Dissecting Chinotimba in print

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BUHERA South legislator, Joseph Chinotimba, has for many years been a victim of crude jokes that have made the rounds in social circles, as well as social media including WhatsApp and Facebook.
Last year, author Chenjerai Mhondera decided to capitalise on that and penned a book based on Chinotimba’s jokes, while tracing his life and political career.

By Beniah Munengwa

Title: Chinotimba Jokes/Masasi aChinoz
Author: Chenjerai Mhondera
Publisher: Balukwe Content (2017)
ISBN: 978-0-7974-8015-5

He drew from the public domain the juicy laughing material and turned them into book form.

This is a commendable thing, as it helps preserve the jokes and in the process enrich our cultural ornaments.

The book Masasi aChinoz rides on two tides — one of the author of jokes that circulate on popular cultural platforms and the acceptance of the persona of Chinotimba.

This idea expressed tends to disempower the man with the name on the book on the state of the ownership of the text, leaving him as the compiler, which is, however, not a bad credit to be given.
“The book Masasi aChinoz… is a collection of jocular, crazy, strange but philosophical and amusing statements made or formed around the person of Honourable Joseph Chinotimba,” reads the preface in part.

The jokes that the book contains encompass scenarios of the everyday life that Chinotimba jeopardises with his humoristic mindset.

At one point, Chinotimba the jocular figure is a child, at another he is a driver, a compatriot with the likes of Mugabe and Mujuru and at another he is in a hospital.

What is amazing is the way in which Chinotimba the person embraces all this humour and does not take offence on his image, but simply personifies it and extends his milestone when it comes to laughter.

Masasi aChinoz goes on to capture the rarely publicised history of the MP. The book eloquently captures Chinotimba’s history, from his early school days to the days he joined the Nauchingoa Training Camp (Tanzania) in 1977 to the present.

The way in which his history is painted creates a humorous, people-person who has stood for, and continues to represent, progress and innovation in the path of being a career politician that he chose.

The book is a fair attempt to revolutionise the way in which popular cultural products are stored and re-installed into the pathways of people.

It stands as the “officialisation” of the fact that Chinotimba is a different breed of politician, one who is not offended by people and their lunatic nature.

The character of the person in mention, however, can be and might not be a perfect example of the traumatic and psychological effects of war on a person’s way of thinking, the psyche and the well-being given that there are no deep post-war rehabilitation strategies and institutions instituted to help both the direct and the indirect participants
in war.

Inspiration is exuded from the way in which Chinotimba rose from the ranks of being a mere officer in the Harare Municipal Police to being Chief Inspector, also to being chairman and treasurer, among other positions, until he became a legislator.

Through that position, the book explains how the positions did not corrupt the philanthropic side of the man in mention, as he went on to build bridges in the physical and mental states in the area of Buhera that he represents.

The book is, however, locked in the Zanu PF circumference, openly campaigning for Chinotimba the person for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

However, that does not constitute my biggest disappointment on the book project.

My disappointment is of the 36 pages that the pamphlet book holds, only 11 of those pages constitute the title jokes, meaning that 25 of them are everything else.

For me, they could have had been more, to entice the nation of eager readers.

Had it not been of the heavy variance between the cost of investment and the benefit in return of Zimbabwe’s publishing industry, I would have expected the book to be a little bit more colourful and picture-filled to house perfectly the happiness that comes out of the jokes and captions.