Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

28 May 2010

Matters of Life by Sympathy Sibanda

Title: Matters of Life
Author: Sympathy Sibanda
Year: 2009 [book available in 2010)
Publisher: Veriest Solutions International (
ISBN: 9780797440135
Reviewed by WIN-ZIMBABWE (Beaven Tapureta)

This anthology of more than fifty poems is an assortment of emotions, ideas and experiences. One wonders where all this splendid talent had been hiding. Carefully selecting her words, measuring her rhythm with the momentum of feelings, Sibanda’s voice has broken the prejudice that young Zimbabwean women are mere spectators in a world fast becoming a single village.

Sibanda tackles issues of "the now" and blends them with simple but insightful language. The recurrent motif one finds in this collection is that of giving hope where there is no hope. In this day and age, society has been bogged down by lots of social ills, and yet so often we have applied the un-applicable scientific solutions. Sibanda gives the prophetic key to a better world.

Poems such as 'Was she the one?', 'A letter of warning', 'Women it’s time to shine', are hinged upon the emancipation of women, particularly the girl child, from the savage manipulation by selfish man.

The agony of separation, the power of true friendship, AIDS, drug abuse, incest and abortion are also some of the issues the poet cleverly handle.

'Our Pride' is a powerful piece decrying the neglect of our history in favour of the Western alternative. The youths of today suffer a historical culture shock that has seen them admiring the foreign more than the local.

Sibanda brings to our attention the urgent need to protect the boys instead of haranguing much about the protection of girls. “Are girls rare and endangered species/ like the pangolin and white rhino?/why do we overprotect them and forget the brothers?’ goes the challenge in the poem Endangered.

'Matters of life' was launched in Harare at the National Art Gallery on May 7, 2010, during Mother’s Day celebration. Truly, a worthwhile tribute to all women. The book is available at various Zimbabwean book shops such as Innov8 and Baroda Bookworld.

If truth be said, this is a gripping collection that will inspire other young women and humanity at large. Sympathy Sibanda is currently studying for her Honours degree in Sociology at the University of Zimbabwe.

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