Yvonne Tsumbirani: A Two-Time Author Inspiring Youth at 23 with ‘A Rail of Hope’

Yvonne Tsumbirani: A Two-Time Author Inspiring Youth at 23 with ‘A Rail of Hope’

At the age of 23, Yvonne Tsumbirani can proudly call herself a two-time author. Born in the Eastern Highlands and currently living in Mutare, the Zimbabwean is celebrating the release of her latest book, A Rail of Hope, published under Chances Inc. She is also a youth mentor and Saiyakha Champion, helping girls learn soft skills and training them in financial literacy and CV building. She was mentored by author Takudzwa Masapa, writer of Amplified Silence.

Drawing inspiration from the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes, which states, “And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair,” Tsumbirani knows this struggle all too well, and her experiences are detailed in her book. She shared insights about her life, book, and inspiration during our interview with her.

KM: Hello Yvonne! Why not start off telling us a bit about yourself?

YT: Born in Chimanimani, Zimbabwe, Yvonne Tsumbirani is a Christian motivational speaker and author. She provides training for adolescent girls and young women on social asset building, sexual harassment, and soft skills, including financial literacy, to help them achieve financial independence and develop entrepreneurial skills. Yvonne was featured on the USAID Zimbabwe social media sites in 2023, profiling her journey with the DREAMS SMART Girls program. As she equips young girls and women, Yvonne herself is being transformed and empowered while she pursues her advanced professional qualifications in Social Work. Yvonne served as the Acting Local President of the Mutare Chapter of Junior Chamber International (JCI) in 2023. In the same year, she was a trainer at ‘The Tanyaradzwa Initiative’s Ladies Empowerment Bootcamp’. Leveraging these opportunities, she has built a vibrant network with a diverse range of people across the globe. Yvonne also runs an online platform called ‘Rail of Hope,’ dedicated to her second book, ‘Rail of Hope,’ which focuses on raising a generation of unstoppable young people through the word of God.

Her mission is to raise a generation of young people who are unstoppable by sharing the word of God and instilling in them a sense of identity through Christ’s nature. She is passionate about spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through her writing, and her speaking engagements have inspired her to write motivational books that are meaningful and impactful. Yvonne is also an entrepreneur who believes in taking action to make a difference in the world. Her first published book, Walk of Life, was released in 2021.

KM: You grew up in a village in Chimanimani and said you were stigmatized and called “The village girl” at some point. How was it like growing up in that environment?

YT: Well, this question has allowed me to reminisce a bit. It is quite a confession to make, isn’t it? (Laughs) Life is not always rosy; even roses have thorns. It is something people would never guess about me—that I grew up feeling inferior and segregated.

The title “unpopular village girl” indeed encapsulates much of my experience. I faced segregation from my peers due to my village background, limited education, and unfamiliarity with city life. The environment was quite hostile for me as a 12-year-old naive girl who had just lost her mother and had to relocate from rural to urban areas. Instead of enjoying life as a young girl, I found solace in reading novels, which made me an ardent reader at a tender age.

KM: You also lost your parents by age twelve, how were you able to navigate life without them?

YT: In my first book, “Walks of Life,” I wrote: “Usually, people want to grow up and witness their parents aging, making memorable moments with them, but for her, this wish was no longer going to be fulfilled.” How does one explain death to a twelve-year-old? What would you do if you were in my shoes, having lost your beloved mother after only eleven years with her on this planet? It was hard and still is hard, but I made God my anchor and source of supplication. I drew closer to God in those moments of mourning than to anyone else, and that is a significant part of my spirituality. Another thing that helped me navigate and sail through the dire situations of life is journaling. I began journaling my fears and emotions into words, and later on, I turned them into a book. For me, this was healing therapy that assured me someone was listening, through the letters I wrote to God, expressing what was happening, what I wanted, and my fears. Yes, through that, I was able to navigate life.

KM: At only twenty-three (23) you are now a two-time author. Your first titled being “Walks of Life” tell us a little about that book.

YT: The book, “Walks of Life,” inspires people, particularly young girls, to be resilient, focused, and unwavering during turbulent times. In the book, I encourage readers not to be emotionally, physically, and spiritually affected by past experiences. It is a book that I wrote after encountering some hurdles as an orphan. The book conveys a message of hope, mirrored through the narrative story of Annaloice, who embodies depression as she faces and fights orphanhood through the dire situations she experiences in life. The book targets my peers and even older individuals, reminding them that our difficult past does not determine our present or future.

KM: What has the experience been like for you, being an author at such a young age?

YT: I believe people write for various reasons, much like inspiration. Some are inspired by what they watch, others by what they hear, and some by personal experiences. Then there are those who draw inspiration from other people’s stories. If your ideas or inspiration come to fruition through prayer, if you are a man or woman of prayer, then never stop praying! So, for me, being an author at such a young age is akin to inspiration, which is birthed from prayer. It is a blessing to me and to the world around me. Being an author at a young age presents an opportunity for me to convey to everyone I encounter through my writings the extravagant and generous love of God for us all.

KM: What does your writing process look like?

YT: I have always seen writing as a means of escaping into truth. The process differs for each individual, and for me, it always involves pre-writing, drafting, revising, and editing repeatedly, as my writings are inspired by the word of God and the experiences I have gone through in life. The reason I always draft and revise is to ensure that the message is not lost before it reaches the intended audience. In other words, writing gives me the opportunity to create my own reality. It is a gift from God, allowing me to create endless possibilities for those who have been victims of the harsh realities of life.

KM: Your latest title is called “Rail of Hope” and is said to “provide a promise of hope and transformative lessons for self-discovery and purpose in life.” Could you please tell us a bit more about the book and its debut?

Picture1 Yvonne Tsumbirani: A Two-Time Author Inspiring Youth at 23 with 'A Rail of Hope'

YT: Thank you so much. So, the book Rail of Hope delves into a prevalent crisis in today’s world: hopelessness. This crisis affects us all, whether we realize it or not. That is why I wrote this book. As a generation, we have lost our essence and confidence in the future; fear creeps in, and the future seems uncertain despite our hopes.

With Rail of Hope, we will explore the impact of this crisis on an individual level, including the impact of divorce and death on children, as well as the social factors that contribute to hopelessness. Rail of Hope will provide valuable insights into self-discovery, personal growth, and, above all, a closer relationship with Jesus Christ, our faithful friend in this ethical dilemma of hopelessness. The book is not just a mere reading experience; it is a journey towards a better life. I am anticipating that this journey will bring HOPE to many.

KM: As a young author with still-soft skin, how do you handle criticism from readers?

YT: Well, thank you so much for the compliment. Personally, I take constructive criticism seriously because I believe in the power of embracing the mantra of learning, unlearning, and relearning as an individual. On another note, if the criticism is not constructive, well, at the end of the day, we are not meant for everyone. What is important is to identify, embrace, and appreciate those for whom you were called by God, and persistently continue working on that.

KM: You are someone who carries a lot of ambition and one of your dreams is to be the holder of a doctorate! You go girl! What other dreams and ambitions do you have?

YT: Inspired by Maya Angelou quotes, that one of the greatest legacy we can leave here on earth is not how many cars we have bought or how many houses we have built but it is all about how many people’s lives have we touched and changed. My life has been touched and changed by various encounters that I had, so I aspire to be the reason someone out there will say ‘because of her, I did not give up on life’. I want to continue working with young people, inspiring and empowering them to make positive changes through leveraging the opportunities I have. That is my hope, besides advancing academically.

KM: What other projects can we look forward to from you in the near future?

YT: As a Christian motivational author, my near future projects will focus on addressing topics related to identity crises. The goal is to instill a sense of identity through Christ’s nature in both young and old people.

KM: What do you do outside of school and writing? What activities do you enjoy for fun?

YT: I find solace in many things (Laughs). Firstly, I enjoy gardening. I grow vegetables and earn extra money by selling them. Secondly, I love reading so much; it is my idea of fun. Lastly, I enjoy singing, listening to gospel songs, and a bit of dancing (Laughs).

KM: In closing, I would like to leave you with the words of Maya Angelou, “My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are and astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.” Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. What are your final words?

YT: To everyone, young and old, do not let your past experiences rob you of the joys of tomorrow. You must silence the pressures of life. When given an opportunity, seize it and optimize it. Believe in God, believe in yourself, and believe that you can achieve greatness, for the world is too vast not to dream big. In all walks of life, keep moving forward, even when the path grows dark. Keep moving, for in every journey, there is always a rail of hope within each of us, urging us to do better and leave the world a better place than we found it.

‘Rail of Hope’ can be bought directly from the author through her social media platforms; Facebook (Facebook) and Instagram (Yvonne Tsumbirani (@yvonne_tsumbirani) • Instagram photos and videos).

Kudzai Mhangwa

Kudzai Mhangwa is a writer, actor and musician. He writes poetry, plays, essays and short stories. His work has been featured on House of Mutapa, Atrebla Magazine, Ka'edi Africa, Poetry Soup and elsewhere.

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