Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

29 April 2013

#68 Coming Soon

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 68 coming soon...


24 April 2013

A mind blasting discussion of Marechera's Mindblast

By Beaven Tapureta

A moving spirit: Dambudzo Marechera(1952-1987)

Every time writers meet to discuss a particular aspect of the late legendary writer Dambudzo Marechera's work, the discussion naturally ends up being a kaleidoscope revealing more about the author’s inseparable lifestyle and works.
Marechera becomes alive at most of these meetings as his works and bits and pieces of his life are re-captured by his living contemporaries and put under passionate scrutiny.
This was evident at the Spanish Embassy’s monthly book club meeting to discuss one of Marechera’s books Mindblast (College Press, 1984). The discussion, held last week at the Embassy’s Cultural Center, was led by writer and Marechera scholar Tinashe Mushakavanhu who was clad for the occasion in a black T-shirt with the legend ‘Dambudzo’.
Mushakavanhu said he first came into contact with Mindblast at high school during the 90’s when the country was reeling under economic, political and social unrest. He then proceeded to study Marechera at university in London.
In Mindblast, Mushakavanhu said Marechera addresses our past, present and future while he (Marechera) also regarded his life as a form of expression or way of communicating beyond the act of writing. The personae in Mindblast, and other Marechera’s works, constantly scrutinize the world around them, said Mushakavanhu.
Mindblast was first rejected by Zimbabwe Publishing House when renowned author Charles Mungoshi was serving as ZPH editor. 
After Marechera’s death, Mungoshi in a tribute to his best friend titled ‘Dambudzo you are still Alive’ stated some of the reasons behind the rejection. He said, “…And then you brought me Mindblast, all the material that finally was published under the collective title Mindblast. And again I was worried because, while the stuff was good, I knew I couldn’t persuade my publishers to publish it. One, because of the well-known reputation you had made for yourself which my colleagues in the publishing house did not feel was commercially profitable. Two, I thought if the book was difficult for me to understand – who is going to buy it? Dambudzo, I felt you were not communicating to the people. I was still thinking a lot about the people, you know.”
Mindblast was later accepted by College Press in 1984 when Stanley Nyamfukudza, another writer of Marechera generation, was its editor.
Mushakavanhu said Mindblast, particularly the ‘From the Journal’ section, was Marechera’s literary diary of ‘being home and not being home’ as he saw his coming back to Zimbabwe as a second exile from London.
‘From the Journal’ captures Marechera’s life in Harare whereupon returning from exile in London, he found himself marooned by his own people and found himself wandering in streets, park benches and nightclubs with the only things that he called his own, the portable typewriter and books.
“Marechera carried his typewriter like a snail carries its shell and guarded it like a patriotic vigilante. The typewriter was the only thing he incessantly declared ownership of and it became a metaphor for his yearning,” said Mushakavanhu.
The characters in Mindblast, Mushakavanhu also noted, are drifters, perennial job-seekers and prostitutes, and yet Marechera addresses important issues through these characters.
The ‘From the Journal’ section, he said, among other issues bemoans the lack of literary infrastructure in Zimbabwe in Marechera’s time and even today.
Mushakavanhu said as a young person, he was excited when he went to university where he read Zimbabwean history written by black Zimbabweans. In the last few years, more foreigners were coming into the country to write more about Zimbabwe. He said this is also evident in the local literary criticism which has only been written by a countable number of Zimbabweans and this, he said, was because we have ‘a lazy generation of intellectuals’.
“I found it frustrating to find out when I was studying in Europe that there were people who thought that I was ‘not qualified’ to speak about Zimbabwean literature because they already knew people considered to be experts of our literature, foreigners at that. But I was there, a passionate Zimbabwean literary person,” said Mushakavanhu.
A question was asked if it would have been different if Marechera was still alive.
“He would have been subdued at some point and perhaps quoted widely. If he had not existed, we would have invented him because Marechera is necessary in order to engage in discourse,” said Mushakavanhu.
Virginia Phiri and Memory Chirere, both renowned writers, saw Marechera as an enterprising person.
“In the 70’s, no one would get into Germany without a passport but Marechera was the only person who went there without one when he was invited to read his works. He pitched up in Berlin, to the amazement of many, to read his work. We lost him. He was just a person of his own,” said Phiri.
Chirere said although Marechera was an extreme individual, much thought should also focus on the role of ‘others’ in his life. He gave examples of the role of ‘others’ who lived with Marechera.
Chirere said according to the history of Mindblast, Marechera never intended to bring it out as it is today but ‘others’ encouraged him to put the pieces together. It was also ‘others’ particularly Stanley Nyamfukudza and Chenjerai Hove who were behind the book’s acceptance by College Press, he said.
He also said that when Marechera was awarded a scholarship to study in London, it was again ‘others’ who helped him financially. The House of Hunger, the most popular of Marechera’s books, is in its present form because of ‘others’ who encouraged Marechera to bring in other pieces together, said Chirere. Marechera initially intended to publish the collection under the title At the Head of the Stream.
Other instances in which others took a role in Marechera’s life were when he was invited to Berlin and when he came back to Zimbabwe.  Chirere said Marechera’s return to Zimbabwe had something to do with ‘others’ who wanted to shoot a film of his return.
“Marechera would quarrel with a person today and tomorrow he would be back to the same person, asking for help. His negotiating skills were amazing,” Chirere said.
“Is he then his own man or he is always being made by ‘others’ because he was talented? There is no single project he does by himself,” said Chirere.
Marechera’s relationship with women also came under spotlight during open discussion. Mushakavanhu conceded that most of the people who like Marechera are men and he quoted one female Zimbabwean writer who at some point three years ago described Marechera as a sexist and she sparked heated debate.
Mushakavanhu said there were women who sought Marechera, gave him accommodation and after a few days they would let him slip back into the streets. He said maybe the women did something that made Marechera angry and therefore he projected that anger in his writings.
“Who would know the truth that his mother was a prostitute or not? Marechera could have been projecting that anger,” said Mushakavanhu.
Eresina Hwede, a writer, said when she bought The Black Insider (1990, Baobab Books) at the ZIBF sometime back and flipped through the first few pages, she put the book aside because she could not grasp a thing.
“To be honest, did Marechera ever think anyone would understand him?” asked Hwede.
There was laughter in the house when Mushakavanhu responded to Hwede’s question with a quote from Marechera, that said, “I am astonished at the audience’s ignorance. I did not expect such a low cultural level among you. Those who do not understand my work are simply illiterate, one must learn.”
Hwede’s problem with understanding Marechera’s works is with many readers who have oftentimes described his works as incomprehensible and therefore esoteric.
Marechera’s biographer Flora Veit-Wild, writing about his language in 1987, said, “With a highly unusual choice of words and their contextual associations, through the juxtaposition of opposites to the point of paradox, through the combination of the contradictory, he created unexpected, inspired, shocking images of great intensity.” (From an essay titled ‘Words as Bullets’, 1987)
Incomprehensibility runs through most of Marechera’s works and in the case of Mindblast, it has been said that Marechera wanted to ‘blow the minds’ of the people of Zimbabwe.
Jerry Zondo, a writer and friend of Marechera, brought up a curious issue when he said that the ‘enfant terrible of African literature’ lost many works while at college because he would not put his name on some of the poems/scripts.
This could be an area of interest for many scholars and researchers and with it also comes the issue of editorial changes seemingly being made in some of the editions of Marechera’s works that are being published today.
Zondo closed the discussion by reading the popular poem titled ‘The Bar-Stool Edible Worm’ in Mindblast.

Acknowledgement: Picture of Charles Mungoshi and Dambudzo Marechera used courtesy of Ernst Schade


17 April 2013

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 67


The pioneer: In 2010 WIN was sown as a seed in a garden of ideas hatched by seasoned writers such as the late Julius Sekai Chingono (pictured above as he read his poem ‘Dai’ at the inaugural WIN’s Writers End of Year Get-Together in December 2010 at the old Book CafĂ©, Harare). The seed is growing...

A seed ought to grow, the saying goes. And the words have borne weight on WIN-Zimbabwe’s bid to become one the country’s leading new writers’ associations. For that reason, we are happy with the coming in of two new Board members Rodgers Matsikidze and Gamuchirai Chihambakwe and we faithfully believe their contribution will carry the vision forward. Golden Baobab Prize is here again; we urge you to enter the contest. Let us keep attending book club discussions, writers’ meetings and all other literary events in our cities, towns, and communities. Be reminded that we are still accepting poems for the ‘4 in 1’ Poetry Anthology and short stories for the Annual Short Story Writing Competition. Enjoy!


 Gamuchirai Chihambakwe

 Rodgers Matsikidze

Writers International Network Zimbabwe has appointed two new members onto its Advisory Board as part of its internal strategic plan to strengthen the organization and ensure professional delivery of services to members.
The new board members are Rodgers Matsikidze, a duly registered legal practitioner, conveyancer, notary public and arbitrator, and Gamuchirai Chihambakwe, a writer and editor.
The appointment comes at a time when WIN is witnessing some positive growth in its membership and in the appreciation of its literary activities.
Early this year Philip Chidavaenzi, a pioneering Board member, tendered his voluntary resignation citing personal commitments while another founding Board member Julius Sekai Chingono passed on in 2011, hence the appointment to replace their positions. 
In her motivational letter, Chihambakwe said, “It is with great honour that I have been invited to participate on this platform (WIN). It is my hope and desire that I will not only contribute my time and services but also be part of this awakening Zimbabwean voice defining itself and shaping its own destiny.”
The Board now consists of nine members, namely, Josephine Muganiwa (Chairperson), Edwin Mhandu, Gamuchirai Chihambakwe, Rodgers Matsikidze, Ivor W Hartmann (South Africa), Emmanuel Sigauke (USA), Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Christopher Mlalazi and Sarudzayi Barnes (UK). Read more about the Board members on our page: Advisory Board


Lisbon T Chigwenjere, leader of WORD Writers’ Club at Midlands State University

About fifteen students from Midlands State University have established a writers’ club named WORD which stands for Writers of Recent Day. The club, initiated by Lisbon Tawanda Chigwenjere (pictured), a student of Politics and Public Management, has since submitted its affiliation details to WIN.
The club is running under the patronage of Isheunesu Chaka from the Student Development Department. H.T Ngoshi from the Department of English and Communication is the club advisor.
With a working committee of Fanele Maqele as Vice Chair, Tinashe Mudimbu as Treasurer, and Lucky Dube as secretary, the club is set to inspire more students at the university to write and read literature.
Other members of the club include Liberty Tatenda Chigwenjere (Lisbon’s twin brother), Calvin Chakabveyo, Persistence Matanhire, Phila Mafu, Lilian Maphosa, Richard Runyararo Mahomva, Sphiwe Maduni, Kudakwashe Dangarembga, Amy Vimbai Chauke, Nomphato Ngcobo, Sindisiwe Nkomo and Constance Rondinyu.
In its submission, the club said they mainly aim to fight human evils such as tribalism and racism through writing, to see professional assessment of their manuscripts which will result in publications of their works, to hold training workshops and writing contests, and to have their own regular college publication.  
Lisbon Chigwenjere, stage name ‘Babamukuru’, is a brilliant upcoming performance poet who is expecting his debut Christian poetry anthology Enter the Gateway to be out by August this year. The anthology is being published in America by TL Publishing.


The Embassy of Spain's Cultural Center held its book club discussion of Dambudzo Marechera’s book Mindblast or the Definitive Buddy (1984), a College Press edition, on April 16 with Tinashe Mushakavanhu as the main presenter. More details in the write-up to follow soon.

Writer and academic Tinashe Mushakavanhu making his presentation

A thoughtful Mushakavanhu giving a superb interpretation of ‘Mindblast’

Some of the discussants at the club

Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Jerry Zondo reading the poem ‘The Bar-Stool Edible Worm’ from the book Mindblast

 Caits Meissner, award winning community arts educator, poet and writer

WIN-Zimbabwe is scheduled to host poet Caits Meissner this year in August. More details coming soon! Meanwhile, enjoy Caits’ website:  CAITS MEISSNER


Books donated by Zimbabwe Reads

On April 3, 2013, Zimbabwe Reads, an organization that is doing commendable work in the provision of reading materials to Zimbabwean schools, libraries, colleges, community and organizations, made a second book donation to Writers International Network Zimbabwe to enhance thoughtful reading activities.
The first donation of books from Zimbabwe Reads was made last year.
The books, which are mainly by English classical authors such as DH Lawrence, Jane Austen, and George Orwell, and some textbooks on literature, will be used under WIN’s monthly reading circle programme which is likely to start in May at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Reading circles, also called literature circles, offer aspiring writers with opportunity to communicate and encourage thoughtful discussions and love for reading. Once every month, WIN members will meet to talk about either their unpublished works, works of other established writers or discuss some element of literature such as characterization, style, point of view, etc.
Occasionally, WIN will also give away books to affiliate clubs that warrant maximum utilization of the books.


For more information, visit: 


Pora Muzukuru

Na James Nyamajiwa

Wadarireiko nhai?
Usaona upenyu sehwaguma
Upenyu hune mikwidza nemateru
Zvino zvaunodai unosvika kupi?
Aiwa pora muzukuru

Usaomesa upenyu ihwo husati hwaoma
Nhamo ingakubatisa maneka sei
Aiwa pora zvako muzukuru usazviuraye
Yeuka mavambo ane magumo
Nhamo inopera rugare rugoti vhu-u
Saka pora muzukuru

Ingava gangaidze mukwenyi mhezi yavavira mumwoyo
Asika ndiwo mukuriro wayo nyika
Munhu akagozofa wani
Ko yako nhamo yanyanyodii?
Aiwa pora muzukuru

Pauri utori dambudziko guru
Ko unodirei kutipa rimwe?
Bva kana washinga isu hatina mhosva
Asika tarira vakweguru tapedza zano
Aiwa pora muzukuru

Zvawadai watova samusha
Baba naMai wachengeta here zvowomhanya nerwodzi?
Waunoda kuti azoona nhamo ndiani?
Muzukuru, rufu rwodhura kupinda kurarama

Ndapota muzukuru usazviuraye
Unowedzera nhamo, rushambwa
Matambudziko nekuchema
Aiwa pora muzukuru usazviuraye

Kana washinga bva siya wagadzirira
Ringava bhokisi siya watenga?
Zverufu zvose siya watenga
Nemukadzi gonzo siya wabata
Rinda wocheresa

(James T. Nyamajiwa is a success coach, motivational speaker and author of the exciting and practical book "Go Higher" (2011) which touches on facing and overcoming personal and organizational challenges. He is also a customer service consultant, events director, workshops facilitator and trainer. Over the past four and half years, James has been presenting papers at platforms in the arts and business sectors, in schools, women forums, churches and in the retail industry. He holds several qualifications in Business Administration, ICT and managerial as well as publishing experience gained in different institutions. James runs a private business involved in entrepreneurship training and development .He is planning to set up a publishing house.)

Ndave Nherera

naTendai Maduwa

Pamakafa mai ndakachema neshungu,
Ndakanyaradzwa nehama nechivimbo chekundichengeta
Nhasi pidigu dzi dzave mhandu
Ndave mhandu kwavari havachada kana kundiona
Chandatadza kwavari ndachishaya
Vanondirova,vondituka vondishungurudza ndisina kana mhaka
Muranda chaiye haanzarwo.

Munyama wangu vabereki vakaenda rwendo rusingadzokwi,
Dzokai dzokai kani mhai,
Dai muripo ndingadai ndirikufarawo savamwe
Idzo ihopeiko dzamakarara muchikanganwa ini mwana ndichitambura
Ndotambudzwa here nehama imi muri kutsi kwehope chokwadi?

Vanoita sevanondifarira asi mumwoyo mavo muzere nenduru yeruvengo,
Nduru yenyoka inoruma chaisingadye
Ndaiti inonyepa tsumo kuti nherera inoguta musi wafa mai.
Ini musi wandakaguta ndiwowo waenda vangu vabereki,

Nhasi chondodya chondipamhazve nzara,
Pakudya ndoyeva sekiti yakayeva gonzo
Ndofira mukushandira chandisingadye semombe,
Ndofa here ndinyerere sehwai.
Hama dzondipira makotsi, pavachacheuka vachawana ndave chikafu nyama yamagora
Ndaendawo rwendo rwusingadzokwi, ndatevera vangu vabereki kwamupfiganebwe

(Tendai Maduwa is the founder of AWAKE Zimbabwe, an organization that seeks to educate young people about HIV and AIDS prevention and child abuse. He is a performing artist, motivational speaker, actor, writer and poet. Maduwa will from August 1 to August 5 represent Zimbabwe at the first ever Kistreach Festival in Kenya)


The late Walter L Muparutsa (pictured below), the man without whom WIN-Zimbabwe would not have come this far…

...with lots of love


Victoria Falls – Zimbabwe

By Gerald Saidi (above)

Your eyes
Roosting over astonishingly dented cliffs
Sweeping over scenic indigenous trees
As your sight fall over ebony rocks
Following jutted whalebacks
Hugging the distinct cliffs in wonder
As you ponder over the Supreme Hand that chiseled them
Your heart filled with awe
Your sight guzzling thundering smoke
Your heart dazzled with cascading spume
A rumble of suds hissing into your ears
A fizz of rainbow hooking your gaze
Distant rages of a cataract evoking tingling sensations
As a smog falls into water
Water splashing in roars
Roars surrounding phenomenal hollow
The hollow bustling with deafening bubbles
Bubbles in puddles of muddles
And puddles in bubbles of fuddles
As muddles of puddles bubble with cuddles
Of a waggle of jiggles of puddles
And jiggle of a fuddle of bubbles
While your sight toggles with a joggle of wonder
As your skin touches warm mist
And your breath fuses with fog
Your sight falling with a flume of thundering smoke
The muffled smoke falling with a plume of mist
The hushed mist falling without measure
As your eyes treasure
All pleasure at leisure
For seizure forever
And marveling at the Creator’s figment of imagination!!!
Oh! It can only be Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe!

(Gerald Saidi is a registered and practicing Legal Practitioner, Conveyancer, and Notary Public. He says he started reciting poetry when he first screamed after his birth and continued to recite poetry when he was a snot-nosed infant. He also says he started writing when he learned to mould letters of the English alphabet.)

Punk poem

By Dambudzo Marechera (above)

In the song
Are waterfruits;
In the plush and flow
Firestars eternally fixed.

Guitar strings lash
My back, draw blood –
The out-of-control voice
Skids shrieking across

Tarmac audiences

(Taken from Mindblast)


Keep writing! Keep Writing!