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.


Title: Sunflowers in Your Eyes – Four Zimbabwean Poets
Editor: Menna Elfyn
Publisher: Cinnamon Press
ISBN: 978-1-907090-13-4
Year: 2010
Reviewed by Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Zimbabwean poetry has been largely a choir of male voices. The absence of women is too visible in KZ Muchemwa’s Zimbabwean Poetry in English (1978), Musaemura Zimunya and Mudereri Kadhani’s And Now the Poets Speak (1982), Flora Veit-Wild’s Patterns of Poetry in Zimbabwean Poetry (1988) and more recently Jane Morris’ Intwasa Poetry (2008). The agenda of this book is to give women their voices as the editor Menna Elfyn outlines in her preface, ‘this book goes some way in redressing this imbalance.’

I read the book with so much relish. It is an empowering book in many ways. In poetry as well as in the other artistic fields, the Zimbabwean woman is often restricted to a subordinate role as a muse, confidant and comforter. This book brings a refreshing insight as the four poets – Ethel Kabwato, Fungai Machirori, Joice Shereni and Blessing Musariri reach out to many dreams.

While, it is easy to get lost in the maze of implications concerning gender, these poets write without shouting WOMEN even though sometimes it is a legitimate claim for dignity and equal opportunities. The book is rich in the variety of expression drawing on different styles. The themes are very much wide-ranging and incisive.

What is remarkably interesting about the poetry is the autobiographical element, which is often central to women’s poetry as it allows them to express the sufferings, the pain and the deferred dreams of their personas. However, in Sunflowers in Your Eyes, the poetry is celebrating a life that despite its hardships and injustice is often happy. It is an expression of injustice but also a celebratory expression of life.

Ethel Kabwato is the most political in the book as she tackles the difficult subjects that have come to define what has been dubbed the Zimbabwe crisis, subjects of land, violence, patriotism through an intelligent employ of irony and wit. Despite being the youngest, Fungai Machirori’s poetry is of yearning, of self-exploration, of seeking answers to questions relating to her identity as a born free, ‘a composition ‘of many things. Joice Shereni writes more about personal relationships and relationships with the larger society. Blessing Musariri’s ‘assured poems’ are of resilience, of journeying away because as she asks in Holding on, ‘Everybody has moved on/What (are) you doing standing still?’ Hers is a more daring poetry that challenges us to alter our perceptions and our minds.

The four young women have proven beyond doubt that Zimbabwean women can write poetry. Sunflowers in Your Eyes will considerably increase the depth and breadth of our knowledge of ourselves and a constant reminder of the redefining of those selves. It is a very personal and yet political collection.

Call for Submission from 'amaBooks

A collection of Short Stories

'amaBooks of Bulawayo and Parthian Books of Wales are planning a book of Zimbabwean short stories, to be published in early 2011 in both Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.

There is no particular theme, but we would prefer stories about contemporary life in Zimbabwe, ideally of around 3000 words.

Short stories for consideration should be sent to

The deadline for submissions is July 15.

24 May 2010

Call for Submissions from WIN-Zimbabwe

Writers International Network-Zimbabwe proudly announces the launch of its new official blog. Here you shall find more about us, and our running activities.

Apart from our own official material which we shall put on the blog, we welcome contributions (in all languages spoken in Zimbabwe) dealing with aspects of spoken word/African oratory, writing, reading, and books.

Guidelines to contributions:

Material should be send by email to

It should be original, or its source acknowledged.

Full name as well as complete contact details of writer should be included. (Photo is an added advantage). The name of the writer should be provided even when a nom-de-plume is used.

The Editor retains the right to: (a) accept or reject material (b)edit material to be published (c) request that the writer edit material, either before or after acceptance (d) choose the particular issue in which accepted work is published.

There is no payment for contributions; all is done in the interest of developing and highlighting Zimbabwean literature.


Beaven Tapureta.

20 May 2010


On a pleasant Saturday afternoon, May 8 2010, Writers International Network Zimbabwe held its first writers’ meeting in the Theatre in the Park (Harare Gardens) with renowned writers Memory Chirere and Virginia Phiri gracing the occasion. Before the meeting started, the writers observed a moment of silence in memory of fellow writer Stanley Ruzvidzo Mupfudza who recently passed away in Harare. Then Julius Chingono, established poet and creative writer, gave welcoming remarks, explaining the importance of networking. Poet Tinashe Muchuri aka ‘Mutumwapavi’ brilliantly and practically led participants in learning various tricks that make a good and unique performance. He called up a few poets to perform impromptu and then asked the audience to analyze their performances. The whole exercise was refreshing as poets learnt certain loopholes in their performances. Daniel Hwendaenda, author of three Shona novels, talked about some of the basic principles of writing, lacing his presentation with creative humor while Beaven Tapureta highlighted on what the organization is all about. Various poets and singers had a chance to entertain and display their gifts at intermissions. The turnout was superb, the participants assorted. There were academic writers, performance poets, budding musicians, published and unpublished writers. This invigorating function left many craving for more and truly, surely, there is more to come. Many thanks go to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair for according us a place to create, have fun and share ideas and experiences. WIN-ZIMBABWE also acknowledges the support exhibited by everyone who participated in this function. The organization will carry out another literary and poetry afternoon next month, details of which will be available soon. Above all, it is the free, practical knowledge exchanged and learnt from the May 8 meeting that will revolutionize our writing weaknesses into strengths, our dreams into actual performance.

Writers International Network Zimbabwe, or WIN-ZIMBABWE, was formed in January this year with the main objective to “create an effective network of fellowship among published and unpublished Zimbabwean writers, whether they are in or outside the country and to network with other African writers’ organizations, publishers, groups and individuals with a consensus to advance local literary discourse which will benefit new writing talent in Zimbabwe”.

An acrostic for WIN-ZIMBABWE
By Regina S. Ngwenya

Writers are like an exotic flower shedding seeds yonder
International boundaries, creating a beautiful powerful
Network of winning artists, voices rising to echo through

Zimbabwe’s stunning walls; poetry the drum that beats
In our hearts and minds, as we dance to its rhythm
Moving us to the Glory ahead
Bright to those who seek it
Audible to everyone across nations
Beckoning you and I to a shining new star
Writers International Network Zimbabwe,
Every step of the way is clear