Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

08 March 2013

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 65


Josephine Sithole-Muganiwa
WIN Board Chairperson

The year is rolling fast and we are already in March. It is a pleasure to realize that a lot is happening in the literary arts industry in general. Let us keep working for the benefit of our country. Congratulations to Monica Cheru-Mupambawashe for being our ambassador at Femrite in Uganda, and Elias Machemedze on establishing a publishing company. We look forward to him mentoring other young authors in indigenous languages. Please check out all the literary competitions for this year, participate as much as you can so as to develop your talent. Keep writing!


Lutanga Shaba or Mbuya Muhera, author of The Way of The Light published this year

Zimbabwe shall take its place among great nations of the world despite it being a highly indebted country, thus says Mwari Musiki or God and Mbuya Nehanda in Lutanga Shaba’s book The Way of The Light: Book 1.
The book was published this year and officially launched at the Book Café, Harare, on Friday, March 1, 2013. 

Speaking at the launch of her book, Lutanga Shaba, or Mbuya Muhera, popular as an outspoken women rights advocate, lawyer, consultant, policy analyst, executive director and founder of Women Trust in Zimbabwe, said the messages in her book and the prophecy on Zimbabwe were channelled to her from Araya, her guardian angel and tutor, and the spirit of Mbuya Nehanda, her ‘anchor Spirit Guide’.
“Mwari Musiki says Zimbabwe you shall take your place among great nations of the world but it is not going to come on a silver platter. I want you to understand this. Mwari is saying I have an interest in your prosperity but you have to play your part,” said Mbuya Muhera who went on to speak at length about how she became a spirit medium.
Zimbabwean history has it that there was an old woman, Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana, a medium of a Shona spirit Nehanda, who was tried and executed in 1898, together with Gumboreshumba, who was the medium of a Shona spirit Kaguvi, for influencing the first Chimurenga war. Then came Mbuya Nehanda the medium of the Nehanda executed in 1898, who is understood to have died at Chifombo (Mozambique) in 1973 (due to spending days in seclusion without eating). Mbuya Nehanda also played a great role in the second Chimurenga war.
The same Nehanda spirit, revered as the hero of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle from its first days, is the spirit Mbuya Muhera says speaks through her through what she calls ‘channeling’. Thus the prophecy on Zimbabwe by Mbuya Nehanda is found in the last chapter of The Way of the Light.
Mbuya Muhera said at some point she had to go through an initiation process (known in Shona as kusutswa) far from home in South Africa.
It’s also written in the foreword that in March 2009, she received her first formal psychic message from her Guide who identified herself as Nehanda Nyakasikana.
“I was advised that Nyakasikana had been a medium for Nehanda and that she was to be a ‘conduit’ spirit for I was not yet ready to channel Nehanda directly. When I graduated Nyakasikana was recalled by God and Nehanda became my direct Guide.” (Page 6)
Then she was guided to leave her Borrowdale home and set up residence in the forest in Acturus, east of Harare, where she says God had chosen as the place for rushanga, the Sanctuary.
Asked during open discussion how true were her claims that she is the channel of Mbuya Nehanda spirit, Mbuya Muhera said she also asked Mbuya Nehanda why has there been different mediums in Zimbabwe claiming to receive messages channelled from her (Nehanda).
“I got a two-fold answer. Nehanda said to me that as a spirit she had not yet had a place of her own. There are certain mediums who consulted Nehanda and she would appear through a medium and then, after solving their problems, she would leave. They brewed beer and consulted Nehanda to solve their problems. The second answer was that she (Nehanda) is a great spirit who cannot be channelled randomly in any place.
“Be that as it may, why should you take my word for it? You shouldn’t. Don’t take my word that I am a spirit medium of Mbuya Nehanda. Don’t. How many times have we heard people claiming to be Jesus incarnates? It is up to you to use discernment to gauge my spiritual truth,” said Mbuya Muhera.
While Zimbabweans have of late been witnessing some unusual spiritual happenings such as ‘miracle money’ in certain churches, a question was asked if the church in general has deviated from its purpose or teachings of Jesus Christ.
“Mwari Musiki (God) says He is a God that works miracles but he is not a conjurer,” said Mbuya Muhera.
“The way of the spirit is slow and with wisdom. When you have a need, and not a WANT, it will be provided for. By miracles we mean, for example, you are going somewhere and you are not feeling well that day. You are wondering how long it is going to take you to your destination. Suddenly a car stops and the driver asks if you would like a lift. When you are walking in grace, these small little things reflect that the universe, the energies around you is supporting you. When you have financial need, Mwari (God) will open up an opportunity so that you earn an income that meets your need. Or a friend just appears and helps. Those are miracles.
“Mwari Musiki will not ask you to rub your hands and then money suddenly appears; those are conjuring tricks. And Mwari says conjuring tricks are used for infantile minds that are easily lured by things that glitter. Mwari says you have to learn the value of work. You work and then you get your reward,” Mbuya Muhera said.
She also urged human beings to respect nature as humans hugely benefit from the life surrounding them such as plants, rivers, the soil and animals.
Mbuya Muhera later performed her traditional spiritual music with the band Tirikoti Arts before she began to autograph copies of her book.
The Way of the Light is the second book by Lutanga Shaba; her first is titled Secrets of a Woman’s Soul which was published in 2006. According to the author, Shona and Ndebele versions of The Way of the Light: Book 1 will be produced soon ‘in God’s time’. Meanwhile, the book is available at the Book Café book shop in Harare.

Barbara Ncube reading from The Way of the Light


Monica Cheru, speaking about her recent trip to Uganda under the Femrite writers' residency

About thirty published and unpublished writers and poets converged at the British Council in Harare on March 2 to discuss the processes of writing for performance, the benefits of writers’ residency programmes and challenges of rural upcoming writers.
 The meeting, held under the theme ‘New Voices’, was one of Zimbabwe Writers Association’s bi-monthly writers’ meetings and the first for 2013.
Rising performance poets Tinashe Muchuri and Cynthia Marangwanda, a.k.a Mutumwapavi and Flowchild respectively, spoke about how they go about creating and preparing their poems for the stage.
The challenges met by rural-based new writers were articulated by Elias C Machemedze, author of Sarawoga, who talked about his background as a writer growing up in a village in Shamva.
Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe, author of Chivi Sunset, gave an account of her recent trip to Uganda on a regional writers’ residency programme organised by Femrite, a Ugandan women writers association. She was flanked by Tendai Tshakisani Makavani who also participated in the Femrite programme in 2011.
Muchuri and Marangwanda presentations shared the idea that they got into performance poetry to find a way out of the frustrating business of writing for publishers in a situation where there is poor poetry reading culture or the publishers’ fail to meet their contractual obligations.
 “As a poet, writing for publishers has been disappointing for me. We have poor poetry reading culture and writing for performance then becomes the solution. With performance poetry, you get immediate response,” said Marangwanda.
Muchuri decried the lack of monetary returns when one writes poetry for publishers.
“I have been featured in various anthologies, some that chanced to be school set texts, but I have got no cent to show for it. However, when I perform one or two poems at a function I am paid enough money to see me through the next day,” he said.
His poem ‘Ibhinya’ which tackles the issue of child sexual abuse is in a certain anthology but Muchuri said he got nothing yet whenever he is invited to perform the same  poem, he gets something.
Regarding skills, Muchuri said when he writes his poems for performance, he is always conscious of how each word in the poem will sound on stage. He said with his poetry, he intends to ‘converse’ with the audience and therefore the responses he gets when performing are crucial in this ‘conversation’.
When Muchuri performed his poem ‘Zvokwedu’, he started by  ‘whistling’ a song, this he said he does it to alert the audience to be ready for his performance.
Marangwanda said she is a slam poet and that this genre is competitive as a poet is given stipulated time on stage. The length of a poem becomes important in this regard.
“Rhyme, rhythm, repetition, and lyricism add flavour to my performance poetry. I realized that sometimes the poems I perform on stage do not translate well when I reduce them to a written form,” said Marangwanda.
She encouraged fellow performance poets to seriously think about the writing aspect.
When Monica Cheru attended the Femrite regional writers’ residence representing Zimbabwe among other writers each drawn from a different African country, she said she observed that Ugandan women writers association is stronger than their male counterparts.
“All the time I was in Uganda, I only met one male writer at the literary functions I attended. Even the media has covered more women writers than males,” said Cheru.
She added that some of the benefits of the residence included having focus as a writer and having one’s work criticized objectively.
Tendai Tshakisani Makavani (pictured right), who was part of the programme in 2011, said she got connected with other renowned African women writers who have been inviting her to seminars in their countries.
“Had I funding to travel, I would be attending writers’ functions in other African countries because I now constantly get links and invites from the networks I created through the Femrite residence programme,” she said.
The 2011 Femrite residence edition, which Tendai attended, was mainly focused on perfecting stories for an anthology titled Summoning The Rains which was then published in London in 2012.
Makavani said she is organizing the official launch of this anthology in Zimbabwe.
Machemedze, as the storyteller that he is, narrated how he struggled to publish his book ‘Sarawoga’ as he came from rural Shamva.
His poor background and lack of opportunities to advance his education did affect his career but he persisted until his first book Sarawoga got published.
He said that after a series of disappointments, he met with one National Arts Council’s Provincial Arts Manager in 2002 in his area who assisted him by typing his Sarawoga manuscript and also advised him to look for established writer Memory Chirere in Harare.
It did not happen as quickly as he wished though, but two years later he met journalist Garikai Mazara of the Sunday Mail who advised him to talk to Priority Projects publishers who finally published Sarawoga in 2004. Later, Sarawoga was made into a film by well-known musician Oliver Mtukudzi but Machemedze said he got no royalty from the production of the film.
Machemedze’s frustrations in the publishing industry were a blessing in disguise as he learnt the ways of the trade and today he boasts of having started his own publishing company.
After his presentation, Machemedze read from his book Sarawoga, which is being used at O Level as set text.

The Meeting in Pictures

Elias Machemedze (both pictures)

 Cynthia 'Flowchild' Marangwanda making a point

Tinashe 'Mutumwapavi' Muchuri presenting

Some of the writers who were present

Albert Nyathi contributing in the discussion

Journalists from The Patriot also attended the writers' meeting


Local Magazine Publishes Poetry

Parade Magazine

Parade Magazine, which made a comeback recently, has a poetry corner which poets can utilize.
According to the magazine’s Marketing Manager, Peter Churu, poets are invited to send in their poems for publication in the monthly magazine’s Parade Poetry page for free.
Parade comes to the rescue of new poets looking for a print outlet and who want “to let off steam and showcase their talents”.
For more information, poets can contact the Editor via email ( or call +263 772 194 856/857.


Na Anymore Dzarira, teacher at Bilaal Islamic Academy, Epworth

Tsinde chokwadi wakaoma
Takakuregedza uchireba ukadzika midzi
Netsitsi hatina kukucheka
Nhasi uno wotipingandare
Munzira nemumidimbudzirwa
Mose matinofamba
Varipo vanenge vakakusunganidza noukasha
Neuturu hwedu tinokudzipura
Asi neundingoveni unotumbuka
Hauna pamariro kana pamabiko
Chokwadi tsinde wakaoma
Tokugobora seiko
Tifamba usipo?
Mumigodhi nemuminda wakatekeshera
Ndiwezve unowanikwa pachikwirandaombera
Tsinde waondonga Nyika
Tsinde yeuori waparadza Budiriro

(This poem speaks against corruption)


Mbizo Chirasha, Creative Director of Girl Child Creativity which is running the Urban Colleges Writers Prize in partnership with ILSA

Mrs. Tambo, Principal of ILSA

Girl Child Creativity, in partnership with a private college ILSA, has launched a Urban Colleges Writers Prize to identify, motivate and develop creative talent in schools, colleges and other academic institutions through a contest in essay and other literal writings.
According to Mbizo Chirasha, Creative Director of Girl Child Creativity, about eight Harare colleges have so far confirmed their participation in the contest and attended the Familiarization Seminar held on March 1. 
Of these eight colleges, four managed to attend the Preparatory/Participatory Creative Writing and Orientation Workshop held on March 8 from 10am to 12.30pm at ILSA college, Harare, where rules and regulations of the Prize were unveiled.
Renowned writer Shimmer Chinodya, who facilitated the workshop, said that as new writers, the students needed to understand the importance of memory to their writing.
He urged the students to retrieve their childhood memories and to demonstrate the power of memory, Chinodya read a passage from his book Can We Talk and Other Stories.
The contest has the support of ILSA Principal Mrs. Tambo who said youths should make use of their creative talents.
Creative Director of Girl Child Creativity said that the deadline for submissions is on March 27 and students taking part in the Urban Colleges Writers Prize should pay $5.00 entry/contest fee.
He said the Prize is in three categories, that is, Form 1 to Form 3, Form 4 to Upper Six and tertiary institutions and contestants can either submit poetry, script/drama, short story or essay.
Chirasha also said the prizes include scholarships, internships, laptops, phones, books, educational trips and money.
For more information, contact Mbizo Chirasha on 0734332309 or email


By Tendai Joseph Mafireyi

As the threadbare curtains escape from the heavens                                                                
They drench the green carpets which are jacketed in wax                                                        
And henceforth the earth cracks, and the earth sprouts                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Carpets are hoisted on primal rock,  
On which are etched ancient myths                                                                                                     Dormant, soulless rock; stringed together                                        
By the accident of time
The undulating plains, the lands I adulate                                                                                          Where streams flow, and rivers meander              
Fountains where purity resides                                                                                                                                              
Purer than a foetus; undefiled                       
Neither by glass, nor concrete, nor steel                                                                                                                                   
Land of my forefathers, domain to great spirits                                                                                    
Land of my fathers and my fathers’ fathers                                                                       
Land of my children and my children’s’ children                                                                       
Land of mine, where I fell in love with this:                                                          
thatched roof, clasped amid mountains            
A dismantled kraal, a fresh scent, grass                                                                                   
Clear air; solace                                                                                                                                    
Far from the numbing confusion of the city                                                                   
I’d rather be here, than anywhere else 
(Tendai Joseph Mafireyi was born in Kadoma in April 1991. He did his primary education at Vurombo Primary School. After primary school, Tendai went on to Mucheke High School where he co-founded a school magazine club with the assistance of enthusiastic friends and school staff. He completed his studies at Gokomere High School in Masvingo. He is currently in his final year studying for a BSc degree in Biochemistry, Chemistry and Microbiology at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Port Elizabeth.  Tendai loves to read the works of Pablo Neruda, Charles Mungoshi, Sydney Sheldon and Maya Angelou from whom he tries to learn some writing skills. He is also a member of WIN-Zimbabwe.)



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