author by default. I just did not have any budget to engage into writings of this nature, other than what I felt was an inspiration to just write, for the benefit of my country. While I would have desired to go through normal publishing processes, funding was just not there to entertain that dream. I am grateful for the available facilities on internet to support indie authors.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am into songwriting as well. I like singing in church, but inspired mostly by classical than other types of music. I also get involved with helping people desiring to be assisted with copy-writing, especially for legal or other communication purposes. I also spend time playing and engaging in some physical exercises with my grand children and taking walks in outdoors.
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