Book Review

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Book Title: “Tonderayi’s Way. Memories of a Diaspora Librarian”

Author:        Tonderayi Wilfred Chanakira

Publisher:    Sinoda Printers (Windhoek) (2014)

ISBN: 978-99945-79-20-4

Reviewer: Clemence Tashaya

Rarely do librarians sit down to write their own books and become authors in their own right! A book recently written and published by one Tonderayi Chanakira, a  librarian who is based here in Namibia demystifies that perception of  librarians. Our stereotypes of librarians are that they are very reserved professionals who are experts in book cataloguing and classification and the orientation of readers and library users   to the usage of the library.  This myth is no longer valid as Chanakira demonstrates with his book titled: Tonderayi’s Way. Memories of a Diaspora Librarian capturing his life journey as a librarian.

The 80-page, 18- chapter book dealing with various social, political and library professional issues as reflected from the experiences of a librarian’s journey in the context of the various organisations the librarian worked for during the 26 years as a professional librarian. What is interesting is the librarian’s ability to narrate his upbringing from a rural background to the position of becoming a librarian.

Tracing this journey with Time Out , the author/librarian reminisces  that it took him years to bring about this 18-chapter book. “I had to rely on my resources to get the book published here in Namibia.  This book is not only an autobiography but also talks about the political issues as they affected Zimbabwe in general as my country of origins and birth,” says Chanakira.

The book also talks about his experience as a librarian here in Namibia advising his colleagues in the profession to keep contributing and working harder to the profession, as it is the cornerstone of education and a reading culture. “We need to contribute to the Namibian reading culture and we should do it to the young Namibians who are the future leaders.  We should catch, educate and teach young Namibians when they are still young,” he determines.

The diasporian flavour of the book is that it captures how the librarian survived the profession whilst working in several countries from his home country, Zimbabwe to Botswana, Namibia and a host of European and Asian countries which shaped his career as a librarian. He reflects on his inner thoughts regarding how he personally experienced librarianship working for several organisations.

One chapter  reflects on how he experienced his career as a  librarian in the Namibian Diaspora, which  is interesting reading  in which the librarian reflects on the challenges that have shaped the development of librarianship in Namibia. Librarians, historians, archivists and documentalists  may find the book useful. And surely the fact that librarians are contributing to developing the book industry in Namibia by publishing their own books, thereby contributing to the knowledge development of the library profession in Namibia and beyond is commendable.

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