Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

21 September 2012

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 57


Evelyn Chiradza, Glen View 2 High student, posing with some of the books she won in the writing contest organized by WIN/GAT in July/August
(Photo: WIN)

We applaud Glen View 2 High for leading by example. Surely, the school shall be a place from which winners in literature will emerge. This issue is deliberately short but has some important advice for writers, that we can make a living out the labor of our minds. This is real, though patience counts to fully enjoy the harvest. Congrats to our sister Novuyo Rosa Tshuma for her book Shadows which was recently launched in Harare. We are but glad the bus is moving on...moving on....please enjoy.


 On September 19 Glen View 2 High held its own memorable certificate presentation ceremony for members of its writers club (commonly known at the school as the News Agency Club) who participated in the inaugural 2012 WIN/GAT Short Story Writing Competition & the follow-up writing skills training workshop conducted last month (August). 
The Headmaster Mr. Masiiwa presented the certificates of participation to the seven members of the club who took the opportunity to shine in front of the whole school.The ceremony was held during the school assembly.
In his short speech Mr. Masiiwa said the writers’ club members should be proud as they are counted among the future writers of Zimbabwe.
In May and June this year some members of the Writers Club also participated in a Young Writers Project organized by the Centre for the Development of Women and Children (CDWC) in partnership with Writers International Network Zimbabwe.
The project involved three training workshops, running on Saturdays only, which were held at YWCA Westwood, Kambuzuma and were facilitated by renowned writers Memory Chirere and David Mungoshi.
Mr. Masiiwa gave credit to the writers’ club patron Mr. Chirumbwana, a teacher at the school, who has committed himself to identifying and nurturing talent in the youths. He also thanked other Glen View 2 High teachers for making sure that talent is not lost in all the fields that the students choose to pursue.
The seven writers’ club members who received their certificates are Evelyn Chiradza who won the Third Prize in the Shona Category, Tilda Gozho, Fanwell Sibanda, Zacharia Ganyaupfu, David Majuta, Isaiah Nyoni and Tatenda Mupariwa.

 The Ceremony in Pictures:

(All pictures by WIN)

 Ruvimbo Manyani performing at the assembly before the presentation

Tilda Gozho also did a poem at the assembly

 Tatenda Mupariwa speaking about what he and other writers' club members learnt from the WIN/GAT writing skills training workshop in August

Evelyn Chiradza, whose Shona short story won 3rd Prize in the writing competition, receives her prize from the Headmaster Mr. Masiiwa

 Fanwell Sibanda receiving his Certificate of Participation from the Headmaster

Zacharia Sibanda, another participant in the writing competition and workshop, receives his certificate

Students display their certificates

 With their club patron Mr. Chirumbwana

  This group participated in the  CDWC/WIN writing project in May/June this year


Shadows, a debut novella by Zimbabwean writer Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, was officially launched at the Book Café in Harare on September 18. Below is the launch in pictures, more about the launch and book's review in our next issue:

(All pictures by WIN)

Memory Chirere and Tinashe Muchuri enjoying themselves

Tinashe Mushakavanhu who directed the launch

Tinashe Mushakavanhu shakes hands with Musaemura Zimunya

Novuyo talking to a reader

Novuyo reading from her book Shadows

That autograph is important!

Shadows lying on the table, ready to walk own journey

The launch also kept stomachs entertained

Musaemura Zimunya and Rutendo Chigudu enjoying the launch

Part of the crowd that attended the launch


Albert Nyathi, one of the presenters at the ZWA meeting held earlier this month

Established writers who have lived through it all in the industry have called upon their fellow artists to fully utilize the business aspect of their art.
The clarion call was made at a writers’ meeting hosted by Zimbabwe Writers Association beginning of this month at the British Council. An assorted group of writers attended the meeting.
Experienced writers such as Stephen Chifunyise, Musaemura Zimunya, Shimmer Chinodya, Aaron Chiundura Moyo, Virginia Phiri, who chaired the meeting, Albert Nyathi and others expressed concern at the desperate lives that artists live after they have worked so hard and made a name locally and internationally.
Although success cannot be measured in monetary terms per se, Albert Nyathi in his presentation said writers need to diversify in order to complement their meagre royalties.
“I am lucky that I happen to be both a writer and musician,” he said, adding that the local music industry has advanced more than the writing industry.
He said a number of local musicians have studios of their own now although the quality is in some cases compromised.
“People have set up their own studios and own record labels, making more money than they would have made had they followed the formal recording companies. At least musicians are now living in an environment that is negotiable,” he said.
The copyright trend in music has also been positive, said Nyathi. Nowadays, anyone playing an artist’s music to enhance their work (whether it is a restaurant, broadcaster, in a train or public bus, etc.) has to pay the artist.
Turning to the local writing industry, Nyathi said he may want to propose that when a book is published, a committee is set up to value the book and recommend government to buy say about 500-1000 copies of the published book.
He also urged writers to think outside the box and diversify their works and creativity. Film, music, adverts, etc., are fertile ground for a writer to make money.
His popular poem ‘I Will Not Speak’ was given to him by Chenjerai Hove and by permission re-worked it. Today the poem, produced as a song on one of Nyathi’s music CDs, is working very well for him everywhere he goes to perform.
He added that another way to earn a living through one’s writing is, for poets in particular, to be part of the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) which caters for composers as well. This is so because music is poetry and vice versa, he said. A poet can write a song for a popular musician and he/she can get paid by virtue of having composed or co-composed a song for/with a musician and get paid each time the song is played.
Nyathi encouraged writers to take with them their works whenever they travel. He said he has sold lots of copies of his CDs and books after performing locally and internationally as people always want to take something home as souvenirs.
“Performance has enabled me to survive and I am sure that the arts are capable of sustaining our lives,” he said.
Stephen Chifunyise’s presentation was read on his behalf by Monica Cheru as he could not attend the meeting due to circumstances beyond his control. Another presenter Virginia Jekanyika was also not able to attend.
Chifunyise laid out a few tips for writers to make their writing make more money.
He urged writers to make use of platforms such as the ZIBF, Harare Agriculture Show, and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair by setting up exhibition stands where people can buy their books.
The Writers’ Collective Stand, which Chifunyise initiated last year at the ZIBF, has come to the rescue of writers, particularly self-published writers who have difficulties in selling their books.
Another way to make a living out of writing propounded by Chifunyise is by taking advantage of the multiplicity of newspapers and magazines in the country and the birth of new radio stations.
“Writers must take up the challenge to become columnists or regular correspondents. They must approach editors to indicate subjects they would like to write about as well as research they would like to undertake in order to produce features that could be published. Radio channels need to be approached by writers who indicate that they can write for them, especially drama,” he said.
Chifunyise, whose passion is theatre, said there is a strong feeling among actors, directors and producers in Zimbabwean theatre that the shortage of scripts is a major challenge being faced.
“Writers interested in drama scripts for radio or stage or TV should seek partnerships with theatre groups. One can also approach actors whom they see on stage or TV and offer to write plays which they can present to producers of commercial theatre. Alternatively, writers can approach producers with their scripts and indicate the actors they had in mind when they wrote the script/play. Writers of such plays are paid once off fees or a percentage of the gate-takings when their plays are performed,” said the veteran playwright.
During open discussion another writer Memory Chirere Memory Chirere encouraged writers to write about things around them. He gave an example of another young writer from Shamva who is writing about the folklore in his area, specifically about the Chipadze Mountains in Bindura. Chirere said this new writer went to the traditional Chief in this area of Chipadze and had the Chief’s support in his writing project.
Chirere told new writers to write wherever they are. If new writers talk or approach people properly, it can be done, he said.
Shimmer Chinodya urged writers to take themselves beyond the book, beyond strategies. “What do we do with the money we get after writing?” he asked. Creativity is both the creative act and the business side (which many writers miss), he said, adding that money from art should make more money. Chinodya narrated what he did when he had a breakthrough with Harvest of Thorns which won the Commonwealth Prize (African Region) in 1989. He was invited to countries such as Germany, Sweden, Australia, and Jamaica where they used to give him daily allowances. He saved that as part of his royalties. He urged writers to tie up their moneys like a miser.
Unosungirira kana wasungirira hazvina kupera, chienda wondotenga video camera or anything that you can sell in Zimbabwe and make more money),” he said to a loud round of applause.
The writers’ meeting was one of an ongoing series of bi-monthly meetings being organized by ZWA under main topic ‘How I Create’. The September 1 meeting was held under a sub-topic ‘How Writers Can Make Money from Their Writing’.


Actress Finds Inspiration in Family

 Gifted Actress Samantha Ndlovu

Samantha Ndlovu, second from left, with fellow performers

For some artists, the family is an inspiration to their art while for others, it is an opposition. Ruthless comments are made when one does not seem to make money out of it. Patience, known to be a virtue, reaches a point when it snaps and the artist is but an outsider to his family.
However, we know that talent, like a flower, needs water close from home. And this is attested to by the story of one such artist, actress Samantha Ndlovu, whose motivation has been grounded in her family.
The artistic spirit in her family discovered her at her tender age and shoved her onto the road of her own passion – acting.
Samantha’s father, Emiliot Ndlovu, used to play with the musical group called David Livingstone and The Presumers some time back in the 80’s. He playedas part of the crème de la cream of Zimbabwe’s earliest musical personalities and groups such as Safirio Madzikatire, the Zig Zag Band and the Bundu Boys.
Emiliot Ndlovu’s kids, inspired by their father’s deep love for performance, decidedly said yes to the call for their initiation into the larger circle of art.
Samantha’s brother, Gavin Ndlovu, has since formed his own band called The Talking Guitars and is dreaming big.
Her little sister is blessed with a beautiful voice. Although she has to concentrate on her studies right now, the sister is destined for great things in her musical career.
But how did Mother Muse stroke Samantha’s mind and told her to take to acting instead of, perhaps, music?
“I started acting when I was three years old. My father was an actor and musician. Whenever he did radio adverts, he would take me along and sometimes had me involved in the adverts,” says Samantha, who to date has featured in more than twenty theatre productions, and films such as I Want A Wedding Dress (Part One and Two), The Team, New Dawn and others.
Just when she started secondary school, her dad suffered a stroke. This could have broken her dream but it did not. The dream had to be pursued, the dream whose fulfillment she will dedicate to her father. “I joined drama groups when I was at secondary school. I began acting in school plays,” she says.
One day, a theatre director, named Patrick Tembo, watched her perform on television and right away saw talent in Samantha. He invited her to join his Highfield-based group called The Shooting Stars and this was the launch-pad to professional theatre.
Born in 1987, Samantha’s road has not been all that smooth as she met some ‘occupational hazards’ along the way.
Although herfamily has shown the light, she says that society out there is yet to fully accept the potential of the girl child and thatthere are still some people who do not understand what it means to be a female actor.
“Sometimes when I am playing the character of a prostitute, for example, I need to act like a prostitute but society where you come from may misinterpret that and start calling you names,” lamented Samantha.
Asked what she thinks about the state of theatre in Zimbabwe, Samantha says, “We have a long way to go. The problem is that we normally see the same actors over and over again in different productions. At times the actors do not fit in their roles, and therefore you find that although the script may be good, the cast or acting is really bad.
The answer to this, she says, is for the actors to have a desire to learn new things and for directors to understand what casting means.
Apart from acting, Samantha has also put pen to paper to describe the things she daily observes in her society. In 2001, she authored a play called “Confessions” which was accepted as part of HIFA Direct project.
She is today part of another project which is being done by Arts Lab in collaboration with CAFOID; this project deals with children’s rights. Through this project, Samantha and others have received training and have now been sent out to identify young people in different disadvantaged communities, especially schools orphanages, so that they are trained in a genre of theatre called ‘physical theatre’.
Physical theatre mainly employs pictures, movement and dance, says Samantha, who is working with St. Joseph’s Home for Boys under the project.
Asked what exactly she is doing at St. Joseph, Samantha says she equips the boys with knowledge of theatre, physical theatre in particular, and then asks them to tell their own real life experiences in their families and communities (using physical theatre).
“We will finally gather the boys’ parents or guardians so that they watch their children perform the stories they would have done with us. The best two groups will tour Harare and other towns,” she says.
The arts are known to be a bigger consumer of time for the artist, sometimes taking him/her away from friends and family for long periods. However, for Samantha, she never stops being there for her little darling son.
“I work almost from Monday to Sunday, sometimes on public holidays due to the nature of our work. Theatre is on demand every day. But I make sure that I spend time with my immediate family,” she says.
And one can easily imagine, the son is another star in the making.


Remember that Everyday is Writing Day
Thank you for reading

1 comment: