Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

29 February 2016

WIN Newsletter, Issue No 96


Zimbabwean writers Shimmer Chinodya (left) and Ignitius T Mabasa

We are coming from an artistically exciting period and we would like to celebrate as well as thank everyone who has, one way or another, helped elevate WIN to where it is now. It is such an honour to be recognised at national platforms such as the NAMA Awards. It is a humbling experience indeed. We would like to congratulate all the winners at the 15th edition of the NAMA awards this year. Go, Zim arts, go! The other good news is that we are back in the CBD and this is but an opportunity to grow and grow and grow. Please enjoy!


Inside the new WIN home

WIN-Zimbabwe is settling back in town after spending half of last year without a space in the CBD to operate from. Many thanks to our renowned writer Shimmer Chinodya for the support he rendered in the process to return to ‘a room of our own’. To be nurtured by great minds is an inspiration every writer or group of writers need.
Old and new members can now visit the new ‘corner’ and be conveniently attended to unlike in the past few months when constant meetings were impractical.
For the past years certain individuals in the arts sector and a local funding organisation have capacitated WIN to have shelter in the CBD where it can meet its members as well as coordinate its activities professionally.  Sometimes, having such an office space comes with cost-cutting benefit of being able to conduct regular weekend writers’ circles.
The current Board chairperson of WIN commented this latest development, said it is positive as it comes at a time when WIN is expanding and needs to re-structure and re-focus its vision to suit the enlarging demand for its services.
Since its formation, the organisation has grown from strength to strength despite certain challenges, particularly economic ones. This year, WIN plucked a nomination from the just-ended NAMA Awards for Outstanding Online Media, having won the award last year.


Men on a mission

Four renowned local poets Albert Nyathi, Chirikure Chirikure, Tendai Maduwa and Tinashe Muchuri gave  engaging different performances of their poetry and also held an open discussion with a diverse group of university students at a function dubbed ‘Black Poetry Convergence’ held at the University of Zimbabwe on Friday, February 26. Obediah Michael Smith from Bahamas could not make it to the event. He was on the programme as the guest poet. Below are few images from the event.



There is expectation among Zimbabwean writers over the recent addition of Shona language and two other African languages (Xhosa and Amharic) onto Google Translate.
What does this mean?
Wikipedia describes Google Translate as “a free multilingual statistical machine translation service provided by Google to translate text, speech, images, or real-time video from one language into another. It offers a web interface, mobile interfaces for Android and IOS, and an API that developers can use to build browser extensions, applications and other software".

According to online sources, the addition brings to 13 the number of African languages supported on Google Translate. All in all, there are now 103 tongues from across the world being supported by this free online translation service.
As of February 2016, Google Translate has been supporting 103 languages at various levels and serves over 200 million people daily.
The service does much in connecting people with each other and the rest of the world across language barriers through instant translation of text and web pages.
Locals can join the Translate Community, a platform that is intended to improve Google Translate service. It is said volunteers can select up to five languages to help in better translation. Users can verify translated phrases and translate phrases in their languages to and from English, helping to improve the accuracy of translating more rare and complex phrases.
It would be good if Zimbabwean language experts join the platform to avoid translation mistakes and establish proper Shona language on the internet.



Beaven Tapureta (left) being presented with the NAMA award for Outstanding Print Journalist by renowned actress Jesesi Mungoshi wife of the iconic author Charles Mungoshi

The Shona poem below was composed by Tamutswa Muzana, a member of WIN, after Beaven Tapureta, a literary journalist and Director of WIN, won the NAMA Outstanding Print Journalist award in February. The poem was first shared on the WIN Whatsapp group! Thank you Tamutswa.
Mwanakomana akaupfekera museve pauta
Ndokuuvesera mukati mechakasara
Vawoni havana kuziva chanhuhwira hombarume.
Vemiromo yembudzi vakati kutandadza nguva kuteya nzou neriva
Vavaki vakati matanda mayedzwa unosiya nerakamunywa nemuchenje
Chiriporipotyo museve wakanyura pahuma payo nhoro (Nama)
Vavhimi ungaunga (nomination) umwe neumwe asimudza rwake rwuwoko
Mutongi gava ndokunanganidza ndokupa chedu chikomana menduro

You can also read a dedication by Tapureta to the Mungoshis soon after the NAMAs here: Celebrating Our Literary Heritage


Books that made up the 15TH NAMA nomination list in the literary category were altogether nine, out of which three winners were chosen. The Outstanding Fiction category mixes poetry and prose which, had there been enough resources, would have stood as two separate categories

The 15th edition of the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA) may have slipped into history but the echoes still remain.  It is true that the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe which runs the NAMA Awards has done writers and the rest of artists proud by recognising some of the best creative minds. However, the space offered by NAMA for writers is just not enough for such a diverse book industry.
We can only ask the writers: When are the stand-alone literary awards coming?
Our Director, through his Bookshelf column in the Herald, once laid out a clear general proposal for the establishment of stand-alone literary awards.
What all this boils down to is that if united, the sector will never fail because ever since the first book was published in 50’s, the sector has grown tremendously in terms of experience. Soon or later, writers will realize just how much it means to complement NAMA literary section with their own stand-alone awards like what the local musicians are doing!
Below are this year’s NAMA winners in the three literary categories and also in the online media category:

Outstanding First Creative Published Work
Chaotic  (Ess Tee Publications) by Samantha Chihuri (above)

Nominated for the same award were the following: A Shower of Poetic Vistas by Shumirai Nhanhanga (ZWW) and Who Will Feed My Birds by Tshengina Ndlovu (Multi-Media Box)

Outstanding Children’s Book

Tsuro naGudo: Misi Yese Haifanani by Daniel Mutendi and Wilbur Kandiero (DanTs Media)

Nominated for the same award was The Mystery of the Waterfalls Thief by Tatenda Charles Munyuki (Darling Kind)

Outstanding Fiction

Textures by John Eppel and Togara Muzanenhamo (AmaBooks)

Nominated for the same award were the following:  Dzinonyandura by Rabson Shumba (263 Nhetembo), Ties That Bind by Phillip Chidavaenzi (New Heritage Press) and The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah (Faber and Faber)

Outstanding Online Media

Nominated for the same award were the following: Zimbojam, Three Men on a Boat and Writers International Network Zimbabwe




Mimi Machakaire in South Africa

Sweeney Todd: Broadway show in Cape Town

Now as writers we tend to forget that there are other ways we can change our creative stories and portray them in a new and transformed way.  Of course, the original story will be kept as it is but the only difference will be the way it is told. The first thing others think of is a movie or maybe a TV series but the story I would like to talk about today has been altered into many different adaptations. 

Earlier this month my mother and I were fortunate enough to buy the tickets for the Sweeney Todd Broadway Show in Cape Town and watch these talented people in action. They kept to the story as it is (while of course not actually killing anyone), sung every melody on key and in unison, the costume design alone was spectacular and throughout the show we could tell how much these people loved to perform. I could sense the passion in each act, Johnny Depp himself would have been proud had he gone to see the show. I loved every minute of their performance and can’t wait to go back should they do more. 

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 1979 musical thriller with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Hugh Wheeler. The musical is based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Christopher Bond.
The story itself starts in 19th century England, where the musical details the return of barber Sweeney Todd to London after 15 years of exile. In order to take revenge on the corrupt judge who banished him, he teams up with a local baker, Mrs. Lovett, who is in desperate need of fresh meat for her pies. They then conspire against not only the judge but the citizens of England by killing the men who unknowingly walk into his barber for a haircut or a shave and bake them into Mrs. Lovett’s pies. 
The feature film adaptation of Sweeney Todd, jointly produced by DreamWorks and Warner Bros., was released on December 21, 2007. Tim Burton directed from a screenplay by John Logan. It stars the incredible Johnny Depp as Todd (Depp received an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award for his performance), Helena Bonham Carter as Mrs. Lovett, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Sacha Baron Cohen as Signor Pirelli, Jamie Campbell Bower as Anthony Hope, Laura Michelle Kelly as The Beggar Woman, Jayne Wisener as Johanna, Ed Sanders as Toby, and Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford. The film received high acclaim from critics and theatre-goers and also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Broadway” it simply means that it is an on stage production.
The South African Broadway production featured Pieter Toerien and KickstArt who produced a tour of Sweeney Todd at the Pieter Toerien Monte Casino Theatre (Johannesburg) which is currently running and extended until December 13, 2015 before transferring to the Theatre on the Bay (Cape Town) until April 2016. It was directed and designed by the award-winning KickstArt team of Steven Stead and Greg King, and starring Jonathan Roxmouth (Sweeney Todd) and Charon Williams-Ros (Mrs. Lovett).
When it comes to on stage productions my biggest worry is that the director might make too many modifications to accommodate for the resources they have available. Which was why I was pleasantly surprised to see that the South Africans managed to detail an international story so accurately. Sadly Zimbabweans haven’t hosted a lot of these Broadway shows in its day and when they do, because of the lack of income they receive, they end up doing something poorly constructed. However, in the past I have come across some stories beautifully told on stage in Zimbabwe but they only really make the effort for African based stories. I hope that one day someone will make the same effort for something a bit more international, for the sake of those visiting from overseas. It’s always good to step out of one’s comfort zone once in a while. That’s how you progress in life, by doing something out of the ordinary. Broadway allows us to broaden our imagination because it’s basically a play, the rules are very limited and in the arts we have to consider other ways to tell our story.
Let’s not be afraid to seek out new options. Let’s take the opportunities that may come and use them to help us grow as story tellers.  


Students enjoy books at the ZIBF

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) has made public the theme for this year as “Igniting Interest in Reading for Sustainable Development”.
In a statement, ZIBF said the theme “was chosen from several possibilities derived from recommendations made by participants at the Indaba Conference last year”.
Reading culture in Zimbabwe has long shifted from general books to educational books. Various factors such as economic challenges have influenced the decline of reading culture and by tackling the theme of reading ZIBF has started a sort of reading awareness campaign that must not begin and end at the book fair!
“The subject of Reading for Sustainable Development is an essential axis which goes a long way in the improvement of people’s lifestyles through improved qualitative and functional education, incomes, skills development, ability to read and write (literary skills), more creativity and employment opportunities,” said the ZIBF.
The Call for Abstracts to those who want to present at the Indaba Conference has also been opened. According to ZIBF, the abstract should capture the spirit of the given theme and must be not more than 500 words long. They should be received by March 31, 2016.
The Book Fair will run from July 25 to July 30, 2016, with the Indaba Conference happening on July 25 and 26.
For more information, contact or .



Sibongubuhle ntokazi yakoSigola,
Wena ocwebezela njenge golide,
Yisibusiso siphi leso esikuqathanisa lozulu?
Hayi mamazala wami,
Ngibheke kuwe namhla ngizehlisa,
Ngikuthema ngenjabulo ndlovukazi yeSwazi,
Ngibonga itshatshazi elinguNobuhle,
Umama wobuhle owangipha yena.

William Tapiwa Mugozori

(William T Mugozori was born in Harare in 1990 and did his primary education in Victoria Falls and Bulawayo. For his secondary education he went to John Tallach and Matopo High Schools. Mugozori holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from National University of Science and Technology)




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