Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

17 June 2011

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 27


On Thursday, June 16, people around the world honored the African child with a series of shows and workshops designed to remind governments and NGO’s about tackling issues of street children. This year the Day was observed under the theme “All together for urgent actions in favor of street children”. Writers International Network Zimbabwe will, belatedly though, commemorate this important Day in its own unique way. Below, we publish the statement released by UNICEF to mark the 2011 International Day of the African Child.   


NEW YORK/ADDIS ABABA, 16 June 2011 – Thousands of children in Africa are experiencing violence, exploitation and abuse on a daily basis. The situation is especially stark for children living and working on the streets.

On the occasion of the 21st annual Day of the African Child, UNICEF calls on governments to strengthen support systems, which provide the basis for a more protective environment in families and communities to keep children safe and strengthen families through the provision of basic social, health and education services.

“These children have already been forced from the protection of their homes, only to be subjected to even greater risks on the streets,” said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director. “On the Day of the African Child -- and every day -- we must do all we can to address the reasons why so many children are separated from their families, and invest in new efforts to protect them, no matter where they live.”

Widespread poverty, conflicts, HIV and AIDS and climate change as well as violence in the home are forcing more and more children to leave their homes to live and work on the streets, exposed to harm and exploitation. Many others end up in less visible exploitative situations, working in households, on farms, in mines or even in armed groups.

In sub-Saharan Africa, approximately 50 million children have lost one or both parents, almost 15 million of them due to AIDS. Some of them are forced to grow up on their own, with limited or no support from adult caretakers. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of child labour in the world with more than one-third of children aged 5–14 being engaged in the hardest forms of labour.

“The issue of children working and living on the streets in African towns and cities is only the visible face of large-scale violations of rights,” said Agn├Ęs Kabore Ouattara, Chairperson of the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. “It is a consequence of socio-economic factors such as poverty, demographic explosion, rural-urban migration, political crises, as well as inter-personal problems such as violence and rejection at home in dysfunctional families.”

These challenges reinforce the need to strengthen the role of families and communities in promoting and protecting the wellbeing of children. As a consequence, governments, with support from partners, need to invest adequate resources in the disadvantaged rural or provincial communities, to reduce disparities between regions and income groups as well as to fight discrimination based on sex, age, ethnicity amongst other factors.

Over the past years, a number of African countries have achieved important gains in the implementation of the child rights framework. Many countries have introduced social protection mechanisms including cash transfers, which play a key role in supporting vulnerable families and preventing children from leaving their homes to secure some income on the street or in other exploitative labour conditions.

UNICEF is collaborating with governments throughout the continent to create a protective environment by both fostering social welfare programmes and engaging in advocacy efforts to protect children from exploitation and abuse.  (UNICEF Press release)

By Beaven Tapureta

Chimanimani Park, Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe
A seed ought to grow, one poet said.
Similarly, Win-Zimbabwe has moved a step forward by engaging a voluntary coordinator for the Manicaland region, situated east of the country. Luxuriant natural surroundings characterise this region. 

Clever Simbarashe Kavenga, a published author and columnist, recently volunteered to lay the foundation for the association’s launch of Manicaland chapter.

Kavenga is the writer of Mashiripiti Edehwe ra Rungano (2007, Lleemon Publishers, Harare), a Shona book for primary school pupils. The book was nominated in the 2008 National Arts Merit Awards.
 Born in Manicaland, Kavenga attended a number of primary schools which include Bende Primary School in his home area of Nyanga, Mutumba Primary School in Shamva and Chipindura High School in Bindura. He went to Chipadze Secondary School also in Bindura up to Form Three. He then completed his Ordinary Level at Bende Secondary School in Nyanga.
After finishing his O level he transferred to Harare in 1994 to pursue his writing dreams.
In 1993 Parade magazine published his poems No peace, No Hope and Tell me my dear Africa.
Through avidly and actively participating in the writing skills training workshops and writing competitions which were organized by various writers’ groups and association, Kavenga rapidly sharpened his writing gift.
The best of his poems found their way into a magazine for young and upcoming writers called Tsotso Magazine. The magazine was to publish a number of his poems in its subsequent issues until its death in 2001.
In 1998, Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe, to which he affiliated as a member at its inception in Harare,  produced an anthology of Shona poems called Ngoma Yokwedu which included nine poems by Kavenga. Later on, most of his works were featured in magazines and newspapers such as Kwayedza, Knowton News Magazine, Moto Magazine, New Voice Magazine and the Writers Scroll (a BWAZ newsletter).
Kavenga has won a number of writing competitions which include the National AIDS Theme Song run by Ray of Hope around 2000 and won Sunday Mail first prize in a poetry competition in August 2005.
Asked what challenges he faced as a writer, Kavenga said, “Writing is a journey where you face so many challenges. First it seems people do not take writers seriously. For many new writers, breaking into print is a dream; they have suitcases filled up with rejection slips and to keep on writing while you have rejection slips flying back at you needs a big heart that never gives up.”

Kavenga, who has featured in international poetry anthologies such as War Against War and Defiled Sacredness (both published by Mensa Press), has a column Nhasi Tiri Tose in the Pungwe News, a community paper in Mutare where he lives with his wife and two children Miriraichiedza, a girl, and Tawanakunaishe, a boy.

His offer to assist Win-Zimbabwe in its bid to spread word about importance of reading and writing to all parts of Zimbabwe will see the association’s dream to give a platform to new writers (and their ethnic languages) come true. Meanwhile, another poet from Manicaland, Ishamel Penyai, has self-published an anthology titled Nhekwe Dziri Kanyi, which features poetry in Ndau, Manyika and other ethnic languages spoken in Manicaland. Please enjoy one of Penyai’s poems adapted from a 2011 Calendar that he produced to promote his anthology.

(Win-Zimbabwe’s new volunteer for Manicaland, Simbarashe Clever Kavenga, can be contacted on 0772691094 or email .)

Tinashe ‘Mutumwapavi’ Muchuri

Where are the storytellers/sarungano?
I remember very well the days when my grandmother would gather all children around the fireplace to tell us exciting stories. She was a gifted storyteller. She told us stories about human beings, kings and their kingdoms, stories about rivers, mountains, animals, and village taboos. Grandmother would tell us about our cultural history and taught us to recite our traditional totems (praise poetry). Grandmother taught us ‘unhu’ or ‘ubuntu’. She taught us African values.

Every night, there were sessions of folklore and history. She would narrate to us why her children were given the names they had.  When grandmother bore a girl child, she named her Zvanyanya (It has become worse). Her second born son was named Manunure (You have rescued me). This was part of the cultural learning, which was available long ago.

My worry is few women have ventured into the literary arts. Women, being natural storytellers, are surprisingly taking the back bench in matters of literature. If you go around the bookshops you will find that there are more titles written by males than by females.

It is even sad that plays normally staged in Harare and elsewhere in the country are mostly written by male writers. Women are pigeon-holed into the acting role and few of them break new ground as playwrights. Only a handful of women like Tsitsi Dangarembgwa, Rumbi Katedza, Yvonne Vera, Sharai Mukonoweshuro, Eresina Hwede,Valerie Tagwira, Virginia Phiri, Barbara Makhalisa are among a few others who have put their pen to paper to tell their stories.

If you also attend storytelling functions more men would be performing as compared to women. How many of our women are telling stories to their children? Can you, my sister, tell me why you are not telling stories today? Men learnt about storytelling from their mothers and grandmothers. Our sisters are tomorrow’s mothers and grandmothers. Sisters tell us those stories and we will dance and sing. We have to reclaim our culture.

Take the challenge Sarungano and claim your once strong position in the family and country. Because of stories told by my grandmother, I have no problem with relating to anyone in the society. She made me believe in diversity since we lived in a diverse community.


KwaMutare Kumakomoyo

Vakadaidzira vari pamusoro pegomo –Kumakomoyo!
KwaMutareyo! Kumakomoyo!
Samanyika woye! Wasu woye!
Tiri tese takadaira tikati-
“Tisu anhu acho – Tisu!
Tisu ana wasu acho
Anhu acho emene emene – EMENEE-E.”

Safiriyo Madzikatire akadzikatira nadzo nyambo
Kwende kwaHunyani nemhene yake Katarina
Sally Mugabe akati madzimai mune basa
Nyika yakaungane munyara dzenyu
Mirukai nyamashi mutonge namwe.
Ndicho ichocho Dhube wakadaro
Dambudzo Marechera wakachizwa – waiyapoo
Mutirowafanza akati pezvichafanza
Ndinonga ndiripo semwoto
Rekai Tangwena akati – rekai arekete
William Ndangana akati chinyi chemunoreketecho
Sithole akati ndiyani unorekete muberere

Hazvinei Sakarombe akati NDINI ndinobviroreketa
Uri kude kutekesa ani panhepenyuro
Chibwechitedza akati yaitedza ndiyo hondo
Saka ndati pururudzai nyika iya yakauya zvachose
Iri kure inosvisa – iri munhekwe iri kanyi
Hedzo nhekwe dzenyu dziya dzekanyi idzo!

Bikai sadza tiende kanyi
Ngekuti nhekwe dzedu dziriyo kanyiyo
Hekanikani woye – hekani nyamashi
Mhururu nemuridzo kanyiyo
Mhururu nemuridzo kumakomoyo
Anofembe forya ngaafembe tione
Ngekuti Nhekwe dzedu dziya Dziri pano
Nhekwe dzedu dziya DZEKANYI

Na Ishmael Penyai, Mutare

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