Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

30 June 2011


Edited by Kaiyu Xiao, Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
244 pages
Publisher: World Knowledge Publishers, Beijing
October 2010
ISBN 978-7-5012-3895-8

 Launch in Grahamstown, South Africa
July 6  2011 
@ Eden Grove, 12 o'clock
No Serenity Here, an anthology of African poetry in English, French, Portuguese Amharic and Arabic translated into Chinese launched during the Shanghai Biennale in October 2010, will be launched in Grahamstown on July 6.

In the anthology, original poems in English, French, Portuguese, Arabic and Amharic were published alongside their Chinese translations. The volume includes Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, along with voices from 25 African countries, and was translated by a team of Chinese poets under the guidance of Kaiyu Xiao.

Edited by Xiao in China, Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre in Berlin and Phillippa Yaa de Villiers in Johannesburg, No Serenity Here celebrates established writers such as Ama Ata Aidoo (Ghana), Makhosazana Xaba and Lebo Mashile (South Africa), Veronique Tadjo (Cote d’Ivoire) and Fatima Naoot (Morocco), and introduce lesser known yet brilliant voices like TJ Dema (Botswana), Shailja Patel (Kenya) and Tania Tome (Mocambique), as well as Amanda Hammar and Joyce Chigiya (both from Zimbabwe).

Besides the veterans like Soyinka (Nigeria), Kofi Anyodoho (Ghana), Chirikure Chirikure (Zimbabwe), James Matthews (South Africa) and Keorapetse Kgositsile (South Africa’s Poet Laureate, whose poem lent the title to the anthology), the volume also showcases the prodigious talents of  Shabbir Bhanoobhai (South Africa), Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Ghana), Tolu Ogunlesi and Obododimma Oha (Nigeria), Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi) and Beaven Tapureta (Zimbabwe), Keamogetsi Molapong and Dorian Haarhoff (Namibia), Hama Tuma and Alemu Tebeje Ayele (both from Ethiopia).

“We read widely, but it was the contact with contemporary poets that brought the project to life and delivered its unique vibrancy and varied voice,” says Ferrin-Aguirre, who also worked until recently as a programmer for the Berlin Poesiefestival and researcher for the Literatuurwerkstatt, a global database of poets which collects recordings of poets reciting their work in their original languages in its Lyrikline project.

Acclaimed Chinese poet and academic Kaiyu Xiao admits in his foreword: “the poems … would make me physically quiver as the poems shattered my expectations.” Many of the poets are appearing in print for the first time, and most of them for the first time in Chinese.

“African writers have made an important contribution to the world reservoir of thought on the human condition; this is just a small part of the literary wealth that we have to offer. China has given us so much, and I’m proud that we are reciprocating,” said writer and performer de Villiers.

Published by World Knowledge Publishers and commissioned by artist and philanthropist Mr Hu, the tri-continental project also received support from the Jiang Nan Art and Design Foundation and the Moonchu Foundation.
For further information contact Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
Isabel Ferrin-Aguirre
Kaiyu Xiao             

 Zimbabwean Poets Featured in No Serenity Here


Chirikure Chirikure enjoying a copy of No Serenity Here (PHOTO: Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Joyce Chigiya
Amanda Hammar

     Beaven Tapureta  


28 June 2011

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 29

By WINZ Staff Writer

Win-Zimbabwe Director, Beaven Tapureta

An hour-long Win-Zimbabwe/Global Arts Trust book presentation function which was supposed to take place at Glen View 2 High this week has been deferred due to logistical hiccups beyond control.

The function had been coordinated to belatedly mark the annual International Day of the African Child, which falls on June 16. With the books, Win-Zimbabwe had aimed to provide reading pleasure to the youths so as to avoid cases of them dropping out of school to venture into crime and violence.

Win-Zimbabwe Director Beaven Tapureta said the deferment, decided between the school headmaster Mr. Masiwa and the Win-Zimbabwe/Global Arts partnership, is not likely to be forever as there is another opportunity to present the books during the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) in July.

“It remains our wish to reciprocate the support Glen View 2 High has given us. Anyway, a wish to pray is a prayer in itself, one day it will transform into performance. There is the Book Fair coming next month, which is almost the right place to exchange books and I think we will take advantage of that,” he said.

The books, mostly African titles sourced from individual writers Virginia Phiri and Beatrice Sithole, are expected to whet the reading and writing interest of the writers’ club members’. The books shall also add onto to the already existing list of African books in the school library.

Tapureta said his association has been inspired to open a mini-library at the office and is soliciting for book donations from individuals and organisations. The books will be donated to school writers’ clubs across the country to encourage the culture of reading African literature.

International Day of the African Child is a day set aside to commemorate lives of South African students who were massacred by police during apartheid era when they took to the streets to demand learning in their own language.
This year, the Day ran under the theme “All together for urgent actions in favour of street children”.


The Book CafĂ©, Fife Ave, Harare
Thursday 07 July, 2011

In July, Zimbabwe celebrates the biggest annual showcase of literary events through the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF). Since the first ZIBF in 1983, the event has grown in leaps and bounds making it a major force in the development of Zimbabwean literature.

On July 07, the early evening Book Cafe literary discussion will look at ‘The Story of Zimbabwe International Book Fair’ discussing how the ZIBF began and explore its success and challenges.
There is no doubt that such platforms have had a great impact to those who love literature and advocate for its development.

The history of the ZIBF has an important bearing to the lives of many and to some it has been a very emotional experience. The discussion will present an opportunity for educating and informing those who are not aware of its history and importance.

Please put the date in your diary and we hope to see you then.

By Extra-Blessings Kuchera
Pamberi Trust,
Personal-0773 838 488

Tinashe ‘Mutumwapavi’ Muchuri


In commemoration of International Day of the African Child

Where Punha (not her real name) comes from there are no streets as we know them today in the city. There are no storm drains to hide and sleep in. There are no cars to guard to earn dollars. There are no alleys to light fires during the cold nights. Where then would she escape from the abuses at home?

In the village there are no avenues that one could safely follow to get some help. Villagers urge her to keep silent and move on with the abusing uncle or aunt. They would tell her that it is better to endure the suffering at the hands of relatives than at the hands of unknown people.

She is told that those who endure the pain of abuse would be blessed in the future. She is told that to be beaten up by a relative is to be loved. To be abused is to be cared for. The parent who doesn’t beat a child doesn’t love and care for him. Then if Punha tells her mother that her father have abused her, she is beaten up for lying. No one would listen to her. 
But then, even bigger girls are forced to live with a man who would have raped them. The elders argue that no one marries an abused girl. So the abuser is asked to pay lobola for his victim. 
There is nowhere to run for Punha. 
There are many unknown cases of abuse in modern day rural Africa, cases that have left dreams of the new generation devastated. Punha’s dream, to be someone in life, is thrashed. Wouldn’t it be wise to remember the rural girl child as we celebrate the brevity of their South African counterparts who perished for fighting for their rights?
Surely, until we meet again, let’s think about it.

[Source: Hardy Griffin: “Voice: The Sound of a Story”]

Conversational:  the narrator has a casual conversation with the reader. Example:  “You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain’t no matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told the truth mainly. There was things which he stretched but mainly he told the truth.” [Adventures of Huckleberry Finn]
This voice is personable, sarcastic, and is almost always in the first person POV employing colloquialism and slang. It is a great way to show the narrator’s personality, although the writer still needs to control the details given.
Informal Voice:  the narrator used casual, everyday language but isn’t personality-heavy as the conversational. An example is the narrator of “Cathedral”: 
“I remembered having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke because, as speculation had it, they couldn’t see the smoke they exhaled. I thought I knew that much and that much only about the blind people. But this blind man smoked his cigarette down to the nubbin and then lit another one.”
The third person POV can employ this voice, but remains close to mind of the focus character. The Informal Voice is middle of the road. It is the most commonly used in contemporary fiction (it doesn’t get too personal, yet it is not too formal)
Formal: lacks the chattiness or spoken-story quality of the conversational and informal. It is detached from the characters, observational. Suitable for third person POV, although it can work in formal first person POV 
Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them, it was necessary to point.  [One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez]
The bugle call shatters the stillness of the shrine. Its familiar but haunting melancholy cannot fail to move. Even the President seems misty-eyed behind his glasses. Close to him in the widow’s place of honour, I am aware of his every movement. I watch him without moving my eyes. Perhaps it is not mist in his eyes but the film of my own sudden tears. The badges sprinkled on his sash office shimmer and recede against the green of the material. [“The Sound of the Last Post”, Petina Gappah]
Ceremonial Voice:  picture a tux-wearing master of ceremony, an Abe Lincoln, a Thomas Jefferson, or MLK of a narrator. A Nelson Mandela. You see this one in Dickens and other classics, although it appears in some contemporary writing: 

Oliver Twist’s ninth birthday found him a pale thin child, somewhat diminutive in stature, and decidedly small circumference. But nature or inheritance had implanted a good sturdy spirit in Oliver’s breast: it had had plenty of room to expand, thanks to the spare diet of the establishment; and perhaps to the circumstance may be attributed his having any ninth birthday at all. [Oliver Twist].
This voice is rarely in the first person POV it slows the reader down, giving a great sense of occasion and importance to the story. 
Note: the above are arbitrary categories and do not cover all the voice possibilities. Your own voice will come from practice. Don’t force it. You can help it by reading your stories aloud.


Online poetry workshop has been extended and will now run until end of July. Join us!

27 June 2011


Young poet Tilda Gozho reciting her poem at the Win-Zimbabwe Literary Treats function at the ZIBF last year in July
Writers Memory Chirere (left), Emmanuel Kuyeri (standing) and David Mungoshi (right) seen here at the Win-Zimbabwe 2010 Writers End of Year Get-Together at the Book Cafe

Writers Beatrice Sithole (left) and Virginia Phiri (right) at the Win-Zimbabwe official Launch of 2011 Events Calendar held in May at the Book Cafe

22 June 2011

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 28

Welcome to our 28th  issue. Cheers to all of you following the blog! Thanks for the passion, we are proud of you. We would like to pay tribute to the late poet and writer Julius Chingono as we publish a review (adapted from the Amabooks blog) of his posthumously published works featured in the anthology 'Together'. The anthology also features  another energetic writer John Eppel. Congrats to Masimba for his new book, well done! 


Masimba Musodza

Press Statement
UK based Zimbabwean author, Masimba Musodza, has ushered in a new era in Zimbabwean literature by publishing the definitive first science-fiction/horror novel in ChiShona and the first in that language to be available on amazon Kindle.
MunaHacha Maive Nei weaves issues of greed & corruption, sustainable developement, international corporate intrigue and concerns around bio-technology. Chemicals from a research station conducting illegal experiments begin to seep in to the local ecosystem, causing mutations in the flora and fauna. When a child is attacked by a giant fish, the villagers think it is an afronted mermaid-traditional custodian of the ecology- and seek to appease it according to the prescription of folk-lore. However, the reality of what is happening soon becomes evident, a reality more terrifying than any legend or belief.
MunaHacha Maive Nei was written for the next generation of ChiShona readers, taking a language that has long contended with encroaching westernisation in to the modern world of information technology and new media. It was written in the United Kingdom, a country that considers ChiShona a language widely spoken enough to have official documents and information printed in. Musodza demonstrates a remarkable flair for ChiShona and overturns the notion that it is not possible to write "complicated stuff" in a language that is often shunned by the educated back home. Influenced by Professor Ngugi wa Thiongo's Decolonising the Mind, Musodza has been an advocate for the sustained use of African languages. ( see this article here) It is his hope that MunaHacha Maive Nei will generate more than academic interest. The print edition will be published in the next few weeks by Coventry-based Lion Press Ltd.
Masimba Musodza was born in Zimbabwe in 1976, and came to England in 2002. A screenwriter by profession, he published his first book in 1997, The Man who turned into a Rastafarian. He is perhaps best known in literary circles for his Dread Eye Detective Agency series. Musodza lives in the North-East England town of Middlesbrough.  

(For more information, please contact Masimba email


The late Julius Chingono

John Eppel

Stories and Poems by Julius Chingono and John Eppel
’amaBooks Publishers, Bulawayo. ISBN: 978-0-7974-4228-3
University of New Orleans Press. ISBN: 978-1-60801-049-3
University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. ISBN: 978-1-86914-213-1
154 pages,
Published 2011

Together is an exciting new offering that celebrates the writing of two of Zimbabwe’s veteran authors, Julius Chingono and John Eppel. In Together, the Bulawayo-based publishers, ’amaBooks, the University of New Orleans Press and the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press break new ground in Zimbabwean English language writing; the anthology bridges the gulf between the black and white literary traditions. While the roots of this chasm lie deep in Rhodesian colonialism, the short stories and poems collected here literally bring the two traditions together in fascinating ways. Interestingly, it is the crisis of the past decade that seems to have revealed elements of shared experience across racial lines.

Julius Chingono brings a distinctive humour to his stories and poems about a country in the grip of an economic and political crisis. Despite the massive failure of the postwar government to deliver the economic fruits of independence to the majority, Chingono exhibits an uncommon ability to laugh at the absurd that now passes for the norm; a supposedly revolutionary party that imposes election candidates and arrests party supporters who question such practices, a lifestyle built around waiting where shortages are commonplace, the predatory behaviour of public toilet cleaners who practically rob the public and more.
But there is more than wry humour here. Against a background of lofty government programmes such as Housing for All by Year 2000, Health for All by Year 2000 and others, Chingono has no qualms satirizing these failures. In the poem, 20-044L(page 23), he writes: 

The number on my door
reads 20-044L,
but it is not the number
of my house.
The scrap metals
that make the door
a motor car number plate.

Never losing his humour, Chingono’s stories and poems comment on the lives of ordinary men and women – the working classes – who do not necessarily lose their ambitions because the government has launched Operation Murambatsvina to destroy their houses and places of business. In the story Shonongoro, for instance, a harmless-looking public toilet cleaner gently taps into traditional Shona speech registers between in-laws to trap a patron to part with a few dollars! In Chingono’s world, there are few saints!
Read Murehwa, the story of an old bachelor who dies without ever engaging a lover and discover Chingono’s hilarious narration of the sahwira’s prescription to “fix” the dead man’s stubbornly erect male member.
Although the humour of these stories and poems is an enchanting antidote to the depressing statistics of the news media, just under the surface lurks tear-jerking evidence of mass trauma of the past decade. In The Dread Gentleman, for example, one meets a mysterious man who goes through the motions of selling wares that are not there. That is until the man invites a group of Apostolic churchmen to bless the piece of ground on which he plans to start a new shop. The language of the churchmen’s prayers takes an overtly secular ring; “Good God, your son, oh Lord, that his enemies may be vanquished. His children are hungry because the devil has destroyed their livelihood. Our sons and daughters sleep out in the cold because the devil has removed all shelter from around and above them.” It becomes evident that the man is one more victim of the widely-condemned government forced removal effort ominously-called Operation Murambatsvina. And yet despite the evidence of trauma, his spirit is not crushed; he rejects the victim tag by re-establishing his retail business at the newly-blessed spot!
John Eppel is master of satire. His short stories and poems are more overtly political, displaying a certain anger at the turn of events. The stories and poems comment on the often contradictory political process in post-independence Zimbabwe. The outbreak of violence during elections is a worrying symptom of something more ominous for Eppel. In Broke-Buttock Blues, for example, Eppel reminds the reader of the violence of past elections (p.102):
They burned all our mealies, our chickens, our dog,
they burned all our mealies, our chickens, our dog;
my uncle, they hit him to death with a log.
Eppel sees a pattern of state violence against the citizenry right from the moment of independence. In Two Metres of Drainage Pipe and Bhalagwe Blues, Eppel evokes memories of the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 80s. In Bhalagwe Blues, which borrows its title from one of the Gukurahundi torture camps, Eppel relives the misery of detainees (p.126):

We dig many graves every day in the sun,
we dig many graves every day in the sun,
they tease us then kill us, they do it for fun.

In Discarded, Eppel shows us what can happen to institutions in the wider context of the chaos. The land reform programme is quickly hijacked by fake war veterans who have no real interest in farming and violence is mistaken for patriotism. The line between crime and political activism is blurred.
Who Will Guard the Guards? is an hilarious take on what happens when law enforcers become victims of an economic downturn; they turn criminal. A benevolent white Zimbabwean offers free accommodation to a young black police technician who later steals the good Samaritan’s belongings. When the victim visits the police station, he finds the senior police officer investigating the crime actually wearing his stolen belt!
Bloody Diamonds touches on the controversy surrounding the recent diamond mining ventures in parts of Zimbabwe. For Eppel, the corrupt manner in which the diamonds are mined is symptomatic of the government’s lack of responsibility to its citizens.
But it is not all gloom and doom for Eppel. He pays homage to ordinary Zimbabwean women of WOZA in Song for WOZA who stand up to government tyranny (p.100):

Women of this land arise,
fling your windows open wide,
let the breeze of change, denied,
let it take you by surprise.
Amandla omama!

Taken together, Chingono and Eppel’s writings complement each other beautifully. They challenge the reader to reflect on Zimbabwe’s lost decade. Together is a delightful – sometimes painfully delightful read worth every penny that reflects on some of Zimbabwe’s most pressing contemporary issues in surprising ways. It also is a volume that begs one to rethink how Zimbabwean literature has been read and theorized over the years.

Joseph Chikowero
University of Wisconsin-Madison
 (Review is taken from the Amabooks blog) 



The Intwasa Short Story Competition is an annual literary event seeking to promote original creative writing talent in both English and Isindebele. The competition has two awards; the Yvonne Vera award for best short story in English and the N. S. Sigogo award for best short story in isindebele. The prize for each award will be $500

There is also a junior section of the competition open to high school students in Zimbabwe. The prizes for the junior sections will be $200 for each award.

The English Award is named after the late Dr. Yvonne Vera who is arguable one of the best writers writing in English to emerge out of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole. The Ndebele award is named after Ndabezinhle S. Sigogo. Mr. N. S. Sigogo was a prolific writer and probably the most published Ndebele writer with over two dozen publications to his name.

The Short Story Competition is supported by Hivos, Africalia Belgium, Rural Libraries and Resources Development Programme (RLRDP) and Turn Up College.  

The deadline for submission for the short story competition is 15 July 2011. Adult stories should not be more than 3000 words. The maximum words for junior stories should be 1500. Stories can be sent to  or Hard copies can be sent to Intwasa at 403 Fourth Floor, LAPF House, 8th Avenue and Jason Moyo Street. Bulawayo .  Stories should be clearly marked Senior or Junior Section.

For more information about Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo visit