Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

19 April 2012

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 47

Josephine Sithole Muganiwa, WIN Board Chairperson

Our hearts are heavy with grief at the loss of our friends, the Ambassador of Spain Pilar Fuertes Ferragut who supported the arts wholeheartedly, Walter Lambert Muparutsa, a veteran artist whose love for WIN was great, and Elsworth Benhura who was a committed young writer. This newsletter has been painful to compile as the death of every artist diminishes us as we are part of their lives. But even at this moment of sadness, let us celebrate the lives and works of these great people. May their souls rest in eternal peace.


Veteran television, radio, theatre and film actor Walter Lambert Muparutsa, who died on April 12 at the Avenues Clinic after a long battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, will be greatly missed for his immense contribution in the local arts and culture industry. Muparutsa died at the Avenues clinic after developing complications during a blood transfusion. 
For WIN, as it is for every Zimbabwean artist and/or arts organization assisted in various ways by Muparutsa, his death has robbed us of a fearless guide.
In April 2011 WIN entered into a strategic partnership with Global Arts Trust of which Muparutsa was Director. The partnership aims to assist WIN members whose works can be adapted for the stage or film. The partnership has seen WIN  being housed at the Global Arts Trust office. This made WIN admin work easy.
Soon after launching the partnership, WIN  went ahead to hold an official launch of its 2011 Activity Calendar at the old Book Cafe at Fife Avenue Shops. It was at this launch that Muparutsa showed a strong passion for his roots as he called for the establishment of a new Shona dictionary that captures Shona slang and other fast developing unrecorded aspects of our mother languages. 
In our WIN Newsletter, Issue No 31, we published Muparutsa's profile under the Regular Writer column done by poet Tinashe 'Muchuri. However, Muparutsa's resume extends beyond this profile. He had grown to be a grandfather of the arts, especially Zimbabwean theatre. 
And to this great man who was an all-rounder par excellence, we say, Thank you Walter for opening our minds. We shall miss you. May your soul rest in peace.

Walter Lambert Muparutsa presenting a speech at a WIN 2011 Events Calendar launch last year at the old Book Cafe, Harare

Walter in his youthful days, the unforgettable smile

Seen here with a group of poets at  WIN 2011 Events Calendar launch last year at the old Book Cafe

A legend, Go Well Mudhara


Elsworth, who was one of the 21 victims of a bus accident that took place on April 16 in Ngundu, will be remembered for her passion for the arts as a writer, film maker, story teller and performance poet. She wrote poetry, short stories and film scripts. At the time of her death she had just completed a novel manuscript. Some of her published works include short stories Face of the Future and Pictures in the anthology Light A Candle published by Zimbabwe Women Writers in 2006, English poems in another anthology by Zimbabwe Women Writers published in 2004  and another short story in the anthology Creatures Great and Small published in 2004. Elsworth was a visionary, a young woman of integrity and substance. She will be greatly missed.

Beaven Tapureta Interviews Elsworth Benhura  
(First published in the Writers Scroll, No 2, 2003)

Singing Mama’s Song

In your eyes
Red tears glitter
He has made you cry again
Mama you try to conceal it
But eyes tell it all
You try to smile
But your lips tremble
Listen now mama
I am singing your song...

BT: Can you tell me something about yourself?

EB: I was born on the 11th of July in 1979 in Chegutu. At present I am working for a Travel Company which promotes tourism. I am also a script writer for the company’s TV programme called Travel and Tourism. The programme used to be called 'This is Zimbabwe'.
BT: How did you discover the need for literature in your life?

EB: It was at school. I always told a friend that I will one day write a book and get published. And it happened that when I was doing my Lower Six one of my stories got published in a magazine called New Generation edited by Mr. & Mrs. Hansley. Then in 1997 I won the magazine’s Writer of the Year competition. So all this set the pace for my future literary missions.

BT: Have you published anything so far such as a novel?

EB: No, not yet. But I have some of my works published in anthologies and magazines. For example, my poem called ‘Woman of the Land’ and a story called ‘Ray of Hope’ which is about adoption in the African society, were featured in the book Reflections published by Zimbabwe Women Writers.

BT: How did you discover Zimbabwe Women Writers?

EB: Actually Mrs. Hansley introduced me to ZWW.

BT: Which genres do you use?

EB: I write poetry and short stories in English and Shona language.

BT: Do you have problems with any of those languages?

EB: I have problems with the Shona language, for me it is too prohibitive...too conservative. English helps me to put my thoughts down as they come out.

BT: By going through some of your poems I have discovered that the motif they share is gender imbalance. In other words you speak for women. Can you briefly elaborate on your theme?

EB: As far as I can tell, a woman, especially the rural woman, is forgotten most of the times. Domestic violence is rampant in the locations. We see it every day. Some men still think they are the only ones blessed with certain capabilities. They think that beating up their wives is the solution to their misunderstandings. Unemployment is also binging the woman down. It is very frustrating if you are an educated woman and you are not employed. On the other hand, education of the girl child has not yet improved really. It is a cultural thing, you know, and that there are still some fathers who are unwilling to educate their daughters. Some girls have the privilege of only reaching Grade Seven. From there they are forced to drop out. They are left with no option at all but to get married. I think girls do better in school than boys.

BT: As a young writer, do you have a personal philosophy that guides you in your creativity?

EB: In life you fall, but you have to get up and dust off yourself and keep going. I remember when I was at school, I wrote a composition and gave it to my teacher. He marked it and later returned it to me but the composition was all slurred in the teacher’s red ink. I did not get discouraged though. I think critics sometimes give dangerous criticism to budding writers but it all needs strength to carry on.

BT: As far as you can tell, has the reading behaviour improved in our country?

EB:  I think there is not much reading culture in the city possibly because of the television and satellite dishes. Yet you find that in the rural areas the people are so keen to read but they do not have the resources. I very well remember when we held workshops in a certain rural district. We had a lot of women coming to us and asking a lot of intelligent questions. What ZWW? If we write a story can we really be heard?

BT: Who are your heroes and why?

EB: Chenjerai Hove and Shimmer Chinodya. I like the way they articulate the African stories. Even though they write in English, they write real African stories that are so good to me.

BT: Which books are reading at the moment?

EB: I have just begun reading Lara by Bernadine Everisto.

BT: What can you say to other new writers who probably are at this moment thinking of quitting because of the hardships?

EB: Keep on writing. Let’s break the culture of silence. Writing is no primarily about getting money. My wish as a writer is to bring out something and reach my audience. We, new writers, are the hope of the nation. We have the power to instil hope in the hopeless. As writers we can change the world.

BT: And lastly, Elsworth, can you tell me briefly what you think when you hear the words budding writer’?

EB: When you set out to write you are somehow a writer already. When flower buds it opens out, there is a time when it ceases to bud.

The poem below and the other under our Poetry section were written by Elsworth and were taken from a handwritten collection with a total of 50 poems. The poems are published here courtesy of Ethel Kabwato who was a close friend and Elsworth and the Benhura family. To honour their fellow artist, Ethel Kabwato and Batsirai E Chigama read the poems at the Warren Hills cemetery where Benhura was buried today (April 19).

Bury Me Under the Jacaranda  

When I die 
Bury me under the jacaranda
By her cool shade
Shall my grave be sheltered
in her tap root
Shall my legacy linger

When I die
Bury me under the jacaranda
That every summer
My beauty could shine
In the purple of her flowers 
That my very soul
Could above the highest clouds soar
Carried by a scent so sweet

When I die
Bury me under the jacaranda
That her bright flowers
Could on my grave fall
And write my epitaph
In the brightest purple.

By Elsworth Benhura

By Beaven Tapureta

The late Ambassador of Spain, Pilar Fuertes Ferragut

The Embassy of Spain in Zimbabwe, the arts and culture sector and diplomatic community, have found it hard to accept the tragic loss of a friendly diplomat and arts lover, Pilar Fuertes Ferragut, who passed on in a car accident in Walvis Bay, Namibia on Monday, April 2. She was 50.
The late Pilar, as she was affectionately known to her friends, assumed her diplomatic duties in Zimbabwe in 2009 and doubled as ambassador of Spain to Malawi and Zambia.
Apart from her diplomatic mission in Zimbabwe, Pilar was at the helm of championing the promotion of Zimbabwean arts and culture before and after a Cultural Centre was established at the Embassy in Harare last year.
The Culture Centre runs a number of cultural activities such as the regular Young Women Open Forum, free screening of Spanish films, library services and the book club which is a new baby born last month. The Centre has also begun offering an affordable three month Spanish language course for beginners.
To pay due honour and celebrate the life of Ambassador Pilar, the Embassy of Spain organised a memorial at the Domboshava Interpretive Centre, which is part of the Domboshava National Monument and Museum Site on Tuesday, April 10, at sunset. READ MORE

Tinashe Mutumwapavi Muchuri

A Great Moment with Zimbabwean Talent

My busy week started on March 29, 2012, with a visit to Masawi Secondary School in Chief Nyamweda’s area of Mhondoro to witness the inaugural Simukai Arts Family Festival. The festival   ran under the theme, ‘The Lyrics of Poetry and Song.’  School children and youths from this chiefdom displayed   their talents in traditional dance, mbira music, poetry and theatre. Local villagers also    exhibited their agricultural products and ancient tools such as spears, knobkerries, and walking sticks.   I hail The Simukai Arts Family for making the people of Mhondoro value their culture and express it with tremendous appreciation at the Festival. One exciting thing was that the festival involved school children who are the future of our culture. The girl child was also well represented in many school drama groups that took to the stage. Apart from taking the usual   roles such as dancing and leading the vocals, the girls displayed their skill in drum beating, almost outshining the boys.  This event, at which I was also guest poet, was enough to prove that the arts define a people’s life.

ZWA's Gweru outreach meeting particpants  (From Left: Eresina Hwede, Beatrice Sithole, Joyce Mutiti, Tinashe Muchuri, Chrispen Hahlani, Memory Chirere, Dr. Nhamo Mhiripiri, Mr. Manyumwa and Prof. Willie Chigidi)

On March 31, I went to Gweru for a Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) outreach meeting which was to take place at the Midlands State University (MSU). This was the first outreach meeting for ZWA, the first outside Harare. The main aim of the visit was to meet the writers in Gweru and explain what ZWA is there for and how they can participate. It was, in other words, a campaign to introduce ZWA to writers in the Midlands.
The Gweru meeting coincided with my birthday and indeed, it was a befitting birthday present which I enjoyed very well.  I was in the company of Eresina Hwede (ZWA Vice Chairperson), Beatrice Sithole (Treasurer) and Memory Chirere (Committee Member) and myself (ZWA secretary).  The ZWA Chairperson, Musaemura Zimunya could not be part of us because he was at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) in Bulawayo as he also chairs the ZIBF Board.
Apart from just introducing ZWA to writers in Gweru, we also wanted to hear from them how they want this organization to serve their concerns.  
It was a successful meeting that brought together well known writers like Dr. Nhamo Mhiripiri, his wife Joyce Tsitsi Mutiti, Prof Willie Chigidi and others.  We discussed various issues and the participants expressed their concerns over issues such as writers’ welfare and book piracy. About five new members joined ZWA on this day.  

 Moreblessing Size performing during the Girl Child Creativity event on April 6

April 6 found me at the New Book Cafe for an event hosted by the Girl Child Creativity in partnership with the Pamberi Trust, owners of the Book Cafe. The highlight of this event was a play called Tales of Sweet Sweat which was directed by Itai Sekeremo and choreographed by Makabongwe Moyo. The actors came from the Midlands State University Theatre Club.  The play used music, dance, lip singing and poetry.  In the play, a boy named Tshepo wants to revenge the death of his parents who were stoned to death for getting married against the laws of culture which did not allow people from different tribes to get married. In his quest to revenge the death of his parents, Tshepo falls in love with a girl named Tendai who lives across the river. Tendai’s village is soon hit by drought.  To find solutions to the drought, the chief calls for a meeting. While discussing the drought, one villager suggests that the chiefdom’s drought was being caused by Tendai who is in love with Tshepo, a boy from across the river and this is not allowed.  The Chief reacts quickly and   takes Tendai’s parents away from the meeting. Tendai’s mother is killed for allowing her daughter to be in love with a boy from across the river.  Tendai and Tshepo are chased away from their villages and they go to the city. Tshepo becomes a gangster while Tendai pretends to be blind. One day Tshepo and his friends raid Tendai on their usual gang raids. After taking Tendai’s possessions they rape her. Tshepo is the last to rape Tendai. It is during the act of rape that the two realize each other. They re-unite and they later marry each other.
The play interrogates issues such as domestic violence, rape of the girl child,   abuse of women’s rights in a society that is highly patriarchal.
 It is these and other issues that the Girl Child Creativity aims to correct through equal representation of girl child in the arts. The organisation is there to mitigate such anomalies where girls have no voice to tell their own stories and to express themselves. It was a Good Friday indeed as we witnessed youths who are determined to take the arts to a certain level.
In his speech, President of MSU Theatre Club Chris Chisanga bemoaned the lack of places like Book Cafe in the Midlands’s province.   He said if places like the Book CafĂ©   could be found in the Midlands province, more talent would be promoted and they could also have come in large numbers to support this event. He urged the government to create a Fund that will see young talents being nurtured. Apart from the play, there were poetry performances by Mbizo Chirasha, who is also the Coordinator and Founder of Girl Child Creativity, Moreblessing Size, and Itai Sekeremo.
I was the guest poet at this Girl Child Creativity event. 
The three events were worth my salt as they motivated me and I hope others learnt a great deal from them as well.    It was a week of searching for the potential in us to express ourselves as individuals and as organizations.
Until we meet next time, do take care!


By Beaven Tapureta

Zimbabwe Reads, collaborative effort between Zimbabweans and international friends aiming to create a reading culture in Zimbabwe, has published a report on the plummeting local reading culture. The report dispels the general excitement that has been going on about the high literacy rate (91.9%) which Zimbabwe enjoys ahead of other African countries.
According to the report, this optimistic figure was provided a decade ago by UNESCO and the government, and it is unlikely that the same figure still stands today, given a number of factors that have come into play in the country since about 2005.
Literacy rate is here used to mean the percentage of people over the age 15 who can read and write.
Zimbabwe experienced deep economic and political crises in the last decade, a situation that has affected the education and relative sectors. READ MORE

Clever S Kavenga

Tsamba Ndakanyora Asi…….

Ndakwenya musoro wangu nepo pasina pari kuvava. Tsamba  hongu ndakanyora mazuva mashanu apfuura asi mumaoko ake haisati yasvika. Mazuva maviri iri muhomwe dzangu. Mazuvazve matatu iriwo muhomwe dzake Tizvirinde!
Tizvirinde aindinyebera! Tizvirinde kundibhabhadzira nenhema dzakapfava sechokwadi. Nhema. Kundipa kamufaro nemanyemwe izvo hapana chiri kufamba. Tizvirinde! Tizvirinde aisada kutaura chokwadi asi ndaizviona mumaziso ake paaimhanya mhanya kana tatarisana. Ini kusanyumwawo! Ndaizviona pamuromo wake pawaitamba tamba kuda kutaura zviri mumoyo izvo Tizvirinde aitiza nazvo hake.
Asi kuti tsamba inorema kuitakura mumaoko wonoisvitsa kwainofanirwa kusvika. Handiti mutumwa haana mbonje ko aityei Tizvirinde vakomana? Kutadza here kusvitsa tsamba yandakanyora nemoyo wose? Mazuva mazhinji akapera ndichifunga, akavazve mamwe mazuva ndichinyora. Ndizvo zvinoita kana uchinyora zviri pakati pemoyo wako. Unonyatsonyora mazwi akanaka uchiamisa pakanaka. Haunyore uchidzima. Munhu anonyora achidzima anenge achinyora asinganyemwereri! Kunyora munhu akatsamwa hapana chaunonyora , unonyora uchidzima.
Zvino ndiani anoverenga pane zvimwe zvakadzimwa? Kuverenga munhu achiita munhikwi? Zvinobhohwa nokuti zvakadzimwa zvacho zvinokubira pfungwa dzako paunofunga kuti; ‘Saka apa pakadzimwa apa ambenge anyora kuti kudii?’ Kana zvaunenge uchiverenga hazvizonakidzi nokuti unenge wongofunga kuti izvozvo zvacho zvakadzimwa zvacho ndicho chokwadi chacho icho nyakunyora asingadi kuti uzive. Hazvifadzi  kuverenga uchiridza tsamwa!
Tsamba yangu ini ndakanyora zvakanaka. Ndinodzoka ndofunga kuti ko Tizvirinde anotya chii kuendesa tsamba iyi yakanaka kudaro? Asi kuti anotyawo Mavambo? Asi angatye Mavambo kuti ndiye anomuda here?

Madeko apfuura aya ndakarota Mavambo achiverenga tsamba yandakamunyorera akananga kutsime. Aive achitaridza kufara zvandipa kakunyemwerera. Asi ndazoona zibepa racho razonyanyisa kukura zvokukura zviye. Chandangoziva ndechokuti iyi yaive tsamba yaive yabva kwandiri. Paapedza kuirava atanga kuipeta peta achingonyemwerera. Aramba achingoipeta achingonyemwerera zvake samai mufundisi vavhara bhaibheri ravachangobva mukuverenga zvavo! Aipeta tsamba iyi kusvikira kazova kanhu kadikidiki kane mapapiro! Kanhu  kane mapapiro ako airamba akabata kuti kasabhururuke kachienda zvako. Aramba achingokayeva kachingoti papara papara mapapiro ako kari mumaoko ake.
Hana yangu yatanga kurova kutya kuti Mavambo acharegedzera rudo rwangu mudenga rwukabva rwabhururuka rwuchienda. Chinhu chinobhururuka chinoenda kure. Kure kwausingazive kuti chichamhara here kana kuti pacho pachichamhara panosvikika here, kana kuti panenge pari pamawere anotyisa? Zvino kurova kwehana yangu kwandidzinga munyika yehope yandaive ndashanyira ndokuzoona tsamba yandakanyorera Mavambo yava nemapapiro iri mumaoko ake. Ndaida kuramba  ndiri munyika yezviroto kusvikira kwayedza asi ndazodzingwa nekurova kwehana.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Zvino ndikasangana naMavambo ndichamuudza zvangu ini ndega. Handiti tsamba yandaifunga kuti ndiyo inokurumidza iri kunonoka? Asi ndichangozvipira ndikamuona Mavambo ndichamuudza chete ini ndigotukwa zvangu zvipere. Kana akanditi ndiri benzi hazvina basa ndinongonyemwerera. Kana akasvipira mate pasi semunhu atsika kana kunzwa zvinonhuhwa ndinoramba ndichingonyemwerera chete. Ndingatadze zvangu kufara iye ave Kuziva kuti ndinomuda?
Kutya kutukwa uye kusekwa ndiko kwakandipa kuti ndinyore iri tsamba. Ndaidawo kuti ambopedzere hasha dzake patsamba wozoti wondiona zvake asi zvakaramba. Zvino zvazova zvipi Tizvirinde wacho zvakamuremerawo. Kudai akataura chokwadi zvaive nani. Handiti dai tsamba iyi isina kuzodonha kubva muhomwe make ndairamba ndichifara kuti yakasvika izvo handizvo.
Nazvino ndichakamirira zuva randichaperekedzwa norudo rwaMavambo kuenda kunotsvaga mombe kumafuro. Ndiri  kimirira zuva iroro randichaperekedzwa nerudo rwake Mavambo kuenda kunowoza huni kana kumagirosa ndatumwa kunotenga shuga nesauti kana matemba namhai. Hongu ndakamirira zuva , zuva randichaswera norudo rwaMavambo pasina chigumbu chinondishanyira! Hakusi kufunga kwangu ndakanzwawo mukoma Mutsemhure vachidaro mazuva ayo vaindenderedzana naSinodhiya wavo.

Far From Home
By Tawanda Kandenga

Out of the dark
My voice groans
Tears well my eyes swell
Deep in an unknown closet
My troubled soul falters
I shudder, for I am alone
Far from the world of wonders
Condemned to the shadows of blunders

Out of an island of misfortune
My voice calls for the tune
The tune I used I enjoy
When the world once a hub of joy
Bliss, showers of love
When there seemed to be no death
This I enjoyed before wrath dawned

Out of the depth of my heart
So loud I scream to draw someone’s attention
My voice shivers in bottomless tension
For I long for those days although I stammer
Those days under the grace of summer
Tasting the fresh cream of strawberry
In the quiet valley of revelry
And bite with moist lips the fresh buttered bread
A cup of coffee there

Out of the dark pit of misery
My spirit wails
Under the wounds that can never heal
Scars that will remain remarkable marks
What lies ahead seems a task!

A loving hand is all I long to grasp
To hold it so tight and never let it drop
A remedy to my shattered hopes
And light to my darkened visions

I sense a powerful fusion
From an unknown realm
An answer to my sorrow
Like a warm breeze soaking my nerves
Sweet enough to bring me back
To my feet

I am waiting....

(22 year old Tawanda Kandenga is a Development Studies student at the Bindura University. Kandenga writes to inspire other people, to instil a sense of belonging and to portray certain aspects of life which are taken for granted. He is inspired by the works of Shimmer Chinodya, Charles Mungoshi, John Grisham and many others. Kandenga says his dream is to be the best writer in his own shoes no matter how pinching and heavy the task could be.)

If I Could Fly
By Elsworth Benhura

If I could fly
I would fly away
When I pass by
Wherever I go
No one notices
whatever I do
No one sees
Whatever I say
No one hears

If I could fly
I would just fly away
My spirit wonders dejectedly
In the wilderness
My soul yearns for freedom
Nowhere to run

I am just but a shadow
You cannot hug me
I am hardly visible
You cannot see me
I watch from outside
You cannot touch me
For I am just but a shadow

I walk in this tunnel
No light in sight
I stretch myself long
Still am hardly visible
So, would it really matter
If I just flew away!
Would it really matter
If I just flapped my wings
And follow the wind?

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