Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

06 August 2015

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 92


 Some of the 2015 ZIBF Writers Workshop participants

Welcome, welcome to the 92nd issue of our WIN Newsletter. The ZIBF indeed was a place to be. Although we did not exhibit, we were there! We hope that you fellow writers also submitted stories to the Short Story Day Africa competition. Many thanks for your unwavering support and please enjoy. Thank you.



About twelve Writers International Network Zimbabwe (WIN-Zimbabwe) members held a brief meeting on August 1, 2015, at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
Before meeting at around 3pm, the members participated in the ZIBF Writers’ Workshop which took place at the same venue from morning to midday.
Writer Emmanuel Sigauke, also a WIN Board member, was guest of honour. Sigauke is based in the USA and had come home for the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. He spoke at length about creative writing and gave a few writing tips to the members.
Sigauke said he was happy with the energy which the WIN group has on Whatsapp. The group, created in October last year, has provided a platform for togetherness as well as for exchange of criticism on poems posted.
WIN is in the process of producing the first volume of a poetry magazine consisting of poems from this popular media platform.
Apart from discussing internal issues such re-constituting WIN-Zimbabwe, office accommodation and fundraising, the meeting also offered a chance for members to familiarize and share ideas. The award-winning organisation is planning a major strategic planning meeting expected before the end of August.
Many thanks to the Zimbabwe International Book Fair who had booked National Gallery for the writers’ workshop and allowed WIN-Zim to use the remaining time for its meeting and to the National Gallery of Zimbabwe for having a love for writers.


(Report by WIN-Zimbabwe)

 Poet Shumirai Nhanhanga thanks her mother who also attended the launch of her poetry anthology

It was Shumirai Nhanhanga’s afternoon on Friday, July 31, 2015, a cool afternoon for the poet. The National Arts Council auditorium in Mt Pleasant came alive, filled with the poet’s fellows, workmates in the education sector, members of her church, friends and relatives including her husband and mother. There were also representatives of Zimbabwe Women Writers' chapters across Zimbabwe, who were also attending the Zimbabwe International Book Fair which was running at the same time.
All had come for the official launch of A Shower of Poetic Vistas (2015, Zimbabwe Women Writers), an anthology of English poetry by Shumirai Nhanhanga.
Audrey Chihota, representing National Arts Council as well as in her capacity as longtime member of Zimbabwe Women Writers, directed the ceremony.
The choice of the opening acts at the launch proved that Nhanhanga’s passion for children is insurmountable. Later she would remark, “I love children. I love my profession as a teacher. It gives me joy to spend more time with children. They become my children. I don’t like seeing them abused. They need my protection.”
First on stage was Mazvita Chizhande, Nhanhanga’s daughter who is in Grade Six pupil Admiral Tait. In her congratulatory message to her mother, Mazvita said, “Sometimes when I woke up in the middle of the night I would see the lights on and wonder what mum is up to. I would then see you fast asleep in your writing corner, holding a pen in your hand. I would switch off the lights silently.”
She then thanked all the people who have supported her mother, including doctors who took care of her mother when she was not well.
Nine-year old Kundai Mugwedera, who is in Grade 4 at the same school, read a poem from A Shower of Poetic Vistas. Another of Nhanhanga’s young friends, only identified as Tinotenda, also recited a poem titled ‘Proud to be Zimbabwean’ taken from the anthology.
Renowned poet Albert Nyathi then read a poem titled ‘My Son’ which he said is a sequel to his popular poem ‘My Daughter’. Nyathi said he co-authored ‘My Son’ with novelist, poet and storyteller Ignitius Mabasa.
In her speech, Guest of Honour Chipo Muvezwa of Culture Fund of Zimbabwe said women have been marginalized particularly in leadership positions in the creative sector.
Culture Fund financially supported the publication of A Shower of Poetic Vistas and Muvezwa said this support is in recognition of Zimbabwe Women Writers work which nurtures women and give them space for self-expression.

The session dubbed ‘Clawing into Vistas’ helped the audience to understand Nhanhanga the poet. It was a conversation between established writer Memory Chirere and Nhanhanga.
Chirere singled out as his favourite the poem ‘Up in the Sky’ found in the anthology which he said he read almost seven times. He asked if Nhanhanga remembers the incident that inspired this poem.
“I was reflecting, thinking of myself as unstoppable,” said Nhanhanga.
Chirere: I see your husband is here, what would be your reaction if you found him reading your book?
Nhanhanga: It would be fun indeed. It’s not always easy for writers to be understood by those close to them. It will be fun.
Chirere also questioned at what point the poet became certain that she had now completed a compact anthology and Nhanhanga said she had written many poems and had performed them on stage. People who often watched her perform encouraged her to put the poems in a collection.
After the session, Nhanhanga presented a gift to the Guest of Honour. The women ululated as the poet’s autograph signing ceremony began. Embraces, song and dance…


(Report by Win-Zimbabwe)

 Nigel Mugani (above) is the Culture Fund's trainer for the Southplanet web portal

Zimbabwean artists will no longer operate isolated from the international community, thanks to the internet which no doubt has become an important tool.
In the spirit of creating more opportunities for global exposure or visibility, the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe, in partnership with Southplanet, has spearheaded the creation of a web portal that connects artists and cultural operators from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
 Participants at the launch

According to the Southplanet project logic document, the Southplanet web portal is a free data website, comprising files that present principal artists, cultural operators, organizations, events and cultural venues in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Speaking at the official launch of the Southplanet portal held in Milton Park on July 31, 2015, the Culture Fund Projects Officer Chipo Muvezwa said the portal was created after realizing that whatever artists create, it needs marketing and networking.
The launch, attended by about ten representatives of different arts and media organisations, including NAMA award-winning WIN-Zimbabwe, did well to add some awareness about advantages of artists’ professional online presence, particularly how they can positively harness the Southplanet website. 
“Southplanet approached us with the idea of profiling Zimbabwean artists and their activities. For us it became a great opportunity to complement the activities that the Culture Fund is already implementing. It also became an opportunity to network with other similar-minded creative people from regions with Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. We willingly partnered with Southplanet to update the data portal with Zimbabwean artists,” explained Muvezwa.
She said the long-term objective of the Southplanet web portal is to contribute with valuable information that can be used policy- and decision makers who want to grow the sector or create opportunities the creative sector.
For the past one year, explained Muvezwa, the Culture Fund has managed to upload on the Southplanet data website more than 1000 artist profiles for Zimbabwe and 466 artist profiles for Malawi.
Asked if Culture Fund is expanding to Malawi, Muvezwa said her organisation is only helping, having been asked by Southplanet to assist Malawi because an organisation which had been partnered with there was having difficulties. With the sterling work Culture Fund has done so far regarding the web portal, Southplanet was sure Zimbabwe could help Malawi, said Muvezwa.
In addition to artist profiles, Culture Fund has also posted on the Southplanet web portal 48 cultural newsletters for Zimbabwe and 30 for Malawi. In a bid to help artists have a practical understanding of how Southplanet works, Culture Fund has also conducted two trainings in Harare.
Nigel Mugamu, Founder of ‘263chat’, who was facilitator at the two workshops, demonstrated at the launch how an artist can navigate the Southplanet website.
During discussion, there was an exchange of ideas and information about this new tool. Poet Batsirai Chigama, who also attended, shared her experience with Badhilisha poetry web portal where she some of her featured also. 
 Artists at the launch


True Lies is a Forteworx Press latest publication, a short story anthology featuring ten new writers. The anthology was edited by CJ Mylton. Obviously, you would now want to grab your copy!



 Mimi Machakaire

Reflection on the Short Story Day Africa ‘Flow Workshop’

Last month I was invited, courtesy of WIN-Zimbabwe, to attend the Short Story Day Africa workshop along with several other writers at Alliance De Francaise in Harare.
Batsirai E Chigama, a well-known poet and chairperson of Zimbabwe Women Writers Harare Branch coordinated the workshop. 
The purpose of the workshop was to prepare writers for the short story day Africa competition with ‘water’ being the main theme. The schedule included the flowing sub topics: Working through a series of possible themes relating to the theme of WATER, Discussing different approaches to genre, Discuss writer's ideas/stories and brainstorm ways to implement plotlines within the structure of the short story and  Discussing redrafting and editing techniques, to ensure high standard manuscripts.

Participants included Nyasha Sengayi (left) and Debra Vakira (right), author of the NAMA Nominated novel 'A Struggle Alike'.

We spent the first hour introducing ourselves and during which we learnt that the main aim was to make sure that we all help each other understand the craft of our work. Then we (the participants) were able to share our ideas and some were able to share the opening to their story, allowing us to critic their work and give them pointers or tips on how they can make it better. As one of the youngest members of the group it was good to see the older generation accept some of the change in concepts that the younger generation suggested.  It was also good to notice that they understood that these days new trends come up very often and the youth of today pay more attention to such.
Later we had our little break and we were able to mix, get to know each other a little better and exchange contact details as a way to keep in touch with the goings on in our little literary world. The rest of the workshop was spent asking questions about various issues concerning writing in general and the workshop itself. We shared our gratitude for being able to participate within the workshop and all the benefits the experience gave us. All in all, I feel the event was a success. Being amongst my fellow writers helped me go home at the end of the day feeling more confident about my work and I hope others felt the same. 
As writers we need to spend some time amongst our peers as a way to catch up on what others are doing, learn from them and see how we can improve. Workshops are useful as they not only expose you to new people but it is an easier access for networking. Keep your eye out on more to come from Zimbabwe Women Writers as they hinted that they are sure to host more workshops in the future and I can’t wait to attend the next one.

(We hope you submitted your short story!)


 Tsitsi N Ngwenya (second from left) poses with fellow writers at the ZIBF Indaba held at Crowne Plaza Monomotapa.

Starting in our next newsletter, WIN-Zimbabwe will on this blog be serializing a Ndebele novel Inyawo Zayizolo by South-Africa based writer Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya. We would like to thank the author for the permission and seeing our blog as the right platform on which to showcase her story. 

Watch this space!


This year the Zimbabwe International Book Fair was held from July 27 to August 1 under the theme ‘Growing the Knowledge Economy through Research, Writing, Publishing and Reading’.

Indaba Conference (July 27-28)

Young Persons Indaba (July 29)

Children’s Reading Tent (July 30 – August 1)

Literary Evening (July 31)

Writers’ Workshop (August 1)