Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

24 October 2012

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 59


 (From L to R): Writers Clever Kavenga, Mashingaidze Gomo and poet Lexta Mutasa enjoying proceedings at the last edition of WIN''s annual Writers' End of Year Get-Together at the Book Cafe, Harare

Welcome to our newsletter’s 59th issue, hoping that we find you doing well in your writing studios and libraries.  The ‘role of the storyteller’ has been a frequently debated issue the world over and in this issue it looms up but subtly. 
We won’t stop encouraging you to attend writers’ discussions happening near you, for these are places where we experience much of what we need in our business. Unpublished poets remember to take part in our poetry anthology project.
 Just to remind you, it is that time of the year when we begin to think about end of year gifts of books, etc. At WIN, anxiety for the 3rd edition of the annual Writers End of Year Get-Together is slowly growing by each day. Meanwhile, please have a nice reading…


The new Book Café in Harare yesterday evening witnessed possibly its first ever full house of writers and book lovers when Guardian First Book Award winner Petina Gappah hosted a conversation with fellow award-winning writer Alexandra Fuller.

Few minutes before the conversation, the Book Café staff had to unveil extra chairs to cater for the swelling audience that looked eager to be part of what later proved to be an evening worth their salt. Still, more people had to stand at the back.

According to Petina, this was the first of a series of writers’ conversations that will take place at the Book Café.

Alexandra’s entry point was a detailed background of her 2001 book "Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood" which she said she wrote for her children.
When Petina asked her how her family reacted to the book which is in the memoir form, Alexandra conceded that memoir writers face the dilemma of having family members feeling that they have been exposed.

“My mother organised sanctions and boycotts against me,” she said, much to laughter in the house, adding that every true/serious writer has to ‘court eviction from one’s own tribe’ and that any story should be universal.

Giving an example of how, when An Elegy for Easterly came in paperback edition, one reporter described her as “the voice of Zimbabwe” which she found ridiculous as Zimbabwe has many voices, Petina teased Alexandra if ‘she spoke for the voiceless’.
“When you are a writer, you are a vessel. It requires the death of the ego. Who I am is completely irrelevant,” Alexandra said.

Veteran writer Shimmer Chinodya had to later comment that this was the first time he has seen such a huge audience of white people at a writers’ function, bringing up the question of race in Zimbabwe and the need to come to terms with the past.
His remarks were complemented by Petina who said that more efforts should be put for black and white people to interact. “We have not addressed racism in Zimbabwe,” she said.

It was a worthwhile moment of discussion that generated a healthy debate on these and various other issues revolving around publishing and writing in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Apart from "Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood" (2001), Alexandra’s other books include "Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier" (Penguin Press, 2004), which won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage, "The Legend of Colton H Bryant" (2008), which was a Toronto Globe and Mail Best Non-Fiction Book of 2008. Her most recent book is "Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness".
In 2013, Alexandra and Petina are set to tour in the USA together.  

The Conversation Between Petina Gappah & Alexandra Fuller
in  Pictures

(All pictures by WIN)


Title:              Shadows
Author:          Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
Publisher:      Kushinda (UK)
Year:               2012
ISBN:              978-0-9571420-1-5
Reviewer:      Memory Chirere

As this novella begins, Mpho (the narrator) is already steeped in being who he is; a man on a sharp decline. He can never go up. His very first wish, which is the first sentence in this book, is: ‘I want to be alone.’ But he cannot be alone in a populous and seething Bulawayo township.
Mpho does not and may not know who his father is. Mpho does not love his mother; an ageing-nearly-out-of-business and sickly prostitute. Sometimes he watches through the key hole as she is being laid. He has already taken his mother’s prostitute friend, Holly to bed (during a freak sexual storm). Holly cannot wait to have some more from Mpho. This symbolically incestuous act stays with Mpho up to the end. He is going out with Holly’s daughter, Nomsa whom he beds at will. He desires her the way one desires to perform an irresistible ablution. Mpho drops out from a lucrative Chemical Engineering degree at NUST after a student’s riot.

Mpho smokes mbanje and only when he is like that, does he see more clearly the political and spiritual degradation of his country. He writes very desperate poetry and uses his brush to paint pictures of death and doom. Mpho has no political ideals besides wishing to be happy. He attends both ruling party and oppositional party rallies interchangeably (for the abundant food and t-shirts). That makes his subsequent arrest and harassment misplaced and unjustifiable. The only release available to him towards the end is the hope to meet his dead mother ‘in dark places.’

At some point, he leaves behind his mother’s corpse decomposing in the morgue and skips the border into South Africa. Unlike the other Zimbabweans who take this archetypal route, Mpho is not in search of a job. He is only after Nomsa, the love of his life. He cannot work. Mention of a job riles and makes him bitter. He eventually learns, like the other stock characters, in Christopher Mlalazi’s Many Rivers and Brian Chikwava’s Harare North, that whilst Zimbabwe is in inimitable turmoil, there is necessarily no sweetness abroad for the unwanted Zimbabweans. Mpho eventually returns home to be hounded relentlessly by both the incognito spirit of his mother and the police.
Here is a tale about a dog that chases its unwanted tail, but never hoping to catch it. I have come across similar characters-in-constant-decline in Orlando Patterson's The Children of Sysiphus and Marechera's The House of Hunger. Rasta, the mbanje intoxicated artist at the Bulawayo gallery summarises it all: ‘I am coming my man…Forever coming. I never reach the place where I am going. And this is the whole point. To be forever coming.’

This does not mean that this is a depressing book. Far from it! This story is consistently underlain by a satiric comic strain. We are invited to laugh when we should be crying.

The descriptions of especially female characters could be the most convincing attributes of Novuyo Tshuma. This book is a startling gallery of women’s images: ‘Holly is a piece of work. Her face is yellow; not a natural from having caramel skin, but a jaundiced yellow from all the lightening creams she uses. The rest of her body is dark. It is a frightening contrast; an oval yellow face and then brown from the neck going down. Brown ears. Brown spots on her yellow forehead. Her weave is a huge blonde coronation that dominates her head. She lights a cigarette.’
And: ‘Mama at dindindi. She is caught by the camera in the middle of a dance. She is halfway to the ground, as though she is squatting. Her bum sticks out behind her. She is gazing over her shoulder at it, as though to make sure it sticks out in the right way. In her hand is a bottle of Black Label. She has a perm on her head, and huge earrings that dangle all the way to her shoulders. Her lips are pulled into a pout, something that can be considered sultry and seductive…There she is getting down. The people have stopped to watch her. They are cheering. She pouts and breaks into the sweetest laughter you ever heard. And there she is, caught in timelessness in a beautiful photograph.’

And: ‘A fat woman beckons me. She is standing by the side of the pavement, leaning against Fazak Store. There is a careless wealth in the way in which her doek slops over her shaved head. A wealth that allows her to tear at a piece of Chicken inn thigh, shovel the meat in with a chubby finger and chew with her mouth wide open for us all to see exactly how well this meat slides down her throat… She swings her bulky frame this-a-way-and-that-a-way as she hisses at us the passers-by. Her voice throws a rhythm into the air that matches her pendulum movements. Her pockets bulge with the much coveted forex.’

Tshuma’s debut is a second novel by a Zimbabwean going by the title 'Shadows.' Chenjerai Hove has a novel, Shadows, published in 1991. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is an award-winning short fiction writer from Zimbabwe. She was the winner of the Intwasa Short Story Competition 2009. Currently, she is pursuing her studies at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa.

(Taken from the blog KwaChirere)


Ani bweendelezi niinzi?
Ngu Rev. J. Muleya

Bweendelezi bulajanika mumasena woonse akkala bantu – mumaanda, mumaMbungano ansondo, mumakamu amuzilawu, mumawofisi afulumende aalyimvilidi, muzikolo, muzibbadela, kumpongo/kukweembela, kwaamba biyo ziche. Bweendelezi boonse bubeda (na kuti bulangililwa) kubelekela bantu balikuzulwidwa.
Ndichiyeede nkendichili simpongo twakali abweendelezi abutobezi bwakalikuchisa kapati. Lino na ndacheba musule nga ndaseka andike nkaambo ah, obuya bweendelezi mbwamusokwe mwalu. Kwalikubotelwa luzutu bakali kukoma bamwi. Bwakali bwabumuvulemwangu. Mweendelezi walikumutuma kuyoyeta magele kumanyokwe. Mwasika moonse mwachumbikila nguwe inywe mwatumwa kuyonyona mpongo we wasyaala kaliikulya na kabaliikulya kuti kabali biingi. Balikubbabbununa kkanda lyagele balya lweele. Bamaninsya bafumpa muse mundido mpawo bavumba akkanda lyagele. Waboola bakuchumbikila ndido eeyo basikuti lya. Mulaamwi majwi walikubelekela nzotazoolyi pe.
Mubweendelezi bwamusyobo ooyu iwe noyendelezegwa tokwe jwi ndowamba pe. Takukwe kubikilizya bamwi pe ikapati bagumwa abweendelezi bwankuko. Kuli misyobo yabweendelezi myiingi isiyenesiyene pesi sunu ngatulisakamune mumiyeeyo tubunduluke aalibwakumpongo nkaambo bubaanga asunu bulayunayuna mumasena miingi nikuba kuti mbache bali abusichaamba bwakuzizumina eezi. Twabulangisisya tujana kuti;
Oobu bweendelezi bugwasya muntu umwi na bache biyo.
Bulamizya kubiingi.
Bayanda kuba beendelezi batontwa ankosya yakukoma bamwi peepe kubelekela akugwasya bamwi.
Mbweendelezi bwantunda peepe kulibombya akulifwiinsya.
Tabubikilizyi bamwi pe. Kulichaambyo chiti, “Kulila chintu chitegwa nchichangu chichitwa ime nkesimo tachindiboteli pe”.
Busungwaazya kuyanda kukkwichizya buzuba mbubuzoomumanina ooyo ulya ngele zyabamwi. Nkondo eezi nga zyazobukila mumakoko bantu nibakomena bakuswaanana mutulonde.
Buchita kuti bantu bamuyoowe mweendelezi kwiinda kuti bamulemeke. Zindiyeezya kaano katumba wanoonga weena bamwi bayuni kuti ulijisi meja kusikila nkiinga nteengwe kazowampaampa kajana kuti mboya biyo. Kakazwa kamumwesya lubayi mpawo kamwaya mulumbe kuba yuninyina. Oobu  mbobuzuba tumba mbwakaleka kuuluka sikati. Asunu obuno tumba wuuluka mansiku kachija bayuninyina bachimuyanda kuti apandulule kuti nkaamboonzi naakali kubakkazika luzeya akubayoosya ameja aateensi meja pe. Ayezya kuuluka sikati banteengwe ngababuka kumuyowelela. Lino tumba ngawabonaanga balimusulide ano bo bachiyanda bupanduluzi ‘bwameja’, mbwaakakachilwa kuchita beenzinyina nibakaleka kumuyoowa.
Mazuba ano mumasena woonse kulikusungwaazigwa bweendelezi;
Buli abubelesi kulibamwi. Bulaswiilizya akulangisisya zibula bantu balangidwe.
Bubikilizya bamwi abaabo mbitweendelezya.
Busungwaazya kuti mbitweendelezya batulemeke zizwa mukati kabo peepe kutuyowa.
Bupa mweenya wakuti mbitweendelezya babe achakwaamba munzila njibazulwidwa anjiyo.
Busungwaazya kulekelelana na kwaba kubisizyana.
Buubisizya biingi peepe kubamizya.
Butontwa achiyandisyo chakubagwasizya bamwi kuti bajane nzibabula.
Butobelezeka akupedekezeka kuli bachiza.
Bulemeka bantu boonse nkaambo mbantu.
Buzumina mulandu na kwaba kubisizya bamwi na kukachilwa.
Tulibangana besu, tobalumi kapati banga na wabisya wazumina kunembo lyabanakwe, bana nikuba beenzinyina loko kuti nchoonzyo wabisya? Lisandwide mwayi. Mufundisi, mbubo ndiisiye eeyi bwasunu!
Mweendelezi woonse witilidwe bubelesi. Bubelesi butalika akulibombya. Eeyi njiyo ntalisyo kumuntu woonse uyanda kuzwidilila mumakani aaya. Wajula buumi bwako kuli mboyendelezya, ulagwasikana kapati kuzwa kulizeezyo nzibajisi anzibalinzizyo.  Ndalumba kwasunu. Musyaale.

Ndilajatika a 0712 764 039 aa 0773 507 435


I Like Pain
By Beaven Tapureta (above)

I like pain
I am its child
I like sorrow
I am its father
I like
Struggle, it will set me free!

(Poem adapted from 'No Serenity Here', an Anthology of African Poetry in Amharic, English, French, Arabic and Portuguese)


(The following short story co-won 3rd prize in the 2012 WIN/GAT Short Story Writing Competition in the English category.)

A Wild Saturday To Recall

By Portfer Gwengweni (above)

The year 2008, clubbing was something divine to me.
With clouds, the blue is so pregnant that the downpour is soon. Thunder is audible like the last imagined horn of the saints, lightning cuts across the heavy roof making fast and sharp electric stripes. Rapidly, airdrops are now falling, descending joy or sadness? Too much of my head in the clouds, I can’t pick holes from my very going. Its ten, the dance floor is nearly empty. Few people are still showing their ceaseless gusto for liquor, a fountain of all moral rottenness. Point of correction, not all, some are demanding their change. Is there any ordering of drinks? Yes! But frankly speaking, I don’t know. Now it’s American dollars, it makes a lot of sense. Home time! Home yet? NO. It is too early, whales do not survive ashore, can’t you see club is life, but this club is having its reputation peeling like old paint. This is insane, how long shall I fake stock of an anxiety. It’s Saturday, I call for a stall of mercy to protect us without a leak on it.
Unleashed is sitting over the fence waiting for an action. He looks wondering, standing at a balcony. He had his way into the club, fetching Ali and has them out towards Copper Cabana bus terminus. Transport? NO! It’s Mbuya Nehanda Street only. At the lobby stand well fed men whose bodies tell a story of body building exercises. “Can I help you guys?”
“Reggae portraits if you can.”
“I’m very sorry, all are sold. But come next week Wednesday, ladies night.”
 “No problem, good night.”
These two turn tails, making use of the exit. Unleashed is another Ali, Ali another unleashed, their ambitions co-exist like God father, Son and Holy Ghost in their majesty.
 ‘Home yet? No, just a last dance.”
 “But not for ages.”
 “That much I know, home is now calling.”
Synergy no longer possesses the energy. Two girls and a boy are licking a trace of the last taste of enjoyment on the stage. Two male Indians beyond the dancing floor are gulping leisurely watching the three. The disc jockey is unleashing Ali and Unleashed favorite food, reggae music. The isolated gin is Tanaka who is having a solo going. Unleashed is at ease, what the eye admire, the heart desires. Allured by romantic stunning moves, admiration makes a claim. Ali is aloof, enough to resist anything flowery. He is afraid to voice out his inner most feelings whilst his eyes mirrors the envy which is about to turn him green. Waltzing is the two’s life, confidence and a good approach triumphs to be often keys. Unleashed paddles his own canoe, his hands on Tanaka’s lap, holding her from the back. Since they can’t hold time, they can make it run. “Rasta lets go away, home time,” babbles Ali. Unleashed seems to be a good judge of time. He drags Ali, exchanging positions unnoticeable, skillfully and successfully. Ali is a boy who has a mammoth appetite for waltzing, too far from turning the offer down.
“I think we can go now,” Unleashed returns the fire. The table runs over, food flies and all efforts to go have been shelved, the dine seems to start at the end. Tanaka has been exchanged like a conversation, one for his time and another for his. “When are you leaving?”
“Just now,” walking away from the stage, taking Ali along with them. “Get my number, call, please call me guys, right,” they part. Unleashed and Ali are rats deserting a sinking ship. Chitiyo parking bay which provides transport looks like a forsaken camp. Unleashed cooks solution accordingly, “Let’s go  north”, recalling sweet past moments. Good turn deserves another, the two are treading on a road of no innovation in an unexplored world where Christopher Columbus could not claim honor. The two are the authors of every footprint in such a world whilst the earth bears their carnality.
As they are to pass seated urchins of seven or eight where age runs from twenty-five to thirty, one blackmailer abruptly rises to his feet, throwing both hands aside like Jesus on the cross. “Give me another trace!” a voice stinks out the whole place. Ali’s fare is gone and walks away. Instead for it to rain, it pours towards Unleashed as all street chiefs are on their feet. One is demanding a trace, one is shouting for a chance, one is dragging unleashed to his advantage, the crowd is in confusion. For the apple of the discord is money. Whilst others are rummaging without, someone with a prophetic character fumbles into the inner storage with a slow and a progressive hand, fishing one note, pinching it between his fingers and stands well back U.S. dollars it makes a lot of sense. Pockets are rinsed to fuel the undergoing course, unleashed shots a terrified look letting discomfort to prevail, reducing his years by 5 or 6.
The stall of mercy is rebuking me, the voice beside me sounds tough that I have to die hundred deaths before I realize that a borrowed belt is making its way out of my waist. Fear strikes me anew, cold is running down the spine, strapped naked? Reduced to the birthday clothes, No! I’m going to be unleashed.

(Copyright: Portfer Gwengweni)


The Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) is inviting you to its next Harare members’ bi-monthly meeting to be held at the British Council, 16 Cork Road, Belgravia, Harare (opposite the South African Embassy) on Saturday 27, 2012 from 12:30 to 4:30pm. This time the discussion topic is “Unpacking the COPAC draft constitution for writers and artists”
Prominent writer Alexander Kanengoni and UZ Law Professor Lovemore Madhuku will each give a brief presentation before a fully-fledged discussion on this topical issue. Those who were not at the last meeting are reminded to bring $10 membership fees. Remember: the major objective of ZWA is to bring together all willing individual writers of Zimbabwe in order to encourage creative writing, reading and publishing in all forms possible, conduct workshops, and provide for literary discussions. Zimbabwe Writers Association (ZWA) is the newest nationally inclusive writers Organization whose formation started in July 2010 leading to the AGM of June 4, 2011. It was fully registered with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in January 2011.

For more information contact:
Tinashe Muchuri
 ZWA Secretary


(The following short story won 3rd Prize in the 2012 WIN/GAT Short Story Writing Competition in the Shona category)

Zuva Randisingakanganwi

Na Evelyn Chiradza (in blue school uniform)

“Nhai mwanangu zvawakandisiira mabhonzo oga ukati ndichine meno here?” Mbuya Mademo vakadaro apo waiva musi wa17 Kubvumbi muna 2010 kamhepo kaibva nekuchamhembe kachitonhorera.
Itai naRusia vainge vachichata muno muHarare musi uyu. Itai aive hanzvanzi yangu. Pachokwadi zvainge zvakapfekwa nevanhu pamuchato apa zvaingoda kugutsa meso wega. Vachati vainge vakaunonga mucheno, kuzoti vaperekedziwo vaive vasingatarisiki zvinopenya-penya. Mhuri yose yainge yakokwa yakauya yakaratidza mucheno chakatadzisa imbwa kuseka. Vanhu vaive vakawanda semasvosve, yaitoshaya pekupfira mate.
VaMagonzo vakambotipira shoko revhangeri zvichizoteverwa nemimhanzi Chadyo akatanga zvake kurova dzaBaba Charamba achibva azoisa miseve yoga. Pamiseve apa ndipo pakandityora zvangu ini mwana wa Mukanya mumwe mukomana ainzi nevanhu Whaki asi iye achinzi Hossein akatamba zvakandinakidza. Takambofunga kuti zvimwe ainge akadhakwa asi takazoona kuti atove nechipo cheizvi. Aiti akati pesu pesu kabhachi kake kaiita kunge kenhaka yavasekuru, nezvimwe zvaaiita here imi! A-a dai maivepo zvimwe maitonakidzwa kupfuura ini. Vamwe vaitamba zvavo asi kwaingova kuteya nzou neriva.
“Ndabvisa mukono wangu uyu wembudzi, ndafara chaizvo nekuchata kwevaviri ava,” Baba vaItai vakadaro vachiratidza zvedi kuti vainge vafara. Vaviri ava vakabvisirwa zvinhu zvakawanda zvakasiyana-siyana. Shamwari, veukama nevamwewo vaingobvisa.
Chokwadi hama dzangu vanhu patinoenda kumafaro nekumatambudziko tinofambira zvakasiyana. Vamwe vanofambira zviripo asi vamwe vanofambira kudya izvi ndizvo zvandakaona musi uyu. Vanhu vakadya sendumure, icho chikafu chaive chakawanda kuita mavhu nemarara chaiwo. “Nhai mwanangu zvawandisiira mabhonzo oga ukatii ndichine meno here?” Mbuya Mademo vakadaro, vanomwa hwahwa vakahugadzirisa. Vanhu vakaita kuparara nahwo hwahwa.
Ndakazonakidzwa nemumwe  musharukwa aidyira kuti ndazviwanirei. Ndaitonyararidza chihanzvadzi changu chepamaoko chaingochemawo zvisina maturo apo ndakanzwa kumashure kwandainge ndabva munhu oti “ho-oo-hu-uho-oo” ave kuita seoda kurutsa. Pachokwadi hama we ndakatobatwa netsetswa nekuti ndiye munhu uya wandakange ndaona achidyira kuti azviwanirei. Mumwe murume akauya achimhanya uyo aitonwa zvake hwahwa nekuti akanga aona kuti zvinhu zvaive zvaita manyama amire nerongo achibva asvikomuti zimbama dzi nechepamusana pake. Akamarohwa mambama maviri nyama ichibva yati svaku kubuda. Akamarowa maviri huro ikati wandibatsira nyama ichibva yati svaku. Veduwe yainge yoita seyainge yabikirwa mudumbu make iyo yakatengewo yabikirwa mumagate.

(Copyright: Evelyn Chiradza)


When God Smiles

By Nonhlanhla Siziba (above)

When God smiles at a nation other nations call it blessed,
Blessed in its agricultural system,
Blessed in its political system,
Blessed in its economy,
Just like in Deutronomy.
When God smiles on your marriage,
Envious people around you wish they were part of it,
Part of the laughter they hear,
Part of the love not fear
Part of the success they see,
they will say I wish it was me
When God smiles at you
Your friends and relatives will ask how you do it.
How you bought a house on a teachers salary,
How you married a princess,
You being a labourer at Wankie Colliery,
How you remain positive in the face of sickness,
You will say Gods grace is sufficient for me.

When God smiled at me
Smiled at me he did
Smiled at me when I was lost
Smiled at me and paid the cost
Smiled at me and hung on the tree
I did not pay, it was for free


 WIN - "Unclipping wings of the imagination"

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