InConversation with: Mutsa Majero
Meet Mutsa Majero, a U.S based Zimbabwean author of children's book Meet Chipo and founder of the Zim.Babe.Iwe! brand.
Who is Mutsa and what is she all about?
I am a 29-year-old Zimbabwean woman currently living in the U.S., and have been here for the past 13 years. I am a Licensed Mental Health Therapist by profession, and I am also working on my PhD in International Psychology. What am I all about? I am definitely all about valuing love, family, relationships with people, maintaining a positive outlook and dreaming big… like, real big!
Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
I have always been passionate about my home – Zimbabwe, education, reading, writing, and empowering children and women. Meet Chipo is kind of a combination of all those things that I love. I always dreamed that I would publish a book someday, and one day I just decided it was time to stop talking about the dream, and time to start living the dream!
How long has the story been in the works?
I actually wrote the book about 5 years ago, but have only now set out time to publish and release it.
What was the process for writing the book?
Some aspects of Meet Chipo are based on some things that I, or my parents, lived and experienced as a child growing up in Zimbabwe. As I was growing up, my parents placed a lot of value on education and reading; and so as a child I read many books and I think that definitely helped to feed my creative mind. The content of the book came to me very naturally as I started writing. I had an idea of what I wanted Chipo as a young girl to be about, and where I wanted the story to go… the rest came easily. When I was done writing the book, I struggled with finding a literary agent or publishing company to help me get the book out there. I ended up getting busy with school, work, and life, and it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I decided to take matters into my own hands and self-publish. I prayed about it – a lot – and finally found an amazing illustrator, and we got to work. Now here we are today !
Book available from http://zimbabeiwe.com/
Besides writing what other talents have you got?
I think that I have a talent for building relationships and connections with people of all cultures and backgrounds. It’s what led me to the field of psychology and pursuing a career as a Mental Health Therapist. I’ve worked primarily with children and teenagers for the past 6 years, and I love being able to connect with them, and assist them with navigating through challenging times. You can imagine that being a child and teenager in today’s world has its challenges; and you can imagine how much more challenging that is when you’re growing up in an abusive or neglectful environment. I love being a part of someone’s journey of reaching their highest potential, and achieving their own definition of success.
Where do you draw your inspiration for everything you do?
My family, especially my parents. They raised my siblings and I with this idea that we can achieve anything we want, and they are the ones who instilled this notion of “Dream Big!” in us. There has never been a day when I felt “less than,” or as though I couldn’t achieve anything, and that’s truly because of my family. They inspire me beyond description.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
My first piece of advice is make sure that you believe in yourself, your talent, and your ability. If you start there, then you will continue to push through the challenges and obstacles that come your way. Secondly, write about things that you are passionate about, and continue to feed that passion – I think that definitely helps when you hit a wall or experience “writer’s block.” And lastly, just write! Start with a phrase, sentence, or paragraph, and build on that.
Why is the girl in the book called Chipo? What's the story behind that?
I chose the name Chipo because it means “gift” in Shona. I wanted this book to be a gift – to myself, my family, and anyone else who reads it. I hope it only adds joy to someone’s life, as any gift should.
What do you hope the readers get from reading Meet Chipo?
I hope that readers have fun getting lost in Chipo’s world. I hope that older children or adults who grew up in Zimbabwe can relate and smile as they think back on their childhood; and I hope that those who are not familiar with Zimbabwe end the book with a good impression about our values and culture.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Zim.Babe.Iwe! T- shirts available to order from http://zimbabeiwe.com/
In regards to writing, Meet Chipo is a part of a series of children’s books, so definitely look out for more on Chipo, and other characters to follow. In regards to other aspects of my life, I look forward to expanding my Zim.Babe.Iwe! brand to continue to empower Zimbabweans and others across the world. Zim.Babe.Iwe!’s motto is “Dream. Believe. Joy.” – and so I hope to use my education and talents that God has blessed me with to inspire people to Dream big, Believe in themselves, and find Joy in all that they do.