Writer Emmanuel Sigauke handing over a gift of books to Mrs Malunga of Muguta Secondary Sch writers club at a WIN event in Glen View on January 16
Welcome to our WIN Newsletter, Issue No 84, hoping that you started the New Year the Godly way. And many thanks to Emmanuel Sigauke for making the time to be with us! We enjoyed, we got inspired. We would like to thank you all for the support always. We are humbled by the avidity with which our blog is being read all over. Supporting a writer is supporting the giver of knowledge and therefore you will never lose. Please enjoy. Thank you very much.
SIGAUKE MEETS WIN MEMBERS
(Report by WIN)
Some of the WIN members who attended the meeting with Sigauke
Writer Emmanuel Sigauke is now back in the USA where he lives and work. He had a busy schedule while in Zimbabwe this January, meeting friends and relatives and visiting places of literary interest such as the Harare City Library which houses the late great writer Doris Lessing’s huge collection of books. Yet one of the memories which Sigauke will surely have of his visit to his home country will be the meeting he had with writers of WIN-Zimbabwe.
It was on an easy Friday, January 16, that Sigauke descended on Glen View 2 High where he was guest of honor for a writers’ event organized by WIN Zimbabwe. Although exhausted after arriving in Harare the same Friday morning from Murewa where he had gone for a funeral, Sigauke made sure he completes what his heart loves most – talking about writing.
A group of about thirty WIN members, including some members of four writers clubs, patiently waited for the writer whose history in the literary sector stretches back beyond the days of the now defunct Budding Writers Association (BWAZ) which was a springboard for a number of young writers from the early 90’s.
Before Sigauke arrived at the venue, participants enjoyed poetry performances and also got to hear from the WIN Director what the association has been doing for the past five years, its successes and challenges. Poets like Odreck Nyika, Alois Sagota aka Sagota Sagota, Mr L Dube, and various writers clubs members took turns to amaze the audience with their gifts of words. Onias Murambidzi, author of the play Makadenha Rukato, who is also a member of Glen View 2 High School Development Association, read a sample from his play. Brian Penny, Givemore Mhlanga and CJ Mylton, who are editors and publishers of the Shona poetry anthology ‘Zviri Mugapu’, also spoke about their forthcoming project.
Beaven Tapureta, Founder & Director, explained in detail the main programmes that are run by WIN. He indicated that he believed that WIN is destined for greater things although the association is not yet standing on strong ground.
He said although WIN values activities such as writers’ workshops, writing competitions and writers’ meetings, there is an important programme which members should take advantage of, that is, manuscript assessment.
Assessment of manuscripts written by members is the only way that confirms that members are writing, and therefore are writers, he said. He added that a writer cannot be a writer until he/she puts pen to paper or types a story or poem or novel or any type of creative writing on his/her keyboard.
Tapureta added that he cannot divulge what WIN plans to do this year because the organisation has dedicated the first 2 months of 2015 to internal strategic planning, thorough evaluation of all activities done so far and strengthening the composition of the Board. Transforming weaknesses into strengths is the core business during the two months in question, he said. He added that fund-raising will also be a major issue.
Sigauke came to the podium afterwards armed with his poetry collection ‘Forever Let Me Go’ (PublishAmerica, 2008) and his latest short story anthology ‘Mukoma’s Marriage and Other Stories’ (BookLove Publishers, Gweru, 2014).
Some students from Viable Education Centre writers club could be seen smiling and poking each other at the sight of ‘Mukoma’s Marriage and Other Stories’, a sign that they either had heard about it or read it already!
He spoke at length about his writing journey from the time he was a student at the University of Zimbabwe, his temporary teaching stint at one of the schools in Glen View, his time with BWAZ where one of his ‘students’ was the WIN Director, and then he shared his experience as a foreign writer in the USA.
Sigauke revealed that should his plans work well he will be transforming his Munyori Literary Journal into a publisher and urged the new writers to sharpen their skills so that they could grab the chance when it comes.
After his speech, Sigauke read from his poetry and short story collections. He then presented prizes to some of the winners of the WIN 2013 Short Story Writing Competition and gifts of books to writers clubs present. The prize giving ceremony was belated due to forces beyond WIN’s control. Those who received their book prizes are Tawanda Godfrey Kandenga, Panashe Mushambi and Evelyn Chiradza of the host Glen View 2 High. The clubs that received some books were from Viable Education Centre, Muguta Secondary School (Epworth), Epworth Methodist Academy (Epworth) and Glen View 2 High.
He also gave out copies of bestselling author and educator Terry A O’Neal’s Sweet Lavender and Good Morning Glory.
Sigauke could not conduct a short story writing session with the writers due to time constraint.
The event would not have been possible without the support from the District Education Office responsible for Glen View and Mufakose, Glen View 2 High writers’ club patron Mr. Chirumbwana and the school head Mr. Masiiwa, Mrs. M Chaita of the School Development Association who spent the whole day enjoying the proceedings, Freedom Gengezha patron of Viable Education Centre, Mrs. Malunga who represented Muguta Secondary School and Mr. Dube patron of Epworth Methodist Academy.
THE YOUTH PERSPECTIVE
With Mimi Machakaire
To be or not to be
We all wonder what to write about. We take our time thinking about ideas to make our plot or storyline as interesting as it can be because we consider all of the ideas have already been written by the writers before us. So this triggers us to look for inspiration when we are stuck and do not know where to start but the question is: What is inspiration?
Inspiration can be described as something or someone that motivates you to come up with a hint that could lead you in the direction you want to take. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. For some that could vary from objects, to places and to books or music that other artists have done in the past. In terms of being inspired by people, inspiration can come from family members or a close friend or even a complete stranger, depending on the kind of art in question. Inspiration helps people to discover themselves in a way they did not expect and thus this is what creates the many unique stories we hear today. As youths, we tend to find most of our inspiration from movies or something as visually intense as that which can make our eyes sore with envy. Which is not a bad thing to do but it is a very limited way of getting the information we need. We need to be comfortable with exploring all sources of media and non-media that will give us depth in understanding as many concepts as possible. Execution differs between each generation amongst artists and one can learn from various sources.
How many times have you asked yourself, “Who has written this before? And how can I make a fresh entry into the same subject?” When that happens it means your mind is automatically looking for that inspiration it needs to tell a great story. However the next question that comes to mind is: What makes a great story great? Is it the characters? If so, what is it about the characters that give the story life? The best answer to that is to pay attention to or read how other authors allow their characters to follow each sequence of events. If the author can make his/her characters interact with each other in an entertaining fashion such that the story line itself still makes sense and grabs you as the reader, then that’s what can start to develop your own internal source of inspiration, now asking yourself this: Who is who in my story and what is their main goal or purpose? From there that is what helps your plot begin to unravel.
However caution is the key to developing of your skills. Those who are not experienced tend to get a bit carried away with their words as the story unravels. They notice it after a long time that their story now seems to be missing a sense of common ground, and then they try to fix what has been done. That can unfortunately take even more of your time and if things don’t work out well, it might trigger you to change the plot completely out of discouragement. This comes back to what we said earlier about Inspiration being what helps an artist create their story. Inspiration is an artist’s best friend, which can always refer to one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines being “to be or not to be?” as this is the question we always seem to ask ourselves when writing. Not in so many words but something similar. Next time you find yourself stuck and unsure of what to write about, ask yourself this: What can I do to be better and how can I get there?
CREATIVITY AND OUR COMMUNITY
With Tendai Chinhoro
(Continued from the previous newsletter)
In addition, societal beliefs and expectations regarding gender roles, child-rearing practice, judgments about 'appropriate and inappropriate' behaviour, and numerous other beliefs and values, all impact on human development. According to Weis (2000), talented and intelligent young girls often believe they can achieve all of their dreams and then encounter both subtle messages and the reality of difficult choices later in their lives. Some talented women begin to believe that being ambitious and developing their own talents may be considered selfish. Many talented and gifted girls and women face a dilemma of how to put their own talents first when their entire lives had been based upon the importance of relationships and the understanding that women put others first. According to Gilligan (1982), women not only define themselves in a context of human relationships but also judge themselves in terms of their ability to care for others. Historically, women have nurtured, taken care of, and helped their children and spouses, and developed networks of vital relationships. Many gifted women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s experience guilt over what they want to do for themselves and what they believe they should do for their families and for those they love. Most struggle with finding time to do their own work and often compromise by putting their work off until family obligations are fulfilled. As a result, they often have little time left for their own creative work. A talented artist or writer explained that she can work only when her life is in order, the kids are happy, dinner is cooking, the house is clean, the laundry is done, and there's a semblance of calm in the household, it just seems like ideas flow.
Issues of gender and culture mentioned above have also a great bearing on issues to do with the self-realisation of the individual. In most societies girls and women are always regarded as an attachment of their fathers, brothers, and husbands and this prevents them from developing a sense of self-realisation. For example in India according to Coleridge (1993), because of the caste system there are Hindu texts which contain numerous categorical statements emphasising women’s inferior status. One of such famous text is the one which goes ‘‘in childhood a woman must be subject to her father, in youth, to her husband, and when her husband dies, to her sons. A woman must never be independent.’’ A Harijan leader in Tamul Nudu province is also quoted to have said, ‘‘All men are born unequal and women hardly count.’’ The following is a confession from one anonymous woman and it shows how patriarchal societies stifle the self-realisation process in women.
I was never called by my own name until my husband died. As a young girl, I was always Arthur's daughter. When I married, I was Charlie's wife. When I had children, I was Sarah and David's mother. It was only after my children grew up and my husband died, that I was called by my own name. I realized I had lost my sense of self as a young girl, and only regained it as an older woman.
An understanding and belief in self is considered necessary to the realization of one's talents.
However, with the environment like that under the caste system in India, and many other patriarchal societies like Zimbabwe, self realisation is at risk and therefore individuals are most likely not to realise their dreams. In the words of Maslow this self realisation process must pave way for self-actualization needs where a person need to be and do that for which the person has a vocation. It is his or her 'calling', a full expression of his or her creative potential. It is to be autonomous and fully-functioning. If these needs are not met the person feels restless and frustrated even if successful in other respects.
Of all the societal institutions, it is true to argue that cultural values, norms, systems, religions and traditions are the most damaging to creative talents and intelligence. Pearce (1974) as quoted in Weis (2000) believes that culturization is the reason we lose our creative abilities. He states that "cultural conditioning makes it unlikely that we ever consider anything outside the confines of cultural acceptances. Pearce (1974) believes that creativity is associated with a hypnotic-like trance state. The ability to enter a trance-like state appears at around age seven in all cultures, and in western cultures, it disappears during early adolescence. Piaget discusses preadolescent reality adjustment as the last phase of a child's "magical thinking". This, according to Piaget, is the beginning of true maturation. Pearce (1974) takes an exactly opposite view, and discusses the idea that the preadolescent's reality adjustment marks the loss of creative potential. Beginning around age nine or ten, the child begins to adopt a kind of cultural logic that defines their perceptual reality. By age fourteen, the adolescent has internalized the cultural reality, and thoughts outside the limits of cultural acceptance are difficult or impossible. Our "world view" becomes an editor of our precepts. Pearce however states that acculturation subverts, but never destroys creativity. As an example to this in Zimbabwe, religious cultures like that of the Vapositori who do not value sending their children especially girls to school where talents are most likely to be discovered, thereby killing them. (To be continued)
Drums of Love
By Tawanda Kandenga (pictured above)
I step into the shining moonlight
To hold her
To touch her
Dance with her in the bright night
With the stars
With the moon
But she is gone
Dancing away from the rhythms
Of the drum in my bosom
Na Paul Wezulu (above)
Kana manwa maguta simukai
Simukai muende ndisati ndamuka
Ndamuka munozviziva pano
Munozviziva ini handina hukama
Hwangu hukama ndehwe chikunyanguo
Hunopera mvura yanaya
Saka munati fare fare tindike
Zvikandibata munopamhanya pano
Aah, ndiri munhu kwaye
Ndichakupfekedzai nguwo dzoushe
Ndichakufukidzai machira eukomba
Muchapfeka zvinodziya, muchadya zvinozipa
Neni muchanditi ndiri tsvigiri
Asi muti fare fare tindike
Kana zvikandibata muchaziva handisi tsvigiri
Kana zvikandibata muchaziva
Ndiri mhiripiri inovava.
GLEN VIEW EVENT IN PICTURES
She has a dream, this student from Viable Education Centre reciting a poem
Mr. L Dube, patron of Epworth Methodist Academy writers club in Epworth 'shaking' the walls with his Ndebele poem
Poet Sagota Sagota had a powerful message for the young people. He also did his poems 'Gamba Chii' and 'Dzidzo Isina Pundutso'
Mrs Chaita (left) and writer Onias Murambidzi listen attentively to a performance. Both are members of the Glen View 2 High School Development Association.
Where poetry is, that's where he is: Energetic Odreck Nyika performing one of his poems
Guest of Honor Emmanuel Sigauke gives some background of his collection Mukoma's Marriage and Other Stories
At peace with literature
Sigauke reads a story from his collection 'Mukoma's Marriage and Other Stories'
...and more poetry from his anthology 'Forever Let Me Go'
Evelyn Chiradza from Glen View 2 High shares her poem in a booklet produced in 2012 after she and other students participated in a workshop (WIN was co-organizer of the workshop)
CY Mylton is one of the editors of the Shona poetry anthology 'Zviri Mugapu' which he is holding. They are working on another anthology.
Tawanda Kandenga, who won 3rd Prize in WIN 2013 Short Story Writing Competition, Senior Category, receives his prize
Panashe Mushambi receives her prize. She won 1st and 3rd prize in the Junior Category of the same 2013 competition
How good it felt to be congratulated by parents who care for her school! Evelyn Chiradza happy to receive her prize. She won 2nd Prize in the Junior category
A student from Viable Education Centre receives a gift his writers club
Mr L Dube (Epworth Methodist Academy -EMA) receives books from Guest of Honor
Young Evelyn again...here she is receiving books on behalf of her writers club
Mrs. Malunga from Muguta Secondary School receives a gift for her school writers club
Mrs Malunga giving a vote of thanks
Mixing and mingling
A group photo of all who attended the event
Brothers in writing.
Mr. Chirumbwana, patron of Glen View 2 High writers club holds a Munyori Literary Journal t-shirt which he received as a gift from Emmanuel Sigauke
THANK YOU FOR READING