Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

27 December 2010

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 9

Welcome to the ninth edition of our newsletter, hoping to find you in good health at this festive moment. Please enjoy.

Argentinean Writer visits Zimbabwe

Carlos Gamerro, author and translator from Argentina, and Victoria Noorthoorn, an independent curator from the same country, gave a talk about critical enquiries and curatorial practices respectively at the National Art Gallery today December 27 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. 

The programme was dubbed "Reflections from Contemporary South America". 

Gamerro mainly dwelt on his first novel Las Islas (The Islands) which deals with the war fought between Argentina and Britain some time back. He read extracts from this novel, explaining what the war (known as the Falklands War) meant to the Argentinean people.
Gamerro, who writes mainly in Spanish, said in Las Islas he wanted to tell the lies and the truth about war, thereby merging history and fiction. He said he was so touched by interviews he held with the young boys who participated in the war whose strategic plan was a disaster.
Las Islas will be published in England in 2012 as The Islands by a publisher called And Other Stories Press.

Noorthoorn, who is preparing for the 11th Biennale de Lyon in France, spoke at length about her works in the previous years around the world. Noorthoorn urged artists not to tackle stereotypical issues but to explore and bring in new ideas to their works.
"It is hard to produce or create from a place outside oneself," she said.
Her concept of originality was supported by local author Blessing Musariri who said that even in writing writers have tended to believe that anything negative sells.
Noorthoorn touched on the problems faced by curators around the world, including censorship.
This event was attended by various visual and literary artists who were interested in how best they can bring new aspects to their kind of art.

Gamerro was born in Buenos Aires in 1962. Apart from his first book, he has published El sueno del senor juez, El secreto y las voces, La aventura de los bustos de Eva and short story collection called El libro de los afectos raros. He has also written criticism and translated into Spanish Graham Greene's A World of One's Own, W.H Auden's The Dyer's Hand, Harold Bloom's Poetry and Repression and many others. 

The programme "Reflections from Contemporary South America" was the third edition of the National Art Gallery's Harare Conversations, a platform created for the exchange and discussion on diversity of issues relevant to global contemporaries.

With Harare Conversations, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe aims to "reengage the local and international art community" by providing for local artists to dialogue with international artists.

Win-Zimbabwe mull integrating mbira group

Hatineti Mbira Crew at the Writers’ End of Year Get Together, 11 December

Win-Zimbabwe will next year consider integrating Hatineti Mbira Crew so that the group provides traditional entertainment at all Win-Zimbabwe functions, adding an important dimension to the way the association will conduct itself.

The Epworth-based group put up an impressive performance at the Book Café during the Writers’ End of Year Get-Together two weeks ago. Although they played for a short time and were not able to do their farewell slot at the end of the programme due to time constraints, they proved a force to reckon with.

Having mbira at writers’ functions has proved to be a cultural way of getting into the mood for anything that writers want to do. Mbira is also good background music for poetry performances, which are part of the writers’ world.
Later on, it would be possible to produce a Win-Zimbabwe Poetry CD/DVD with mbira music as its exclusive background.

Currently Christopher Mtetwa (far left in the picture), who is also involved in various national AIDS awareness campaigns, leads the group.

21 December 2010


Reviewing all our posts on this Blog, and what we have managed to accomplish, is a delight. A delight in that we did all we can with the little from our pockets that we had, sometimes taking from our families' budgets. The Blog carries the real story of Win-Zimbabwe, 'a slow, honest, gripping melody'. The networking and learning was good for us as a growing association.  We have come this far because of the dedication to literature development, a dedication that characterises Zimbabwean writers and colleagues who gave a nod to our desperate knocking as we looked for a chance to be ourselves. We know we were not able to reach out to all of you because of the afore-said constraint but we always believed that you were with us in spirit. In fact, many of you bombarded us with emails  wishing you were here with us to attend to our goal-oriented activities. We love you all.
Win-Zimbabwe is never a false dream, but a challenge for us to explore the real position of a writer in society. And no matter how the writer looks, scruffy or tidy, he/she receives from Above, if at all he/she is a writer. Our minds as writers connect to the Great Consciousness, a gigantic store of knowledge only accessible to those to whom the 'insanity' is given, the insanity to be whoever you want to be, weaver of words. A long road awaits us all who are only armed with nothing but this little it...writing. It does not pay to write, worse when its poetry, and yet some of us rush to that which is but a desert. The reason for pursuing our dreams as aggresively as such is because we were born to create palaces in the desert of money, where there is no rain we make rain, where there is no grin we make green and pave the landscape of the heart with words, birds, music, silence, a movement, in the trees. We build life where there is death. Such is our character, but we are only human.
Parents, teachers, community leaders, friends and relatives, must indeed understand that all the social ills we face in society can be solved through reading and writing. This is a craft (and a culture) only left as cure for the poverty threatening to tear our Africa apart.
Indeed, it has been a wonderful year working with you all.
For 2011, we leave it to Almighty, for only him can bless our road. But blessed we were, and blessed we remain.
We would like to wish you all a

HAPPY XMAS AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR, and remember to buy a book by a local writer as an Xmas gift for your loved ones. May God bless you.

18 December 2010


After the demise of the Zimbabwe Writers Union which was indeed a union of/for writers, the authors were neglected like they were orphans. With the coming of Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) this year, we hope that the situation will change. There are indeed so many gaps in the letrary sector which sometimes the smaller writers' associations are not able to address. ZWA, we hope, shall bring back sanity in the writers' world in Zimbabwe. Writers International Newtork Zimbabwe fully supports ZWA which, as an umbrella body for all writers, will also help today's writers' children and other budding writers in the future. Click here for more:


Mbizo Chirasha reading one of his published poems during the Get-Together mini-fest

Part of the audience that happened to be at the Book Cafe, taking time to enjoy poetry

15 December 2010


Writers International Network Zimbabwe would like to express its utmost gratitude to all those who attended, those who did not make it but supported and made our End of Year event at the Book Café on 11 December worthwhile . Above all, we would like to thank the Book Café for providing the stimulating venue and supporting us with so much encouragement and understanding. We wish you all an accident-free, happy Xmas and a very literary, successful New Year. Our Blog, just as each of us writers, has no holiday.
From the Win-Zimbabwe Board and Director

(courtesy of the Zimbo Jam)
Josephine Muganiwa, Win-Zimbabwe Board Chairperson, presenting her welcome remarks

Mr. Chirumbwana, and student (Glen View 2 High)

The trio from Bulawayo, singing, they also supported Malinga's performance

Nqobile Madzibaba Malinga performing

Edwin Mhandu, Win-Zimbabwe Board Member, giving a speech

Tinashe Muchuri, talking about the need for training budding poets

Albert Nyathi, presenting his paper Origins of Praise Poetry

Josephine Muganiwa, her child (seems to be saying "ma, that's an unusual performance there!"), Dakarai Mashava in white shirt and Memory Chirere in the background

PSP, dishing out The Devil is Man

Julius Chingono, reading his poem 'Dai'

Memory Chirere, speaking before presenting his story from his collection Tudikidiki

Noah Mangwarara with Director of Ceremony, Monica Cheru

Phillip Chidavaenzi, reading from his work in progress

Nqobile Malinga with Noah Mangwarara (right)

Virginia Phiri, presenting her paper titled Writing: Eyes, Ears and Mouth as Witnesses

Memory Chirere, Emmanuel Kuyeri and David Mungoshi, enjoying the proceedings

Barbra Anderson, a gifted poet, doing what she knows best

Dakarai Mashava in white shirt, Beatrice Sithole(center) and Virginia Phiri

13 December 2010


11 December was a writers’ world; minds went up in a fiery passion for the written and spoken word.

Despite kicking off late because of the morning rains, the Win-Zimbabwe’s bonus event for the year 2010, Writers’ End of Year Get Together, held at the Book Café, was a place to be, with sizzling performances, presentations, and debates. Within the nearly two and half-hours, the house witnessed a love and togetherness that is purely literary, true, and happy. How pleasant it felt to notice writers coming together with their spouses and kids.

All the confirmed three presenters arrived earlier than the other invited participants whom we feared could decide to let the event pass due to the rains. However, it was the day the Lord had made.

Epworth-based Hatineti Mbira Crew, a four-member group, launched the Get-Together with cool rhythmic traditional vibes. Given the cultural environment at the Book Cafe, mbira sounds put you in the spirit of Africa, peaceful and rich.

Writers began to trickle in twos and threes and suddenly the show gained momentum. The rains either were forgotten or had ceased outside. Inside the Book Café, the aura had changed.

In her opening remarks, Writers International Network Zimbabwe Board Chairperson Josephine Muganiwa said Win-Zimbabwe has witnessed tremendous growth since its inception in January this year. She said despite challenges, the organization decided to organize this Get Together as a way of celebrating writing and performing talent just as any other artists.

One of the country’s accomplished dub poets and musician Albert Nyathi gave an illuminating presentation about the Origins of Praise Poetry, particularly in Ndebele culture.

Nyathi noted that in the past a praise poet, known as an imbongi in Ndebele, played an important role in the village as the King’s public critic. An imbongi represented community views and he would convey ‘people opinion’ to the King at public functions through praise poetry. Nyathi also said the word ‘praise’ meant a lot of things and it should not mislead people into believing that an imbongi always showered the King with praise even when the people were suffering. Naturally, the imbongi served as the King’s adviser.

African praise poetry belonged to different clans, said Nyathi who added that an imbongi would touch on different things such as religion, public opinion, and community politics. Totems are another form of praise poetry used when someone did anything benefiting the family. According to Nyathi, praise poetry responded to the socio-economic situations affecting the people.

Asked during discussions if there were no female praise poets in those days Nyathi said he knew of a few but acknowledged the reciting of totems by women as an indication that women were also involved in oral poetry.

Performance poet Tinashe Mutumwapavi Muchuri said training is an important element in a poet’s career, particularly when the poet uses the stage. After presenting a poem in segments, pretending to be forgetting the lines, he explained later that this could be the result of lack of training. He gave an example of how a pair of youths was dragged from the stage where they were badly performing in Bulawayo. The youths, Muchuri said, were reportedly drunk. He stressed that had the youths been trained on pre-performance behavior, they would not have shamed themselves in front of the audience.

Muchuri’s presentation got some weight from Nyathi who urged the performers not to drink or use drugs before they get to the stage because this extremely spoils the show. Nyathi talked of one of his shows where he performed after having taken multiple swigs of beer. He said the show was terrible and from this, he leant that a performer is also a worker and it does not serve well to go to work drunk or on drugs.

“In 2007, there were some poets who were excommunicated from the adjudicating team of a certain sponsored spoken poetry competition because of unbecoming behavior instigated by alcohol,” said Muchuri.

Poetry workshops, he observed, create opportunities of learning and groom the poet into becoming a professional being.

Virginia Phiri, author of three gripping novels that touch on taboos or controversial subjects, presented a paper titled Writing: Eyes, Ears, and Mouth as Witnesses.

She began her presentation by thanking Win-Zimbabwe for inviting writers of all lifestyles.

Numerous private writers get together events have taken place but this one is different and special. Looking at the invitation list of WIN Zimbabwe it seems to have taken care of writers of all lifestyles. It is therefore appropriate to congratulate WIN Zimbabwe for this foresight. I am sure that this event will attract other players in the literary circles such as publishers, copyright administrators and booksellers to take part in future events,” she said.

After also taking the writers back in time to her days when she was involved with helpful established authors, Phiri articulated the relationship existent between the eyes, the ears and the mouth, saying these three organs are instrumental to the growth of a budding writer. The eyes stand for observation, the skill “to have a closer and critical look at possible settings, situations and characters on the chosen topic”.

Phiri also added that the eyes enable us to read extensively as this is advisable for both seasoned and budding writers. She said that even the blind people use their ‘sixth’ sense to see.

“A good example is the case of a blind young man Nathan Zaranyika whose story appeared in the Newsday of December 4. He is quoted as having said “I can see obstacles about twenty metres away”. Artificial eye aids such as spectacles and contact lenses do help those who are short sighted,” said Phiri.

As for the ears’ role, she said ‘attention’ is crucial, as this would be of great help where dialogue will be used in books, plays and film scripts.

“For intense non-fiction work artificial ears such as tape recorders assist a great deal in conducting interviews for purposes of getting information for use in writing,” explained Phiri.

She added that the mouth is best used in conjunction with the eyes and ears to get the desired result. The mouth features prominently in showing off writing through public readings, recitals, acting and singing for purposes of entertainment, education and worship, said Phiri.

Phiri presentation also touched on the local languages, which she said are in bad state. She urged writers to be proud of their mother languages and write in those languages to avoid their extinction.

“The poor examination results at schools are an indication that all is not well. It would be a good idea if the Zimbabwe African Languages Writers Association (ZALWA) could be revived,” she said.

In between the presentations, there were spectacular performances and readings by poets and writers such as Patrick Hwande, Cynthia Flowchyld Marangwanda, PSP (Police State Poet), Barbra Anderson, Mbizo Chirasha, Julius Chingono (did a poem called Dai), Memory Chirere (read from his collection Tudikidiki), and Phillip Chidavaenzi (read from work in progress) and Nqobile Madzibaba Malinga who was backed by three girls from Bulawayo.

Mr. Chirumbwana who brought two students, without the poet Tilda Gozho who was on the programme, represented Glen View 2 High School. Another school, Vimbai High in Norton, did not make it.

Well-known motivational speaker and publisher, Noah Mangwarara (Veriest Solutions International), came in with book prizes, which he gave away. “There is no sweetness without sweat and there is no pleasure without pain,” he told the audience in his inspiring speech.

Gracing the occasion also were David Mungoshi (The Fading Sun), Mashingaidze Gomo (A Fine Madness), Beatrice Sithole and Ruby Magosvongwe (ZIBF Board) and many other artists.

"Writers' Get-Together In Pictures" in our next issue.

07 December 2010



Nqobile Jacobson Malinga doing one of his greatest poems at the Win-Zimbabwe Literary Treats programme during ZIBF 2010 ( Venue: Live Literature Centre)


Tinashe Muchuri - The ' Haiku' poet of Zimbabwe

He needs no introduction to those who have frequently attended the arts festivals and workshops around Zimbabwe. Muchuri's performance has won him a battalion of young enthusiasts who one day dream of making it to the higher shining stages like HIFA, SADC Poetry Festivals, and many others; stages which Muchuri has already reached. He has helped groom some of them at his free time. His poetry has appeared in various international poetry journals such as Rattlesnake, Illuminations and a Shona anthology called Jakwara reNhetembo published by Mambo Press. Muchuri is also an actor, having had a role in the local soap Tiriparwendo, produced by Aaron Chiunduramoyo, a well known author and actor. Also known as Mutumwapavi, Muchuri will speak about the need for training young poets as a cultural imperative. Drawing from his experience as a poet, he will enlighten the Get Together on the benefits of preserving talent, and we are guaranteed of a one or two dynamic renditions from him.

04 December 2010


Virginia Phiri (pictured)– “My Job is to Write”

Phiri will be presenting a paper titled “Writing – Eyes, Ears, and Mouth” on the day of the writers’ year-end get together. Born in 1954, she has published three novels, namely, Desperate, Destiny, and the latest Highway Queen. Together with other members of the Zimbabwe Women Writers, she participated in the project commissioned by UNICEF (1994) of writing readers for primary schools. These readers contained biographies of prominent women occupying unusual jobs, such as pilots, bus drivers, medical doctors, and painters. She has contributed to several anthologies published by ZWW. In 2003, she participated in the Book Fair in Prague (Czech Republic). Virginia Phiri is also an orchid expert and an orchid, “Polystachia Phirii”, was named after her. (taken from We hold on to the word of Lizard, Alena Rettova, 2004)). This is a brief sketch of Virginia 's bio, she has done a lot in supporting the cause of female Zimbabwean writers.

01 December 2010

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 8

It's almost a week to go before writers and poets level the literary vibes at the popular Book Café in Harare. The ‘End of Year Writers Get Together’ roars into life on December 11 2010 at the said venue from 10 am to 1 pm, with some of Zimbabwe’s talented writers and poets set to render ‘thirst-quenching’ speeches, readings, and performances. The event is running under the theme “Building a Future through Writing”. Renowned dub poet and musician Albert Nyathi will speak about the origins of spoken word/praise poetry in Ndebele culture, and of course he will give you a taste of “My Daughter” and other poems of his. New generation writer Tinashe 'Mutumwapavi' Muchuri will explore "the paucity of training workshop facilities for aspiring poets"; distinguished poet Julius Chingono will read from his exciting yet gripping poems. There will be a lot more performances by younger, gifted poets.

Above -Samuel Mahuntse performing at Win-Zimbabwe's Literary Treats (ZIBF 2010)

Above- Albert Nyathi

Julius Sekai Chingono