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In Zimbabwe, a good read is supplanted by need for a feed FEATURE 08/09/2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

In Zimbabwe, a good read is supplanted by need for a feed

FEATURE

08/09/2010
HARARE — As visitors crowded round Daimon Phiri’s stall at Zimbabwe’s annual book fair, business seemed to be roaring for the fledgling publisher, but few people could afford to buy books.

“This year it’s busy in terms of people visiting,” Phiri, who runs Tepp Publishers in the second city of Bulawayo, told AFP. “But the people don’t have money to buy books.”

He was attending to queries from a group of school pupils asking if he had anything on offer for free.

At its peak more than a decade ago, the book fair in Harare drew hundreds of exhibitors from around the world and local publishers reported brisk business, in a nation that prided itself as the most literate in Africa.

That was before a decade of economic crisis reduced many to paupers, while a political crisis isolated Zimbabwe from its former allies in the West. Now the fair is a local affair and a low-key one at that.

“Most of the visitors say they like reading, some show interest in some of the books we have on display and ask for contacts, and from my experience asking for contacts is a polite parting note but they don’t get in touch,” Phiri lamented.

“People are living from hand to mouth and to.... MORE
SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100809com5.html

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