BOOK REVIEW: I’m in Charge of My Narrative

“Out of the rural came something refined. Out of the Narrative came something poignant.”

I'm In Charge of My Narrative book cover.

Genre: Motivational

Author: Mejury Chipato

Home Country: Zimbabwe

Publisher: Atcumbre Publishers

Reviewer: Daniel Tusiimukye

It is with a strong heart that I flip through the last page of this book; it’s with a big hope that I draw the book back to the shelf.

It is Kahli Gibran who once remarked: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls, the most massive characters that are seared with scars.”

This quote perfectly strikes a chord with Mejury Chipato’s latest book — I’m in Charge of My Narrative — a story which in my view is one of “turning lemon into lemonade”.

Chipato is a Zimbabwean medical doctor based in China.

She holds degrees in Medicine, Surgery and Microbiology and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Microbiology.

Upon getting hold of her book a week ago, what immediately caught my attention was of course the title I’m In Charge of My Narrative, which perfectly captures stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

In this debut book, Chipato capture’s her journey from the deep rural heart of Gutu in Masvingo Province to Mbare, after which she leaves the country to become a highly successful medical doctor, businesswoman, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

The book has been endorsed by leaders in business, church and politics, with businessman Phillip Chiyangwa stating: “Throughout her narrative, Chipato shows that yesterday is gone and so it can only guide and strengthen us…

I am also from a humble beginning in Chegutu, but here I am among the richest people in Zimbabwe.

I can easily relate to Chipato’s touching narrative”.

One of her unique styles in writing is how she captures her struggles in Gutu in a lighter sense which in most instances, instead of sympathizing with her predicament, leaves one in stitches.

For instance, in chapter one Chipato narrates how as a child she feared going to the toilet because of ghost stories that village people used to murmur about.

“I remember one night I pooped on myself after having a heavy meal of Bambara groundnuts (mutakura wenyimo).

I couldn’t go outside to answer to the call of nature since it was too dark, and no one wanted to escort me outside.

The following day, my friends and siblings made fun of me, and this story never left their lips”– (p.35).

She also reveals how living in the rural areas taught her not to be selective when it came to food as she ate everything from dried leaves (mufushwa), pumpkin leaves (muboora), and other traditional foods.

In an insightful flashback, Chipato also narrates how she nearly drowned in a well before she was rescued by her sister.

“From nowhere my sister appeared and pulled me out of the water when I was almost drowning.

Her timing was impeccable, a delay of even two more minutes would have rendered me history and there would certainly have been no story to write about today!”– (p.39)

As she relocates to Mbare, Harare’s oldest high-density suburb, Chipato seems to pose a pertinent metaphorical question, “Can anything good come out of Mbare?”, an issue she later on addresses towards the end of the book.

Her greatest strength as an author is her ability to paint the squalid living conditions in Mbare and how the government’s ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ left them homeless and had to seek refuge at a relative’s place, and how her family ended up living in a one-roomed house.

“It was a one-roomed house, and the toilets were public.

We quickly moved in, the five of us, alongside one more relative who had equally lost his home to Operation Murambatsvina, which led to the eight of us living in one room.

Dr. Mejury Chipato, author. PHOTO/Courtesy.

To attempt to fully describe the nuance of living in high-density populated flats would necessitate the writing of another book.

All I can say is that the government needs to intervene urgently because the life that’s being lived there is not appropriate and conducive to raise the next generation of our nation” – (p.54).

It is against this background that she was forced to turn up early at school, despite her lessons starting off in the afternoon, in an attempt to escape her family’s overpopulated room.

For the greater part of the book, Chipato chronicles the struggles she encountered while growing up and how determination, hard work, resilience and hope eventually rescued her from the jaws of poverty and set her on a trajectory to success.

Given this background of encountering struggles at an early age, Chipato shares four important nuggets.

Firstly, it is in light of these struggles that she started making declarations of the kind of life and career she wanted until she became a medical doctor.

The lesson she shares here is that of the power of affirmations or declarations on how one can transform dreams into reality.

“I swore to myself that I would work hard till I changed the narrative of my life and that of my family” – (p.57)

Secondly, she challenges those from a poor background to be resilient and never to give up on their dreams.

Thirdly she cites goal setting as an essential stepping stone to greater heights.

Finally, she emphasizes the importance of cultivating personal relationships and networks as a crucial ingredient for success.

Dr. Chipato is a typical African child who went through the experience of walking long distances to school early on in life when she attended Hundudza Primary School in the Gutu District, Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe.

Her story of resilience is also plucked from the experiences of her parents.

Setting oneself both a short-term and long-term vision can be very beneficial as we see in Dr. Chipato’s story.

Born at Chitando Clinic in Gutu District and spending her early years in Mafuratirwa Village in the same district, Dr. Chipato attended Hundudza and Nharira primary schools and Harare High School, before proceeding to Oran University (Algeria), University of Science and Technology in Algeria, and the Gannan Medical University in China.

She is also a microbiologist, a businesswoman and a philanthropist who is passionate about transforming her community by empowering young people.

“This book is dedicated to all the young people coming from underprivileged backgrounds who aspire to be successful in life and who are desperate to change their life narratives,” she says.

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Daniel Tusiimukye is a columnist with The Scholar Media Africa, is an award winning author, and a Ugandan based publisher. He is the founder at The Iconic Publications and currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Makerere University, Kampala. His contact:



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