Saturday, December 31, 2011

The longest Shona novel!

Wellingtone Kusema has made history by publishing probably the longest novel in the Shona language to date at 108 264 words! Dzimbabwedande, published by Heritage Press is a gigantic 348 paged old world novel about Dumbetumbe’s heroic exploits. This is a very important novel about the evil machinations of the Portuguese during the Mutapa Empire, stretching from the Highvelds down to the Indian and the Atlantic oceans. Here you read about the slave trade, power struggles, love and betrayal. This is a massive show of confidence in the Shona language. For me, Dzimbabwedande could easily pass as the greatest novel by a Zimbabwean in 2011.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My crowning moments in 2011

Above, my wife and daughter, Shasha received the NAMA Award on my behalf for my latest book 'Toriro and His Goats' from prominent novelist Charles Makari in February 2011. I am told that it was a colourful event. I was abroad on a work-leave. On 8 and 9 October, I read from Tudikidiki (in translation) to a capacity crowd at the Blantyre Arts Festival, Malawi. It was my first time in Malawi and my first to be in a foreign country whose major language I speak fluently! On 29 November, i presented a paper on 'manhood in the novels of Chenjerai Hove' at 'Traditions II: Everyday Lives of African Men' conference held in Addis Ababa. It was held in the historic Africa Hall. To crown it all, my short story book, 'Somewhere In This Country' has finally found its way onto the Advanced level Literature in English syllabus in my own Zimbabwe!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

the ZWA logo and some information

Following the election of a substantive board of the Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) on June 4, 2011 June 4 2011, dear members , take note of the issues below and regularise your membership by getting in touch with the secretary and treasurer:

a.Ordinary Membership US$10,00. Ordinary membership shall be reserved for individuals who qualify on account of being bona fide authors of Zimbabwe, new or established. Individuals shall willingly join even if writer organisations to which they are already members may wish to or have joined ZWA on Affiliate status. Each ordinary member shall have one vote at any general meeting of ZWA.

b.Affiliate Membership US$20,00 Affiliate membership shall be reserved for willing and recognized Zimbabwean writer organizations and/or associations whose objectives serve the interests and welfare of writers of Zimbabwe whose application for membership is approved by the Board. This shall apply to organizations which seek to participate in the work of ZWA on behalf of their members. Each affiliated member shall have one vote at any general meeting of ZWA.

c.Honorary Membership pay in form of donations. Honorarary membership shall be reserved for members of the cultural community who have a proven interest in the promotion of Zimabwean Literature and the arts in general as well as being supportive of the Organization’s goals and who may add value to it through their links with the funding or business community. Normally they are invited to join by the Board. Honorary members shall not be entitled to vote.

d.Associate Membership US$20, 00. Associate membership shall be reserved for willing Zimbabwean and non Zimbabwean writer or arts organizations, non Zimbabwean citizens or non resident writers who have an interest in literature and the arts and who wish to participate in the work of ZWA at the level of mutual partnership. Associate members shall not be entitled to vote.

For now, ZWA uses Department of English, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP 167 Mt Pleasant Harare Zimbabwe, as its postal address and physical address.

1. ZWA email address:
2. ZWA is now in possession of a National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Registration Certificate
3. ZWA now has a Logo (indicated above)
4. ZWA objectives are explained in the Constitution previously circulated to you
6. Treasurer’s email for joining and all payments:, 0712 401 787
7. Secretary’s email and cell number:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chivi Sunsets: a preview by Memory Chirere

I can announce that Monica Cheru’s collection of short stories; Chivi Sunsets: Not for Scientists (above)has finally been published by Diaspora Publishers in the UK.

In my view, these stories are in the league of Wonder Guchu’s very fascinating,My Children, My Home published in 2007. Where other contemporary short story collections from Zimbabwe are largely concerned, in various ways, about the socio-political breakdown, Chivi Sunsets and My Children, My Home are about matters located beyond and above this decade of crisis. In Guchu and Cheru’s short stories, the individual fights perceived enemies and rivals using extra realist actions like sending familiars and curses that harm physically.

In ‘On the Road to Damuscus,’ from Chivi Sunsets: Not for Scientists, a new teacher, a Mr. Muti is very keen on corporal punishment, hitting his pupils for every little mistake they make. The rural community is very annoyed but the proud Mr. Muti continues to brutalise his pupils. One day, as he cycles to his school from the nearby shops where he is apparently in love with one of the shopkeepers, a whole baboon appears from the bush and jumps onto his carrier. Mr. Muti cycles on, heavily terrified. The baboon asks him: “Mr. Muti, why do you beat the children so?” and Mr. Muti does not reply because he is shell shocked. The baboon continues: “To make them pass? Should they fail, what concern is it of yours, as the children do not belong to you? Anyway, since you started your floggings, how many of them have passed? Ponder on it my wise fellow.” Having delivered its message, the baboon nimbly jumps off the bike and saunters into the tall grass on the roadside!

Eventually Mr. Muti flees the school and in his next school, he never raises his hand to beat up any school child.

He has been changed indeed by this ‘Road to Damascus’ event. Just like in Wonder Guchu’s ‘Garikayi’, this story uses a familiar in the form of a baboon. Equally, where there is a conflict and circumstances do not allow it for people to meet and converse, such things happen. The community considers Mr. Muti way above admonishing because he is far more educated and ‘sophisticated’. In fact, before the baboon incident, other familiars like the bat and the owl had been sent to him but he does not heed.

The narrative is on the side of the community and the baboon because when Mr. Muti leaves: ‘a new teacher comes along and is told the tale of Mr. Muti so many times that he keeps his hands to himself. Eventually the community realizes the value of education and the children begin to pass their exams. Rods reappear but any over-zealous teacher is reminded of the baboon. No one ever claims to have sent the baboon to Mr. Muti. The baboon is never seen by any other person.’

Even in his new station, Mr. Muti never assaults any pupil. He has learnt through the shock that he has received. In addition, he may not be able to narrate this story and be believed. He has been isolated in his new knowledge and that is enough punishment.

This kind of writing (from Cheru and Guchu) as Flores Angel says, helps the writer ‘to reach beyond the confines of realism and draw upon the energies of fable, folk tale, and myth while maintaining a strong contemporary social relevance’ and that ‘the fantastic attributes given to characters in such stories—levitation, flight, telepathy, telekinesis—are among the means that magic realism adopts in order to encompass the often phantasmagorical socio-political realities of the contemporary world.’

Monica Cheru’s title for her short story anthology, Chivi Sunsets: Not For Scientists is a mouthful. The word ‘Sunsets’ assumes that these stories happen during the night or that they are associated with darkness and maybe more specifically, these stories explore the machinations of evil. The second part of the title, ‘Not For Scientists’ suggests that these stories break all the rules of our real world. These stories ‘defy physical laws, including the laws of gravity’ as George Kahari says about the romances of prominent Shona writer, Patrick Chakaipa.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Invitation to a Writers’ meeting, 3 December 2011, Harare.

Below, some Zimbabwean writers at the last meeting in August

and another

The Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) cordially invites you to the first of its monthly meetings on Saturday 3 December 2011 at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, 20 Julius Nyerere Way, Harare from 2:00pm to 4:30pm in the library extension (upstairs) for the purposes of discussion and readings. You are also reminded to bring your $10 membership fees. A substantive agenda will be sent to you very soon. Remember: the major objective of ZWA is to bring together all willing individual writers and writer organisations of Zimbabwe in order to encourage creative writing, reading and publishing in all forms possible, conduct workshops, and provide for literary discussions.
-inserted by ZWA committee-

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tudikidiki By Memory Chirere

Below are some  recent articles/reviews on Tudikidiki:

1.It would be very easy to read many meanings (probably all of them my own!) into Memory Chirere’s short - short stories (some of which are really vignettes) and I suppose the writer could be laughing down his throat at the mental gymnastics of even the most well meaning readers as they try to ‘interpret’ these ‘little things’.

As I read them I am at times persuaded not to try to find any meaning in some of them but to simply read, read, and enjoy – or be frustrated.

Both enjoyment and frustration arise out of the realization that Chirere’s characters (and maybe the reader as well?) are involved in a very serious mind life games. A mixture of a kind of madness, a passion for unreason and a stumbling in the darkness of sheer ignorance but with always a hope (groundless?) of a light at the end of the grotto. A kind of natural intelligence which is also mixed with unadulterated innocence?

Take the story ‘Mwana’ – what is the writer trying to say? Is it about how we wish for something dearly, then our wishes become obstacles and at the end we have to run, with nothing, into worse situations?

The story ‘Amai nababa’ shows the innocent wishes of a child who is dying to see her parents together, in love, (and herself included in this love?) and she achieves this in her own way but behind it all you are worried about the presence of other forces that have nothing to do with the three characters.

‘Roja rababa vaBiggie’ – could this be vintage Chirere? This ‘roja’ looks the acme of decency and diligence in the local community. He seems to be an assert to his landlord, (or his owner?) baba vaBiggie. People envy baba vaBiggie for having such a quiet and hardworking lodger.

How wrong can we be! The man, this ‘roja’ is cooking up something. Baba vaBiggie owes the ‘roja’ and now the roja wants his money back. To get his money back, he climbs up to the top of the tower light and tells the world that it is his money or he is going to throw himself down to his death. The man performs monkey dances on the tower light. He shouts and he has got everyone’s attention. He is in charge today. He is in full control and the people are looking up there, in awe, enthralled, in fear, as if he were – God? And he seems to love it. He is reveling in it. (I have a feeling that he has never felt such strength, such power, in him before and he wishes it could go on forever, this moment of total control).

When he finally agrees to come down, after baba vaBiggie has paid, to a trusted third part, one feels the tragic moment, the fall of a God.

‘Chichena chirefu chinonhuwira’, ‘Pikicha’ and ‘Pamuroro wemwana’ again have ‘something’ which is haunting. People create situations over things they don’t understand, and the end result? Panic. Chaos. Very small things which could have been resolved quietly or peacefully become big issues that lead to the cracking up of personalities and the breaking up of communities and institutions. People become victims of their own actions.

We have the painful heartbreak in ‘Ariko’. A broken, unconsummated relationship, the unsaid deep pain of parting, the imagery cuts to the quick.

‘Mumwewo munhu wausingazive’ has a very strange nostalgic effect on the reader, especially this one. How can you not suffer if you live, daily, with the uneasy, unresolved thought that somewhere out there among the denizens of the world there is someone who has a heartful load of love for you, someone ready to die for you? (It is rather a mischievous short story, designed to play havoc with the reader’s emotions!)

‘Ndikakuregedza handizokuoni’ verges on the – magical? Too good to be true. Our own emotions, intentions, dreams – our individual lives – align with God’s designs and we feel responsible for the salvation or destruction of whole nations. This story, as in many others, seems to reveal some dark mystic? – definitely spiritual-religious compartments in this writer’s psyche!

All in all, Memory Chirere’s Tudikidiki is an enjoyable collection. I sense a new direction in the Shona short story, releasing it from the usual hidebound traditional oral rungano, to throw it in line with its written counterpart in the other, international languages, but the flavour is strictly here, now, homegrown and home brewed. Even though a few of these stories left me feeling that they verge on the obscure, I still have a nagging feeling that maybe it is my own lack of access to the writer’s artistic lexicon. Whatever the case is, these stories don’t fail to tickle your rib, if not riddle your mind. These are serious adult stories (despite appearances to the contrary) written with a poet’s sensibilities.
(By Charles Mungoshi, The Sunday mail, December, 2007)

2.Memory Chirere’s second book called Tudikidiki is a good Christmas and New Year’s present for all the connoisseurs of Zimbabwean literature. Reason: save for the multiauthored collections by Zimbabwean Women Writers, the short story in the Shona language is almost non-existent.

The space is heavily dominated by the poem and novel and yet the short story in English is on a massive rise in Zimbabwe.

Tudikidiki is heavily influenced by Chirere’s first book, a collection of short stories in English called Somewhere In This Country. Here as in the first book, these stories are flittingly short. Reading, you remember Flannery O’Connor: ‘A short story should be long in depth and should give us an experience of meaning’.
Coupled with very high entertainment value, the whole booklet can be read on a bus trip from Mbare to Murambinda! Each story stands out clearly and the experience is akin to toying with one crisp biscuit after another, after another, in one’s watery mouth!

Some of these stories are teeming with both serious and petty fraudsters. The lesson is: Do not be too engrossed only in the big struggles of survival. Turn your head over your shoulder to check what the next man or woman is doing. You are being invited to pay close attention to the little matters of life -Tudikidiki - and to laugh at yourself, if you can.

Mandiziva, a character in the story by the same title, is a township old man who walks up to any home and plays at being a no nonsense long lost old relative from the rural areas. As a result he is entertained like a king. When the neighborhood wakes up to the truth, Mandiziva is long gone, well fed and comfortable.

‘Mamboonawo Mhuri Yangu here?’ is an Aesopean tale about looking for someone who could be looking for you! And when you get to where he was, he is where you were, and because you put so much faith in speed and accuracy, you might never meet with the person you so much want to meet!

In ‘Roja Rababa vaBiggie’ a township lodger teaches the whole community a lesson that they will never forget. More stinging blows come in Pempani Pempani, Pikicha, Pasi Pengoma and many more. The laughter generated by these stories is corrective. The journey of life is portrayed as both awkward and funny and the man or woman who listens carefully to her soul, wins. Chirere’s wit is honey coupled up with grit and the conversations are dreamlike and childlike.

As Ignatius Mabasa warns in the introduction to this book, these stories are not for children, but are about children. So they can even be read by both adults and young adults. Yet you come away feeling that the word ‘children’ is more complex than meets the eye. The struggles in life bring out the most basic instincts, making us all children.

Memory Chirere is at his best with stories with subterranean meanings and you might be caught reading and rereading these stories for their various levels of meaning and wit. I have come across this in the few stories of Langston Hughes.
(Reviewed by Jairos kangira, The Herald, 10 January 2008)

3.Chenjerai Hove recently read Memory Chirere's short story collection "Tudikidiki". He made the following observation, shared in an email to both Chirere and me. Hove has stated repeatedly that the current state of writing by new writers in Zimbabwe makes him proud, especially considering that he has been a mentor to most of these contemporary writers. Chirere, for instance, was in the class Hove taught during his days as the writer-in-residence at the University of Zimbabwe.Other writers like Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, Ignatius Mabasa, Cleopas Gwakwara, Nhamo Mhiripiri and wife, Thabisani Ndlovu, Eresina Wede, Zvisdinei Sandi and others were part of this group. I too had the priviledge of learning from the master in those days, and every now and then we spend time on the phone discussing literature and our common homeland, Mazvihwa, a place rich in history and memories. Hove is currently based in Miami, Florida.

Below are some of his comments on Memory Chirere's "Tudikidiki", reproduced here with his permission:

Chirere's talent is his capacity to capture character and landscape in most apt way, with a phrase or a simple comparison. He is one of the most observant writers ever to emerge in our cruel, beloved homeland. When he compares something like 'semugoti wepanhamo', the images are vivid and he is able to interconnect them into building a strong character in such a short space of language and time. Poetic juxtapositions like, 'chawaitanga kuona pana pembani idzoro rake rainge nhanga, wozoona marengenya' are just breath-taking in creating a compendium of physical looks and the poverty that went with the character of Pempani. If you also look at Pempani's bio brief, it is wonderfully done as the way in which rumours often paint a complex character is used to show the Pempani's complexity as a person and as a piece of social upheaavals. Then the narrator says in his own assessment of Pempani, 'Ini ndaingoti zvese zvaiita,' without validating or refuting any of the pieces of speculative portrayals.

Chirere has this subtle sense of detail, a poetic quality which makes his writing uniquely his. For example, if you look at how he portrays the manner in which music inflitrates the human consciousness, in 'Kamwe karwizi', you will be amazed that I think it is the best Shona description I have come across of how the body and soul of humans absorb and are consumed by music. It is not the same as simply saying 'I enjoyed the music.' Chirere is able to trace the whole flow of music into the human body, and trance-like, shape how individuals are given visions by a single piece of music.

With the contemporary Zimbabwean writers "at it like this", Hove believes that "we will soon see another literary boom more exciting than the 1980s and early 90s."

Memory Chirere has told me that he is working on a translation of Tudikidiki, but has admitted that it is not an easy task as translating some of the Shona nuances is challenging. Having enjoyed the Shona version, as well as the Chirere's English collection, "Somewhere in this Country", I look forward to the translation.
(Article from Emmanuel Sigauke's

4. Tudikidiki Chii? By Tinashe Muchuri
Mukuona bhuku raMemory Chirere rinonzi Tudikidiki zvakandipa mubvunzo wekuti tudikidiki chii? Zvakare izvi zvakandipa have yokuda kuziva chacho chinonzi tudikidiki.Mushure mekunge ndazoverenga bhuku iri, ndakazoona kuti tudikidiki twuri mubhuku iri twuri pakawanda. Chokutanga ndechekuti Tudikidiki ibhuku retunyaya tudiki. Chechipiri ndechekuti tunyaya turikutaurwa nevana vadiki. Chetatu ndechekuti tunyaya turi kutaura nezvezvinhu zvatisingawaniri nguva yokunyatsotarisa mazuva ose. Zvinhu zviya zvatinoti kana tikazviona hatina hanya nazvo asi izvo zviri izvo zvinoumba zvatiri. Izvo zvidikidiki izvozvi ndizvo zvine hanya nevana vari kutaura nyaya mubhuku raChirere, Tudikidiki.Zvinhu zvatinoti savakuru hazvina basa ndizvo zvinebasa kuvana varikutaura nezvazvo ava.

Ingava nyaya here kuti munhu anyore nezvemwana ari kuba zvake nyama mumba mavabereki vake? Asi ukaverenga kanyaya kanonzi 'Mwana' kanova ndiko kanoparura bhuku iri unozoona kuti haisi nyaya yokutamba. Unotanga uchiita kunge nyaya yekuita zvakaipa yakanaka pedzezvo heyo newe mumoto pedzesere watotiza pamusha uchipinda musango kuita ngarara.Wadaro unozoita hwemwana akati, "Akati panze svaku, ndokutizira muchisango. Kutiza, kuita kunge asina kumbenge aedza kugocha nyama masikati pamba pasina vanhu!"

Ndiyanizve angafungawo kuti Pembani munyaya inonzi Pembani Pembani, aivawo mwana akangoita sevamwe vana zvakare aidawo kuwana mukana wekudzidza, kudya kwakanaka nezvipfeko zvakanaka? Ndiyani anogona kugara pasi nemwana kana achitanga kuratidza kuti ane chipo chehudavadi? Musi wakanzi vana vemukirasi yaPembani Pembani vatare mifananidzo, mudzidzisi haana kufara nomufananidzo wakatarwa naPembani zvakaita kuti amurove achiona sekuti irema. Asi paakarohwarohwa pabendekete naMiss Zuva, Pembani akanyemwerera. Kanhu kadiki ikaka kanogona kuparadza chipo chaPembani chehudavadi. Izvozvi ndizvo zvinoita kuti vanhu vasabudirira vozopedzesera voita zvinhu zvavasingati kuita nemwoyo yavo. Zviya zvokuti unoona munhu achiita basa iro asingafariri.

Ko iyo nyaya yamudhara Mandiziva avo vaipota vachikwata zvokudya nekanzira kavo kekusvika pamba pavanhu vachivabvunza kuti, 'Mandiziva?' Kanyaya kekuti unogona kufunga kuti hapana zvenyaya asi pekupedzesera wozoona kuti itori nyaya hombe. Musha wose unogona kurasiswa nemunhu anongosvikoti, 'Mandiziva?' Zvingada here kuti chokwadi vanhu mungobikira munhu nokuti akubvunzai kuti, 'Mandiziva?' zvokutosvika pakumuurayira huku? Hunyanzvi hwaChirere huri pakugona kusiya munhu achiri kuda kuona kuti chiiko chakazoitika pamberi? Mandiziva, chirahwe chacho chinotozodudzirwa nemwana anoona mudhara Mandiziva dzichiita chidobi chadzo chekudya zvavanhu nokubvunza kuti, 'Mandiziva?' Unobva watanga kufunga vanhu vanoita basa rokukumbira mari yokufambisa muguta, vachiti vanoda kuti vawane kubuda muguta vachienda kurukisheni kwavanogara. Sekuita kweruzhinji runorarama nokunyepa unogona kukumbirwazve mari nemunhu mumwechete iyeye achida kuishandisa kuenda kwaambokuudza kuti ari kuda kuenda. MApaonaka, ziso remunyori uyu rine chipo chekugona kumirira vana vachiita zvose zvinonzi hazvina maturo.

Chirere ano hunyanzvi hwekunyora nyaya diki zvokuti bhuku rakaita saTudikidiki rive rimwe remabhuku ari mururimi rweChishona ari kuvavarira kubatana nemanyorerwe ari kuitwa nyaya pfupi mune dzimwe ndimi dzinenge Chirungu. Manyorere aChirere anoratidza munhu anoverenga zvikuru uye munhu anoongorora manyorero arikuitwa nyaya navamwe vanyori vedzimwe ndimi. Tudikidiki raifanira kudai riri rimwe remabhuku anodzidzwa muzvikoro nokuti rinopa vana vechikoro mukana wekutapirirwa nemanyorero pamwe chete nokudzidza kuti chii chinonzi nyaya pfupi?Nyaya pfupi dzinonyorwa sei? Zvii zvinodiwa nemunyori kuti azonzi munyori?

Tudikidiki harisiri bhuku rokuti unogotarira woti regai rakadaro. Butiro racho ndiro rimwe rinotanga kukukokwezva mwoyo apo unoona nhanga, majombo pamwe neboniboni akanzi apo mwa-a. Munhu akasarudza mufanikiso wapabutiro anoratidza zvakare kuti ane ziso roudavadi nokuti tunhu turi pamufanikiso uyu tudikidiki asi nditwo tunoita kuti tionekwe hunhu hwedu, tsika dzedu pamwe namagariro edu. Hunyanzvi hwakadai hunofanira kuremekedzwa pamwe nekupembedzwa.

Dzimwe nyaya dziri mubhuku iri dzinokuita kuti uti inga munyori uyu akapindana nedzandakambopindana nadzo wani! Kanyaya kakaita sa'Ndikakurega Handizokuoni', kanokuita kuti uone kukosha kwerudo runonzi rudo. Mumukore uno wekuti kuti uwane musikana unofanira kuva nemari, motokari, imba, nezvimwe zvakadaro, ko vasina zvose izvi vanozopona nei? Kakomana kekushaya kanogona chete kuponesa musikana musi wenjodzi ndiko kanozonzi, handikusiyi. Vangani vakambosanga nenyaya yakadai?
Chinhu chidiki chiripabhuku chisina kuita zvakanaka chiripakubatanidzwa kwaro uko kusina kunyanya kusimba nokuti kunoita kuti rikasire kusakara. Rinoda kubatwa zvakanaka. Pamwe ndongoti zvangu nokuti zvakanaka zvinofanirwa kubatwa zvakanaka ndiko saka rakadarwo. Kubvira musi wandatanga kuverenga bhuku iri ndinongoona zvitsva. Nyaya yekuti tunyaya utwu twurikutaura nezvezvinhu zvidikidiki ndakatoiona mwedzi wapera apo ndaiverenga tunyaya utwu zvakare.
+ article first appeared on:

Tudikidiki,Winner of Zimbabwe's National Arts Merit Award: Literature section 2009,
published by Priority Projects Publishing,Harare.
Orders can be made through Sam Mutetwa:
( +2634775968

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The real role of war veterans in Zimbabwe’s land occupations

Title: ‘War Veterans in Zimbabwe’s Land Occupations: Complexities of a Liberation Movement In an African Post Colonial Settler Society’
Author: Wilbert Zvakanyorwa Sadomba
Publisher:Wageningen Universiteit, Vita, 2008.
Isbn: 9789085049173
218 pages
Reviewer: Memory Chirere

At the core of this well researched and footnoted narrative is the argument that the veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970’s war of independence were and are still the major drivers of the land movement in Zimbabwe and that History cut them a role from which they could not renege.

And the conclusion is: All the major forces in the Zimbabwean milieu in the past decade; the nationalists, President Mugabe and his functionaries, the white farmers and drivers of opposition politics have to contend with the war veterans and the land hungry of Zimbabwe or risk being swept aside. Therefore, this is a book about the history of the role of liberation war combatants in Zimbabwe much as it is about their driving role in the land reform principally between 1997 and 2000.

The question that drives this very detailed book is: Were the land occupations in Zimbabwe driven and sustained by land hunger dating back from colonialism or by the spoiling operations linked to the political survival tactics of ZANU PF, state functionaries of President Robert Mugabe?

This question, as seen from the works of various writers on land in Zimbabwe; Sam Moyo, T.O. Ranger, A. Davidson, Raftopolous, Feltore, Moore and others, creates a decisive watershed.

Working with real dates and statistical evidence, Sadomba shows that the phenomena of land occupations in Zimbabwe is as old as colonialism, admitting that the land issue changed form and intensity during the colonial period but it remained the central focus for the nationalist movement and later fuelled the guerrilla war itself.

Contrary to notions that land occupations and land reform have always been blest by and directed by ZANU PF, Sadomba argues that the issue of land had been put aside at independence because in 1980, there developed a silent alliance between black nationalists, the rising bourgeoisie and white settler farmers. This resulted in a rift within the liberation movement itself and the sidelined war veterans catapulted radical land reclamation from below, targeting the elite, settler farmers and the state itself.

He goes on to show evidence that when the veterans encouraged early land occupations in places like Goromonzi and Svosve around 1997/98 the ZANU PF government was not amused. Minister Msika and vice President Muzenda, respectively to tell the land hungry to vacate the white farms that they had occupied. In the end government had to unleash the security forces. In 1996 the war veterans even forced the government to designate 1 471 farms for compulsory acquisition by November 1997. This was heavily resisted by the white farmers through the courts. In 1997 the war veterans openly confronted President Mugabe himself, loudly demanding welfare benefits and a return to the liberation agenda.

Sadomba further argues that ZANU and President Mugabe only sided with the veterans when the referendum to decide on a new constitution got a ‘No’ vote in year 2000.Just after this result, war veterans occupied a white owned farm in Masvingo. They claimed that the referendum, an event in which the country’s white population had participated more actively that any other election since independence, was in essence an organised ‘No’ vote against the land clause included in the draft constitution.

The clause stated that the land for resettlement would be taken compulsorily and only land improvements would be compensated. Compensation would have to be paid by the British government as the power behind the colonial machinery that had originally appropriated land from the Africans of Zimbabwe.

This book shows how the veterans engineered the movement which attracted peasants, urban workers, professionals, farm workers, political activists, security forces and others. They are moments when war veterans were loaned from where they were highly concentrated like Guruve and Mount Drawin to help in areas of less concentration like Nyabira, Mazowe and Matepatepa. There are sections on various methods of occupying a farm, sections on how how white farmers variably reacted to the occupation of ‘their’ farms, sections on the role of chiefs and spirit mediums, sections on how information was relayed and the resultant changes in the farming systems as a result of occupations.

Going through this work, you feel that indeed there are no permanent friends but permanent interests. This book is a must for all those who wish to get detailed insights into the complexity of relations between and among major players in the land reform of Zimbabwe.

Wilfred Sadomba himself is a veteran of the liberation struggle and this work is an indictment to all veterans of the liberation war of Zimbabwe and elsewhere in Africa that it is important to document their experiences not only on the war but also the aftermaths.

Monday, October 31, 2011

NoViolet Bulawayo: I love language for its beauty if done properly

Below is an interview that Gary Goldon (G) of Daily Brink did with Zimbabwean writer, NoViolet Bulawayo (N) who recently won the coveted Caine Prize for “Hitting Budapest,” a short story depicting the lives of a starving gang of children from a shanty town. Here she talks about her life as a writer.

G: Let me first ask you about your personal background. Where were you born and raised, and how early on did you know that writing was going to be, if anything, your passion?

N: I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and left for college in the U.S. where I was supposed to study law, but since there was no authority to tell me what to do and enforce it, I could afford to follow my passion when I got here, which is how I eventually ended up in the Cornell MFA program. I was into storytelling and writing as early as primary school, mostly because I was raised on orature. But I didn’t know then that I’d eventually live for writing, because growing up I never saw writers around me, and anyway, we were raised to pursue “traditional, sensible careers.” Writing wasn’t one of them, and for this reason I really didn’t expose my pursuits until the Caine, or should I say the Caine exposed me.

G: For our readers who might be unfamiliar with your work, can you briefly tell us what type of literary pieces you’re interested in writing, and what your award-winning story “Hitting Budapest” is about?

N: I’m interested in literature that engages with real social issues, and I love language for its beauty if done properly, as well as great storytelling for how it allows us to experience other worlds, so my pieces try to embody these things. “Hitting Budapest” is about a group of starving kids from a shanty who raid an affluent neighborhood for guavas because they are hungry, and while there, meet a clueless Westerner who fails to connect with them on a human level. The kids steal, eat, go back to the shanty to meet a dead woman dangling from a tree. Their hunger allows them to conquer their fear of death and they steal her shoes so they can sell them in order to buy bread. But the real story is in the class divide, in the loss of innocence, immigration, violence: things that remain under the surface but are very much part of these children’s realities.

G: Congratulations on winning the Caine Prize for African Writing! Tell us a bit about that experience — from the intimacy of writing a book to now having it out in the open for the world to read. How has your life changed in the past few months?

N: The Caine is one of Africa’s most prestigious prizes and it happened to me when I wasn’t trying to win any prestigious prizes; I mean, I was in school when I wrote the piece and like any other young writer, still working on sorting myself out. Having the whole world read the story has been both exciting and terrifying, but I’m not complaining, especially since Zimbabwe has only won the Caine Prize once, in 2004, so of course I’m glad to be representing my country. In terms of changes on a personal level I guess I now have a writing ticket that’s making my life easier. I’m also challenging myself more than ever before; I’m just getting started and I have places to go.

G: Our team was astounded by the power of “Hitting Budapest.” You deal with a lot of themes such as crime, poverty, injustice, and post-colonialism. Because of Zimbabwe’s dramatic predicament, do you think that your work will always involve socioeconomic themes — may it be in your stories or poems?

N: I suspect that my work will always have these political overtones even if things in Zimbabwe changed for the better; that’s just what concerns me as an artist. That, together with my imagination, has no borders; I’m starting to write about America now and those themes are following my work so I guess that’s who I am on the page. Let’s see what I’m doing two, three novels down the road.

G: It often feels like African writers are underrepresented and certainly “under-published” in the United States. Is this an accurate perception, and if so, why do you think that is?

N: It can always be better, but I think as the world is getting smaller people are becoming increasingly interested in reading about other places, so I feel like the time is right for the African writer, but of course books have to be written, and well-written, especially now, in order to find their way to any shelf. To that end it’d be great to see opportunities for African writing improve, especially at the preparation level; that’s what will make it possible for us to be more present on the world stage.

G: Therefore, do you feel a responsibility toward the citizens of Sub-Saharan Africa or South Africa? A need to accurately depict their lives, issues, and everyday struggles?

N: I write what I want, of course, what moves me, but because I engage in real issues, I end up depicting “real lives” and “real stories” even though that’s not always necessarily what I set out to do. One of the sobering moments for me after the Caine was to get emails from people who could identify with the story and my other stories in one way or the other, and while I was happy being reckless and doing my own thing before, I find myself inevitably thinking about the real person attached to my characters now. Still, I don’t want to surrender to accuracy; that would take the fun of creation away. My responsibility, then, would be to write well and be at my best. That’s all I can give.

G: What are some of your future projects? You have been published on a wide diversity of platforms. Are you planning to publish a novel?

N: I’m putting the final touches on a novel and working on an AIDS memoir based on my family’s experiences with the disease. I’m also fantasizing about traveling the world and just writing while I’m at it; for me that’s where the stories are and I think I’d do much more, but of course I’m allowed to have an imagination!

G: I have to ask: who are some of your literary heroes, and why? Are you influenced by any other cultural mediums?

N: There are too many, but the Zimbabwean writer Yvonne Vera is very important to me for being fierce and fearless; her work gave me some serious keys back when I needed to open some doors as an unsure young artist trying to find the courage to write. In terms of influence, I’d say I was raised on orature and so that’s how I came into story. Even today I write through speaking; I literally have to speak the story out while I write it, or before, and in a way I’m able to put myself in the listener’s shoes and decide if the story is worth telling to begin with. There are times when music will carry me through; I don’t write to it, but it can serve as a text that allows me to be in dialogue with it, and of course it can also help me tap into my characters’ spaces, or just serve as a medium when I need to be in a particular zone that I can’t otherwise access on my own.

G: What are you reading right now?

N: I’m just finishing Justin Torres’ short but fierce novel, We The Animals, where I was stunned on almost every page, and I’m reading Jon McGregor’s Even The Dogs, a deliciously challenging read.

G: What is the single most important message you try to convey to your students at Cornell about writing?

N: It’s your story: act like it and write it on your own terms.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ruzvidzo Stanley Mupfudza: unveilling of tombstone

Unveilling of tombstone for the late writer Stanley Ruzvidzo Mupfudza will be held at Mupfudzapake homestead, Guruve on Saturday 22 October 2011, from 11am to 2pm. Information: 0779271147/077242081

"I am concerned with questions of identity. For a long time I wandered through the mazes of our own Zimbabwean condition -- western education, acculturation -- looking for a centre. I even dabbled in Eastern philosophy, always felt on the outside of mainstream society. Then I started delving into our own religion, history and mythology. One of my short stories is called "The Lost Songs" which is about a singer who repudiates his past, his rural family and gets lost in the seedy life of the city, pop music... Then one day he forgets all the lyrics to his songs... Things begin to fall apart around him, his so-called friends abandon him... Then he makes the journey back home, to his mother where he reconnects with his family history and he discovers an ancient mbira which was passed down from generation to generation in his family and through mbira music he finds his place in the scheme of things."
-Ruzvidzo Mupfudza: Conversations With Writers, Friday July 13, 2007-

Friday, October 14, 2011

'Destiny In My Hands' by Primrose Dzenga

(picture:Primrose reading from 'Destiny In My Hands')

Title: Destiny In My Hands
Author: Primrose Dzenga
Publisher: Salmonpoetry, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-907056-55-0
Page Count: 72
(A review by Memory Chirere)
Primrose Dzenga’s poetry collection, Destiny In My Hands is about women’s reflections on their passionate love and sometimes hate and hurt relationships with men. To read it is to snoop and listen to a woman’s heartbeat and passions. You come away with the knowledge that to relate is to invest and to risk.

At this point I want to restate what I wrote and published in 2006 about Shona women’s love poems in Shona: ‘While the traditional Shona woman had the latitude to compose and perform love poetry specifically for her man in bed (madanha), the modern Shona woman of the written word tends to avoid, in several ways, writing fully fledged love poems in the Shona language. After observing some of the key Shona poetry collections, one clearly notes that love poems written in Shona by women, avoids explicit references to ‘women in love’. Most of these poems are very rarely from a woman’s point of view. In the very few poems that portray women in love, there are usually no in depth and meaningful explorations of the love of women for their men.’

But Primrose Dzenga has fearlessly joined the few brave Zimbabwean voices of Kristina Rungano and Eve Nyemba in writing about how a woman in love (and outside love) feels. The themes of power and political violence appear to have been overplayed in contemporary Zimbabwean literature.

In ‘If he made love’ a man skilfully plays an instrument at a public gathering that the woman persona, gawking at him from the crowd, wishes she were the instrument in his very able hands:

‘If he made love,
With such joy and abandon
Tenderness and care
If he caressed
Velvety feverish caresses
Like he did the cords,
Sweet cords of his piano…’

For me, this could be one of the best love poems to come out of Zimbabwe, if it is finally agreed that it is a love poem! It is both direct and indirect.The woman is transfigured by both the music and the intimate way in which the unsuspecting man musician plays the instrument. This is in tune with Shona folklore where a man wins a woman by playing the drum from morning to sunset and a woman wins a man by dancing until she sinks into the ground beneath her and until water pours from the crater that her dancing feet have dug.

The Shona admire such arts to the extent that such a mythical girl is known to this day as Jikinya (the inimitable dancer who stamps the earth with her feet). In ‘Illusions’ the persona bemoans the dearth of true love of the old world. Men of today ‘do not kiss, they bite’ and ‘they do not caress but scratch’. Inversely, the maidens of old: ‘saw the beauty in a man’s eyes’ and ‘the depth and need of a man’s heart’.

In keeping with the old world, you find out that twilight, night, midnight and dawn are important in Dzenga’s poems. Darkness is surely the colour of love. In the village of old, night is the moment for half hidden faces of lovers in true passion, dance and ritual. It is time for truthful and undivided reflection:

‘I think of you at midnight
I dream of you awake at dawn
Conversations in mystic tongue
Lie pearly jewels between you and me’

‘Broken sentences’ is a poem in which a roguish man of today is enmeshed in his roles as woman-basher and senseless ravisher of women. During the moment of the poem, he is finally running away from the innocent woman he has just murdered. But the woman is everywhere; in his impish thoughts, in the beer mug in front of him and in his running legs. He has defeated her but his victory over her is not victory. It is a journey into doom because to kill a woman is to kill your mother and to kill the source. In the Shona world, fighting a woman or one’s mother is like falling into an abyss where you tumble endlessly, hitting against the walls of the tunnel as you descend, and your anguish cries reminding the world of the folly of raising your hand against Mother. And such is the tragedy of action without conscience.

And yet Dzenga suggests that it is not always easy and safe for a woman to give her heart to a man. And when she finally does, as in ‘Whisper’, it is with a sense of sacrificial surrender to fate and the unknown, because he has capacity either to cause her a terrible joy or to walk away with her destiny in his hands.

Sometimes a woman desperately falls for a man and at this point, she wants him to declare his love and set her and him free:

‘Whisper my love, whisper, I need to know
So free and homeward bound I can set and glide
Free my herat and soul the core of me
I am bound and stuck by your magic’

Primrose Dzenga’s poetic voice comes from a little hole on the top of a hill, rolling down fast and sometimes, haltingly towards your waiting ear. Very beautiful and nasty. All in all, these poems shock you with the insistent suggestion that the woman’s heart has twin capacities; to love uncontrollably or to suffer intensely. Suddenly you notice that there are so many women, past and present, whom you owe an explanation, maybe an apology as well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Charles Dambudzo Marechera and Charles Muzuva Mungoshi... the good old days

Harare, June 1987, picture from Ernst Schade

Followers of Dr. Charles Mungoshi literature all over the world will be delighted to know that although he has not been feeling well for the past one year, a new book by the veteran writer (completed before he was taken ill)is soon to hit the streets! His family has decided to go it alone and publish his novel script called 'Branching Streams Flow In The Dark'. The typeset is ready. Those who would want to assist the family to publish this book can contact, Jesesi Mungoshi +263774054341, +263773616247, +263772634918 or email:, thank you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

NoViolet is “with violet” at Cape Town’s Open Book Festival

picture: Oliver Nyambi with Noviolet
Noviolet Bulawayo demystified myths surrounding her name at the recently held Open Book Festival – Free the PEN Reading in Cape Town. Speaking after a reading of some of her poems and a short story, the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing winner and author of the astonishing “Hitting Budapest” allayed fears that her name was an attention-seeking gimmick. The bubbling writer who also teaches Creative Writing at Cornell University in New York unpacked the etymology of “NoViolet – which she says is actually a combination of two words in two languages, isiNdebele and English, translating literally into “with violet”. NoViolet shared the stage with world renowned Trinidadian writer Earl Lovelace best known for his novel The Dragon Can’t Dance who, however, read from his recent hilarious novel Is Just a Movie. Also on stage with NoViolet was the Angolan Jose Eduardo Aqualusa whose chameleon narrator in his novel The Book of Chameleons left us itching for a copy. But it was NoViolet, young and armed with an amazing verbal artistry who stole the limelight and left no doubt that she is yet another big ‘thing’ to grace Zimbabwe’s literary scene from the diaspora. After her reading at the modestly packed Fugard Theatre, NoViolet socialised with Zimbabwean doctoral students at Stellenbosch University, Oliver Nyambi, Kizito Muchemwa, Faith Manyonga and Mickias Musiyiwa who were elated by her promise to unveil a novel and a memoir, soon. NoViolet’s short story is also part of the Caine Prize Shortlist Short Story anthology To See the Mountain and Other Stories. She will be in Zimbabwe over the end-of year festive season.
++By Oliver Nyambi, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

call to support Charles Mungoshi's new book

Followers of Dr. Charles Mungoshi literature all over the world will be delighted to know that although he has not been feeling well for the past one year, a new book by the veteran writer (completed before he was taken ill)is soon to hit the streets! His family has decided to go it alone and publish his novel script called 'Branching Streams Flow In The Dark'. The typeset is ready. Those who would want to assist the family to publish this book can contact, Jesesi Mungoshi +263774054341, +263773616247, +263772634918 or email:, thank you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mashingaidze Gomo takes his Congo war novel to the UZ

picture: Mashingaidze Gomo)

As part of the ongoing University of Zimbabwe Arts Festival, Mashingaidze Gomo: author of 'A Fine Madness' and former Airforce of Zimbabwe gunner and helicopter technician will be talking about and reading from his Nama Award winning novel (which is based on his experiences in the recent Congo war.) He will be joined by Madlozi Moyo who has just published poems in 'Ghetto Diary and Other poems' at the university's Beit Hall on Friday 23 September 2011 from 8-10am. Entry is free!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Primrose Dzenga clashes with David Mungoshi

Primrose Dzenga, author of 'Destiny in My Hands' and David Mungoshi, author of the prize-winning novel, 'The Fading Sun' will be reading and talking about writing on Thursday 22 September 2011 at the University of Zimbabwe's Beit Hall from 8-10:30am. This is part of the ongoing UZ Arts festival. Be there! Entry: free!

Tonight, 21 September: 5-8pm there will be the official opening of the UZ Arts festival at the university's Great Hall and writer Ignatius Mabasa will be guest speaker.Entry: free!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Zimbabwe Writers Association: news release

Following the election of a substantive board of the Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) on June 4, 2011 June 4 2011, dear members , take note of the issues below and regularise your membership by getting in touch with the secretary and treasurer:

a.Ordinary Membership US$10,00. Ordinary membership shall be reserved for individuals who qualify on account of being bona fide authors of Zimbabwe, new or established. Individuals shall willingly join even if writer organisations to which they are already members may wish to or have joined ZWA on Affiliate status. Each ordinary member shall have one vote at any general meeting of ZWA.

b.Affiliate Membership US$20,00 Affiliate membership shall be reserved for willing and recognized Zimbabwean writer organizations and/or associations whose objectives serve the interests and welfare of writers of Zimbabwe whose application for membership is approved by the Board. This shall apply to organizations which seek to participate in the work of ZWA on behalf of their members. Each affiliated member shall have one vote at any general meeting of ZWA.

c.Honorary Membership pay in form of donations. Honorarary membership shall be reserved for members of the cultural community who have a proven interest in the promotion of Zimabwean Literature and the arts in general as well as being supportive of the Organization’s goals and who may add value to it through their links with the funding or business community. Normally they are invited to join by the Board. Honorary members shall not be entitled to vote.

d.Associate Membership US$20, 00. Associate membership shall be reserved for willing Zimbabwean and non Zimbabwean writer or arts organizations, non Zimbabwean citizens or non resident writers who have an interest in literature and the arts and who wish to participate in the work of ZWA at the level of mutual partnership. Associate members shall not be entitled to vote.

For now, ZWA uses Department of English, University of Zimbabwe, Box MP 167 Mt Pleasant Harare Zimbabwe, as its postal address and physical address.

1. ZWA email address:
2. ZWA is now in possession of a National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Registration Certificate
3. ZWA now has a Logo (indicated above)
4. ZWA objectives are explained in the Constitution previously circulated to you
6. Treasurer’s email:, 0712 401 787
7. Secretary’s email and cell number: 0733 843 455

++ From Memory Chirere, ZWA committee member

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Shimmer Chinodya's boy is looking for his mother

Author: Shimmer Chinodya
Publisher: Longman Zimbabwe, 2011
Isbn: 978-1-779-03492-2
Pages: 61
Reviewer: Memory Chirere

Prominent Zimbabwean writer Shimmer Chinodya has published yet another scintillating novel for young people, entitled Tindo’s Quest.

In this story, a twelve year old boy slowly realises that perhaps the woman whom he calls mother is not his real mother! Sadly, nobody in the family is prepared to tell him the truth. He pieces together scanty information and sets out on a solo and unauthorised search for his real mother. His resolve is unbreakable as it is nearly self destructive.

The journey takes this gangly boy across Zimbabwe. First he goes to Chegutu, to pick very vital information, and back to Harare. He does not go back home because he is now very inspired. He hitchhikes to Kriste Mambo and Bonda HighSchools where his mysterious mother could have attended, and back to Harare. He does not go back home because mother must be found. Finally he goes to Bulawayo by train.

The search becomes a fight!

The search for one Maybe Mhlanga takes Tindo through light and darkness. He eventually learns that both his real mother and his foster mother are women who have little choices in this life. His father, Shingi has made many mistakes in his life, one of which being not being able to tell the truth to the right people at the right time.

But because all this happen during the period of Zimbabwe’s recent economic meltdown, Tindo’s quest takes him to the depths of a society torn apart and characterised by deep ironies. Once in a while one’s luck runs low and sometimes one is helped out, ironically by street people, shebeen queens and women of the night. In this story suffering unites people and, strangely, love separates people.

This is a book for ordinary readers and for those into family law, culture, anthropoly and history. It is not easy to search for a woman whose identity continues to shift as you come closer and closer to her. Sometimes you are taken to the wrong woman. Then you begin to meet people who tell you that your description fits a certain woman across the road but her name is not Maybe Mhlanga! You come across people who say they saw the woman you are talking about a few days ago, but when you meet her, you discover that this is not Maybe Mhlanga! So the search continues and people in the Bulawayo townships get to know you ‘as the boy who is searching for his mother’ and your story touches all the gamblers, pimps and the police and the whole community joins in the search with you.

Shimmer Chinodya has been one of the most outstanding writers from among those who became prominent after Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980. His writing tends to dwell on the young individual in the family in the fast changing times in Zimbabwe.

The literary community of Harare gathered at the Zimbabwe- Germany Society early this year to launch Shimmer Chinodya’s German translation of his 2007 Noma Award winning novel, Strife. The German version is called Zwietracht and was translated from English by Dr Manfred Loimeier under the Afrikawunderhorn series.

A veteran educationist, Shimmer Chinodya is close to children’s issues and is also an author of schools textbooks. His series called Step Ahead: New Secondary School English Course is read in nearly all-Zimbabwean schools. In 1995-1997 he was Visiting Professor in Creative Writing and African literature at St Lawrence University in the USA. He also holds an Honours Degree in English from the University of Zimbabwe and an MA in Creative Writing from Iowa. Tindo’s Quest will surely add a feather to Chinodya’s growing plumage.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Eve Nyemba's Look Within/Aus voller Seele

Title: Look Within/Aus voller Seele
Author: Eve Nyemba
Publisher : kalliope paperbacks
Date: 2008
Isbn 978-3-9810798-6-9

These poems in English and German ring with an unmistakable vitality of youth, searing passions and sweet-sad meditations. Of all known women’s poetry of Zimbabwe, Eve Nyemba comes closest to Kristina Rungano especially ‘A Storm Is Brewing’.

These poems are about love; as a woman searches for it or as she gets to know the colour of its brutal insides. These poems are about passionate and difficult men too. These poems are an attempt by the individual to look deeply into herself and take stock of how her mind works or not work. When you are there, you are in Kristina Rungano territory. There is that ability here, to pause and think about the small bricks that make up the huge fabric.

In ‘When Silence speaks’ you find a tattered woman who has had the worst of the ‘man’s world’. Abused, is the word. Deep pain, is her situation. She suffers in silence, and that disturbs. Eve Nyemba uses a dark shade to give the woman a Christ like figure because as she suffers in silence, there are depths in her that the external blows cannot reach. She comes across like many of Yvone Vera’s victim women, especially the sisters in the novel ‘The Stone Virgins’. Their mere presence, in spite of what they have gone through, leaves a discerning reader in awe.

But women need not be victims especially if they learn to ‘look within and find faith’. The poet invites the woman not to go beyond herself ‘out in the pounding rain’ for salvation. But the African woman is beautiful too with her hair ‘the colur of the dusty earth’ and should leave alone the body modifications like plastic surgery from the west.

But Nyemba can snoop well into the world of menfolk and see the other reality of men in the Third world. It is a ‘man’s world’ but how many men own that world? Sometimes, as in ‘Manchild’ men are also victims of various social forces that even they can lose control and cut very lonely, little and saddened images:

His shoulders are hunched
His steps falter
The load on his head
Drains him for reason

This is a man who becomes a father when he does not have the means. He is a castrated fellow, a fatherless father!

Sometimes it is the women who give one another a very raw deal. In ‘You think,’ a woman boasts of how she can take over another woman’s man. In Zimbabwe this husband stealer is known as ‘small house’. So the husband stealer boasts about how the poor man will always run away from the mansion to have a nice time with the small house in the ‘single quarters’.

But if one is looking for the Eve Nyemba philosophy, ‘The secret places’ is the poem:

The secret places of my heart
Exist in the corridors of love.
The secret places of my love
Lives in you.

Indeed, you and me. The secret that the world fails to uncover is Love. Of course, different forms of Love. We need to love and love properly is an idea that runs through these poems. But sometimes in these poems, Love is a tempest, ‘a ravaging vortex of a dust devil’ and when it fails to be consummated as in Consumed, the desire for the other becomes very overwhelming.

This is a collection for those who look for poetry that talks from the soul. Those who look for the secrets that only poets tend to see in every community.
Reviwer: Memory Chirere, University of Zimbabwe, Harare

Monday, August 22, 2011

All the world's a stage

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything

William Shakespeare - from As You Like It 2/7)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dambudzo Marechera died today!

Dambudzo Marehera died today 24 years ago.Must have been a Tuesday.

"Life is a series of minor and major explosions whose dying echo settles comfortably at the back of one's mind" House Of Hunger

"i dont hate being black, im just tired of saying its beautiful"

Saturday, August 6, 2011

'Somewhere In This Country' now in Namibia

If you are in Windhoek, find 'Somewhere In This Country' at the Van Schaik Bookstore at UNAM. Going for N$ 69.95. Tel: 00264612063364 or email

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lion Press books now available in Harare

The Lion Press books are now available in Harare at; Innov8 Bookshop at 23 George Silundika Avenue(close to Herald House),the Bookshelf (Arundel village)and the Avondale bookshop. Mobile:00263772425387 Tel;00263764400 email:

and many more!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zimbabwe International Book fair: INDABA 2011 PROGRAMME


Venue: Crowne Plaza Monomutapa Hotel

08:15 to 08:30 Arrival & Registration: ZIBFA Secretariat
08.30 to09.00 Welcoming Remarks
Chair: Dr Xavier F Carelse, ZIBFA Executive Director
ZIBFA Chairperson Mr Musaemura Zimunya
09.00 to 10.00 Keynote Address:
Professor Helge Ronning “Books for Africa’s development”.
10.45 to 11.15 Tea break

11.15 to 12.00 Opening Ceremony
Chair: Dr Xavier F Carelse, ZIBFA Acting Executive Director
Norwegian Embassy, Culture Fund, British Council
Honourable Dr L Dokora, Dep. Min. of Education, Arts, Sport and Culture
First Session Part One: Book Policy
Chair: Dr Xavier F Carelse, ZIBFA Acting Executive Director
12.00 to 12.30 Mr Kay Shiri “Book Policy: The key to development”
First Session Part Two: Cultural Diversity
Chair: Mr Charles Geti
12.30 to 12.50 Dr Angelina Kamba “Cultural diversity:a creative force for development”
12.50 to 13.00 Discussion
13.00 to 14.00 Lunch

Second Session: Raising Social Awareness
Chair: Ms Maria Tsvere
14.00 to 14.20 Dr Emma Phiri “HIV and stigma”
14.20 to 14.40 Mr Milton Kamwendo “Books as an instrument to spur development”
!4.40 to 15.00 Dr Orseline Carelse “Herbs, nutrition and health”
15.00 to 15.30 Discussion
15.30 to 16.00 Tea break

Third Session: Getting Books to the People
Chair: Mr Samson Dube……………………………………..
16.00 to 16.20 Mrs Themba Malapila , “African librarianship in the 21st century”
16.20 to 16.40 Mrs Talent Nyathi.”Flying on the wings of my soul”
16.40 to 17.00 Mr Mukesh Kumar “International perspectives on Zimbabwean publishing”
17.00 to 17.30 Discussion
Fourth Session: Technology for the Challenged
Chair: Dr X F Carelse
09.00 to 09.20 Mrs Carla Leonardi “Technical aids for children with disabilities”
09.20 to 09.40 Mrs Hannah Maisiri
09.40 to 10.00 Sr Catherine Jackson and Nozipho Khanda “To be blind in Zimbabwe in a global
digital age
10.00 to 10.30 Discussion
10.30 to 11.00 Tea break

Fifth Session: Legal access to copyright and the threat of piracy
Chair: Mrs Sarah Moyo
11.00 to 11.30 Mr Greenfield Chilongo “Effective licensing models in literature”
11.30 to 12.00 Mr Cletus Ngwaru “Piracy and book development”
12.00 to 12.30 Discussion
12.30 to 14.00 Lunch

Sixth Session: Information Technology
Chair: Mr Fred Gweme
14.00 to 14.20 Mr Collence Chisita “Harnessing ICT to transform the roles of library professions
provision of library services”
14.20 to 14.40 Mr Thomas Gama “Freedom of information dissemination”
14.40 to 15.00 Dr Ron Braithwaite “e-books: Africa can leapfrog digital technology”
15.00 to 15.30 Discussion
1530 to 16.00 Tea break
Rapporteur’s Presentation
Chair: Dr Xavier F Carelse, ZIBFA Acting Executive Director
16.00 to 16.45 Mrs Josephine Muganhiwa “Rapporteur’s report”
16.45 to 17.30 Discussion
Closing of Indaba

18.00 to 20.00 Publishers’ Book Awards
+ The ZIBFA Indaba is an annual Conference which is the major forum for debating critical issues to the book industry in Africa. It is also a unique national platform for networking and collaboration among stakeholders

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NoViolet Bulawayo wins 12th Caine Prize for African Writing

Caine Prize Official Press Release:

Zimbabwe’s NoViolet Bulawayo has won the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for her short story entitled ‘Hitting Budapest’, from The Boston Review, Vol 35, no. 6 – Nov/Dec 2010.

The Chair of Judges, award-winning author Hisham Matar, announced NoViolet Bulawayo as the winner of the £10,000 prize at a dinner held this evening (Monday 11 July) at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.

Hisham Matar said: “The language of ‘Hitting Budapest’ crackles. Here we encounter Darling, Bastard, Chipo, Godknows, Stina and Sbho, a gang reminiscent of Clockwork Orange. But these are children, poor and violated and hungry. This is a story with moral power and weight, it has the artistry to refrain from moral commentary. NoViolet Bulawayo is a writer who takes delight in language.”

NoViolet Bulawayo was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She recently completed her MFA at Cornell University, in the US, where she is now a Truman Capote Fellow and Lecturer of English. Another of her stories, ‘Snapshots’, was shortlisted for the 2009 SA PEN/Studzinski Literary Award. NoViolet has recently completed a novel manuscript tentatively titled We Need New Names, and has begun work on a memoir project.

Also shortlisted were:

Lauri Kubuitsile (Botswana) ‘In the spirit of McPhineas Lata’ from The Bed Book of Short Stories published by Modjaji Books, SA, 2010

Tim Keegan (South Africa) ‘What Molly Knew’ from Bad Company published by Pan Macmillan SA, 2008

David Medalie (South Africa) ‘The Mistress’s Dog’, from The Mistress’s Dog: Short stories, 1996-2010 published by Picador Africa, 2010

Beatrice Lamwaka (Uganda) ‘Butterfly dreams’ from Butterfly Dreams and Other New Short Stories from Uganda published by Critical, Cultural and Communications Press, Nottingham, 2010

The panel of judges is chaired by award-winning Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, whose first novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. His second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, was published by Viking this March.

He is joined on the panel by Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey, publisher, film and travel writer Vicky Unwin, Georgetown University Professor and poet David Gewanter, and the award-winning author Aminatta Forna.

Once again, the winner of the £10,000 Caine Prize will be given the opportunity to take up a month’s residence at Georgetown University, Washington DC as a ‘Caine Prize/Georgetown University Writer-in-Residence’. The award will cover all travel and living expenses.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by Sierra Leonean writer Olufemi Terry. As the then Chair of judges, Fiammetta Rocco, said at the time, the story was “ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative. Olufemi Terry’s ‘Stickfighting Days’ presents a heroic culture that is Homeric in its scale and conception. The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future.”

Previous winners include Sudan’s Leila Aboulela, winner of the first Caine Prize in 2000, whose new novel Lyrics Alley was published in January 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson, as well as Binyavanga Wainaina, from Kenya, who founded the well-known literary magazine, Kwani?, dedicated to promoting the work of new Kenyan writers and whose memoir One Day I Will Write About this Place will be published by Granta Books in November 2011.
Story courtesy of our sister blog,WEALTH OF IDEAS

Monday, July 11, 2011

Zimbabwe International BOOK Fair 2011

The ZIBFA invites all interested parties to participate in the special six-day event as follows:
EXHIBITIONS venue: Harare Gardens, Julius Nyerere Way
Admissions Free!!! To the Exhibition, 28 July – 30 July 2011
Time: 1000 – 1700hrs.

venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel: By registration

Day 1: 25 July 2011 08:15 – 1700hrs
-Book Policy
-Providing Appropriate Reading materials for development,
-Books for social progress and Challenges of Access to books.

Day 2: 26 July – 08:30 -1700hrs
Technology for the challenged, Licence, copyright and the threat of piracy, Information technology, positives and negatives

Reading, Writing and Literature for The Youth
Date: 27 July 2011 By Registration
0900 – 1700hrs at Crowne Plaza Hotel

The Zimbabwean Writer and The Computer, The Future is Now.
Date: 30 July 2011 By invitation

LIVE LITERATURE CENTRE and Children’s Reading Tent
1000hrs-1600hrs 28 July-30 July 2011

+++ For further details contact ZIBFA on: 04702104, 04704112, 04702129

Monday, June 27, 2011

Genitals are Assets: a full book review

(Watch Ruparanganda)

Title: Genitals are Assets:
Subtitle: Sexual and Reproductive Behaviours of ‘Street Children’ of Harare, Zimbabwe, in the era of the Hiv and Aids Pandemic
Author: Watch Ruparanganda, Dphil
Publisher: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011
Isbn: 978-3-8443-3080-9
Pp 303
++ Orders:
Reviewer: Memory Chirere, The Herald, 27 June 2011, p9.

Watch Ruparanganda’s book, Genitals Are Assets is extremely thought provoking and will make you want to laugh and cry at the same time. It explores the sexual and economic relations amongst the street children of Harare, Zimbabwe in a language that is effortless and compelling. This is a book for both the deep academics and ordinary readers. Underneath everything else, this book goes into important theoretical and methodological debates about power differentials between men and women in society

The author spent over fifteen months on the streets of Harare and the adjacent areas, slowly and carefully stalking, watching and listening to the street youths in order to understand their life styles and sexual behaviour and also to get to their individual life stories.

In many of the interviews, the youths who live in the open become so free and familiar that they refer to the author as ‘Big Dhara’, which is the Harare slang for boss. The author chats to them as they ‘work’, as they relax on the pavements and as they hang around the bars and the restaurants. They form a very deep sub culture with a well developed and clever language. For example, a street dweller is called mugunduru (one who sleeps anywhere, anyhow). Sexually transmitted diseases are called 'sikon’o'. Men with lots of money are called 'mhene'.

This is a groundbreaking book in that; while much research and writing has been done before on survival strategies of street children in Zimbabwe by the likes of M. Bourdillon, L. Dube and Y. Chirwa, little research had gone into exploring sexual encounters, dating, courtship and general romance conducted by street youths who are normally beyond the term child.

This book reads like a tragic-comedy, beginning with the origins of orphanage, destitution and street dwelling. Consider this: A girl from Zvishavane gets to Masvingo and during her second night at Mucheke bus terminus, two boys force themselves upon her. She resists all night by locking up her legs until the early hours when she gets exhausted and succumbs. When she flees to Harare, a fight ensues between two boys on who is to have her first. They do not bother if she consents. But as the boys are scrambling over her like that, an elderly destitute shoos them off, drags the girl behind the public toilet and the rest is history.

Even boys are not spared. One of them is sodomised at the age of eleven when he comes to live on the streets. He is quite bitter that the boy who molested him dies before he revenges. That culprit is swept away by stream waters during a heavy storm whilst sleeping in one of the city centre drainage canals.

It is clear to the author that sexual matters on the street are power issues. The street girls offer sex to men from mainstream society and to some destitute men in exchange for money, food, clothing and protection. They are not allowed to work or to openly associate with men other than those who ‘win’ them and begin to act as their husbands. But these are tough ‘marriages’ because often the men refuse to wear protection and are very brutal and uncompromising.

These youths who live in the fringes have some survival strategies too. For instance they believe that it is better to use herbs from the Mbare township and market to cure sexually transmitted diseases than to go to some public hospitals. They have what are called street ‘pharmacies’. Those who become very ill retire towards Mukuvisi River to rest, slow down and die, far away from the prying eye of the public.

But they also have various link with the bigger society because some bigger and more experienced boys are sometimes hired for sexual gratification by well to do lonely women in the leafy affluent suburbs whose spouses ignore them or have died of Aids or some natural causes or have gone to the diaspora. The youths are picked from designated points in the city at specific moments. The boys receive money, beer, clothes and other goodies. And those who seek pleasure from these people are from every class and race of society.

Maybe, the most exciting part of this book is the revelation that ritual sex has become rife in Harare! Businessmen pay young boys to have sex with prostitutes in hotels and harvest sperm in condoms for ritual purposes. Sperm is associated with regeneration of life and could be used to boost one’s business in terms of popularity, growth and profits. On being asked why they consent to this, one street boy says: ‘Big Dhara, a mugunduru is like a soldier. We are prepared for anything.’ Sometimes the street youths are taken to hotels in the avenues and are given new clothes in exchange of their old clothes with their sweat and dirt which are taken away for juju.

This is a very honest book which demonstrates the link between the sexual behaviour of street youths and the rest of society and provides a sound justification for arguing that there is need to adequately deal with both the Aids epidemic and the question of street youths. It is a book that all policy makers of the developing world need to read.

The author holds a Dphil in Social Sciences and currently he is the Chairman of the Department of Sociology at the University of Zimbabwe where he is a lecturer. His forthcoming book is called, Children With Adult Hearts which is about child headed households.

++ The author wishes to chat with you at mobile:00263773000080 0r