Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

14 June 2016

Remembering Dambudzo


By Beaven Tapureta - WIN Online

Photo captured from the book Dambudzo Marechera (1952 -1987) which carries some poems, pictures, prose and tributes

June is the month when the late legendary writer Dambudzo Marechera was born. On June 4, 1952, a baby boy who would change minds through the gift of writing was born to Zimbabwean parents.
Marechera’s legacy is huge in the world of books; his image has embodied oracular godliness that he is deified due to his quest for truth through the written word. For him, the word became life and still is life today many years after he passed on.
His novella House of Hunger (1978), is a spear erupting from a troubled mind in search of meaning (and meaninglessness) of a life amid internal and external chaos. The book won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1979 in London. This same year (1979), House of Hunger was re-published in New York by Pantheon Books. In 1982, Zimbabwe Publishing House released their edition of the novella. So far House of Hunger has been translated into the following languages: German, Dutch, and Spanish.
Marechera’s books include Black Sunlight (1980), Black Insider (1990), Cemetery of Mind (1992), Scrapiron Blues (1994) , and Mindblast or the Definitive Buddy (1984). Black Sunlight is available in French while Mindblast has been translated into German.
In Zimbabwe as well as abroad, Marechera is the subject for most scholars exploring the delicacies of his highly creative mind. About eight books critical of his works and life have been published, including the DVD that comes with Moving Spirit: The Legacy of Dambudzo Marechera in the 21st Century published in 2012 and edited by Julie Carnie and Dobrota Pucherova.
His courage in confronting ideas and giving them the creative punch is one of the main attractions to the new generation of writers who may not write to match his writing standard but who have written and continue to write as they draw from the spiritual touch of the Marechera inspiration.
Another African writer of note whose birthday is in June is the renowned playwright and novelist Athol Fugard (South Africa) born on June 11. Fugard’s most unforgettable work is Sizwe Banzi is Dead (1975) which won him the Tony Award. Today, almost forty years afterwards, the play is significant in Africa and beyond. Fugard’s novel Tsotsi was made into a film which scooped the2005 Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
Other African writers whose birthdays are in June include Nkem Nwankwo (Nigeria),  Mary Karooro Okurut (Uganda), Ronelda Kamfer (South Africa),  Flourent Couao-Zotti (Benin), Finuala Dowling (South Africa), Amos Tutuola (Nigeria), Nathalie Etoke, and many others.
 There are many writers and poets born in June, some are dead and others living, and yet to all of them, we say, viva and long live your legacies! 


Write the poem not from classroom lectures
But from the barricade’s shrieking defiance.
From the mortuary’s brightly frozen monocle
From day’s gunburst to night’s screaming human torch
From bleeding teeth that informed to underground
Perception of black fire

Write the poem not from the rhyme and reason of England
Nor the Israeli chant that stutters bullets against
Nor (for fuck’s sake) from the negritude that negroed us
Write the poem, the song, the anthem, from what within you
Fused goals with guns and created citizens instead of slaves

Do not scream quietly
We want to hear, to know
And forge the breastplate a poet needs against THEM!

Dambudzo Marechera