By Uncle Sipet/Black Mampara
•Book Title: Maungira eZimbabwe
•Publisher: Dariro paZimbabwe, 13 Curruthers Avenue, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
•Editor: Oscar Gwiriri
•Content Reveiwer: Emmanuel Mhike
Two different sets of vibrant poets; the upcoming and published, have partnered in publishing a gem of a Shona poetry anthology entitled, ‘Maungira eZimbabwe’. And indeed the echoes of these young Zimbabwe’s poets will reverberate forever. Their songs will last and last like a mother’s love. It would be unjust not to start by paying glowing tribute to Emmanuel ‘The Prince of Mazvihwa’ Mhike who has developed a knack of grooming upcoming poets and writers in Zimbabwe. It would also be wayward not to mention his other sixteen ‘partners in crime’ whose deft touch with the pen shone throughout the book from the first page to the last one. The reader of Maungira eZimbabwe needs to be reminded to eat to a point of satiety first before reading this marvelous piece of art, lest he or she spends the whole day flipping through it’s pages and finds no time to eat.
Once upon a time, seventeen poets teamed up to publish a Shona anthology in 2014 when poet Rabson Shumba connived with fellow upcoming and published poets, to invade the Facebook platform and created the 263-Nhetembo page. And befittingly, a National Arts Merit Awards(NAMA) nominee book entitled, ‘Dzinonyandura-Svinga renduri’ which also became an A-Level Setbook was published. It seems seventeen is the number!
Maungira eZimbabwe comes on the backdrop of several other published anthologies but stands out as it has very young poets.
Maungira eZimbabwe has also come at a time when Poet VaChikepe has been nominated for the 2021, Mutabaruka Award for Best Poet/Spoken Word Entertainer- another echoing voice of Zimbabwe.
The book warms up with Emmanuel Mhike, who is the heir to the throne of Mazvihwa. Unlike most of the well-to-do pampered ‘boys’, he is leading and showing the way in, ‘Itai muchiziva’. His lines bare it all;
Tose tiri huruva/
Muchamboyevedza paujaya nehumhandara,
Nekupindana kwamazuva muchazosvava.
Nhasi ndiwe mambo/
Mangwana ndiniwo mambo……
He is reminding the reader not to relax and to do whatever is needed knowing that there is, like a flower, time to glow and time to wilt. There is time to rule and time to be ruled. There is time to be born and time to leave the mother Earth.
Twenty-four year old debutante and Midlands State University (MSU) student, Shamiso Nyoni says she got inspired by renowned artist Albert Nyathi. She added her voice in Maungira eZimbabwe like a true veteran. Having been sitting on her poems she got this chance and weighed in with seven pieces. The first cut seems to be the deepest cut: ‘Dai wadziidza’
Seka zvako murume/
Vanonzwa kuseka vanoti idambe/
Izvo kuseka hangu nhamo sorugare/
Iyo nhamo yekuroora mukadzi asina fundo/
Akapira gotsi musuwo wechikoro/
Akati anozvipirei mutoro/
Ivo nyakutumbura vane chitoro/
Kwanzi chinovaka musha rudo kwete chikoro.
Shamiso is extolling the virtues of being educated than just being a woman who just want to get things for free, being smart on the outlook but lacking wisdom.
Tafadzwa Moyo, who has five or so publications on his shelf brings relief to Shamiso’s piece, ‘
Hamawe-e, chakafukidza dzimba matenga/…..
Asi, nhasi ndodzifukura hapwa chete/
Mumusha mangu mapinda denda/……
Ndoda kuziva kuti mhandara yangu yakadyei/
Kutoti chino hanzi munondipireiko?/
Mate ptu-u, potse potse kumeso kwangu,
Hanzi, nebota munondisemesereiko/…. handichazive kuti ndakatadzeiko.
Idendai rabata mwanasikana wangu/…. kudai sechapungu?
Tarirai chiso chake chazara nemamerera.
Shamiso is questioning her fellow friends on what happened to her daughter and girls in schools. Also according to the Sunday Mail newspaper dated 04/04/21, over 5 000 school girls got impregnated during the two months of January and February 2021 when children had been given a holiday- creating a fertile condition for teenage pregnancy. Men too were at home and converted the community to a hunting ground.
Moyo then provides the part answer to what could have caused the pregnancies and he also shows the consequences of crime in his masterpiece, ‘Pisai muromo’
Aah, hausvodi here kuda kuvanza zvawakaita/
Kana uri munhu dzikama uti pasi tyo-o!/
Uchere chikomba pasi upfire kuti ptu-u!/
Ukumbire ruregerero uti ndakakanganisa/
Munhu wepi kuita sehuku inodya mazai ayo?…….
Toko waro! Nhasi zvaiwana ngwarati!/
Wava mumakechemu, dzachenaka/…..
Ndiwo mubairo wehuku inodya mazai ayo!
From his deep memories of the mines he worked to the life of ‘Gumha-gumha’, the Chipinge born and now South African-based, Poet Witness Majube walks us through the tough life in these years of hardship. His piece,’ ‘ZvemaShurugwi’ highlights some of the challenges Zimbabwe faced. The epitome of his art is depicted in the piece: ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19)’
Nyika yatungwa nedzamushore dzakagomara/
Hosha iyi ndichazezesa kutaramutsa vanhu kwavaipambara/
Chodiwa kutevedza mirau tipone,
Gonzo mhini gara mumhango chiuyi chikuwanemo,
Udzvatsvatsva hunoparira kukoka chedzinza, chiseme.
Icharira hayo tsuri chamupupuri ichi chichapfuura/
Kuomesa musoro chete, yedzinza misoro wapura.
Witness has witnessed it in South Africa and elsewhere. Here, he is not mincing his words. He says Corona Virus has no cure yet. It is putting everything to a standstill and it is only us who must own up by not perambulating on our streets for no apparent reason. ‘Stay at home!’ is his message.
Another female voice on the roll is that one of young Fadzai Katanda. She is a Performing poet who has won several accolades in the poetry circles. In Maungira, Katanda warmed up her mind with ‘Kwedu’. In this brilliant piece she is highlighting some of the issues found in her area.
In ‘Ndapera’, she bemoans the energy-sapping issues she faces at home; husband only remembering his home when the wise-waters have gobbled all the money, the food which is gone and nothing to replenish it yet her suckling baby isn’t seeing an ’empty’ milk-less breast.
Another exciting piece is :’Chiramu pamukadzi wangu’ where she says;
….Mukadzi hatidzvutidzane sechikari pandari…..
This is a warning to all men that once a woman is taken, she must not be seen as a cupful of beer which men share. It’s a taboo!
Prominent legal Practitioner and poet, Tamutswa Muzana Kundidzora who gives much credit to his parents and his Grade six teacher for the encouragement in writing is one of the most powerful poets on social media’s Writers International Network Zimbabwe (WINZIM) and Essential Books writers platforms. He writes with so much ease yet bringing out complexity. And the first five lines of his poem, ‘Baba vemangwana’ affirms his skilful approach. Simple but comple:
Paakasvika ndakati hevo baba vemangwana/…..
Matendafuti naiwo madhidhasi akapfeka/………..
Vekudzinga vana vechikoro havana kumbomudana/………
Nhasi uno ave huzvi, shoroma, hwereshenga, mabatakiyi/…….
Ini ndinongodzitswanya inda muhozi mangu muno/……..
Rising poet Joshua Muitireyi is surely on a mission to make sure our past heritage is not lost but bright back. In his piece: ‘ Mhandara’ young Muitireyi feels the role of the aunt in the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) process was second to none. Due to the societal fabric which hitherto is torn and shredded into sort of pillow stuffings, it is now easier to fall in love with a girl than before. Sometimes she makes advances first before the three little words jump out of man:
Pasi pasati parohwa nenyundo/
Mhandara dziri gumi nefararira pagumi nevashanu/
Vasikana vachapipitidzana kumadzitete kunotapa rairo/
Chembere dzichinanga kurwizi kunotarisa umhandara/
Mipururu ichirohwa kurwiziko kana wakakwana/
Misodzi ichichururuka kana wako akapazwa/…..
He goes on to lament that nowadays boys and girls are to to jump onto unprotected sex by the bushes resulting in illegitimate children. His use of poetic devices is very relavant and positive.
There he goes:
Vane zvipfuva zvakaita sehuyo vari matemhe/
Yangove wada atora semuzhanje wepanzira/
Vanatete vakaenda pamudyandigere/
Ravo basa vakarongedza mudzihozi/
Musikana natete zvenge kitsi nagonzo/
Vana vopinda muwanano mbodza vachibika/
Vasikana voswera pachiringiro, dota vachizora/
Tsiye dzobviswa voita dzokunyora/
Tupenzura twotorwa kutara tara kuhope
Ndochavo chikoro chavakapasa/ vanochigona/
Vokoshesa hope dzavo kudarika umhandara/
Ironically, this song sung by Muitirei is the same song sung by Shamiso in her brilliant piece, ‘Dai wadzidza’. And to make amends, these young poets represent their peers elsewhere and are seeing it happening under their nose. They have taken the lead in letting the cat out of the bag. Our good education system is advised to take a look at this pragmatical way of thinking.
From ‘Hamurevi nhema to her fifteenth piece, ‘Bhuku remhosva, Poetess Rombidzai Olivia Mubirira never ceases to seek divine intervention and love in societal challenges facing her people. Mubirira, in ‘Chazezesa’, just like Majube, also adds her voice to the ‘war’ cries against the marauding COVID 19 pandemic. She urges all to adhere to the set guiding rules:
Garai mudzimba dzenyu/
Mirai uko nekokoko/
As if that is not enough Mubirira, in ‘Bhuku remhosva’, goes on to question the wisdom of spouses idea of keeping ‘Case books’. She asks why they write down issues once they wrong each other instead of solving them whilst they are alive.
She goes on to sing the same song sung by Leonard Zhakata, ‘Mugove’ as her Lamentations take her to seek divine intervention from Yahweh. And she believes He is the one who can hear the people’s pleas.
Gutu born Farai Batsirai Manguvo never ceases to amaze with his deep humorous Shona lines. He uses satire to get to his point:
Dai waiveko iwe here wemutupo wemadyo/
Iwe bere anoteketerwa achinzi zvipere zvipere/
Zvokwadi waipera shavi rekutsvukisa meso seshavi shavi…..
In this funny piece, ‘Dai waiveko iwe’, He becries about the death of morals in the society and believes if today’s fast life(Hyena, the Bere) was around long ago he should have learnt a lesson or two.
Manguvo goes on to tackle witcraft and other social issues satirically and will leave the reader in stitches.
Youthful prodigy Prosper Njeke, in ‘Muchatinetsa’ ignites the fearful debate on whether the ‘haves’ rely on goblins or not to build their mansions as the ‘have nots’ proclaim;
Vamwe nekoko, ‘Ane makona makuru/
Angaenda sei asina waasiira zvikwambo zvake/
Iwo muvakiroi wamunoita/
Imbai kuita seichabhururuka…
In furtherance, Njeke’s poem entitled, ‘Ndave kukuzivai’ goes on to ask fellow kinsmen to learn to give and not to be always on the receiving end.
Grade Taruwona’s ‘Tinokutendai’ is a thanksgiving poem dedicated to the liberation struggle’s living and departed heroes (ines). She reminds everyone that Zimbabwe’s freedom came through the barrel and shear determination and sacrifice by the sons and daughters of the soil;
Tinokutendai magamba akatifira/
Imi varwi vehondo yerusununguko/
Makarwa mumire, renyu ropa rikadeuka.
In ‘Kwamupfiganebwe’ and ‘Muzvinaguhwa’, Taruwona relieves Marshall Munhumumwe’s lines and weaves them into her own fabric in a refreshing manner.
Marondera based performing poet, Munashe Dhliwayo better known as ‘chamapezi’ is one of the youngest poets in the project. His clarion call on the issue of securing land for farming and building purposes is crystal clear;
Ishe ndirotseiwo munda/
Munda une’vhu rinokudza mbesa/
Munda uchandipa chiremera/
Chamapezi, like the school head’s stamp goes on to stamp his authority in the advocacy for the acquisition of tangible wealth(land) and not the ‘worldly’ items in ‘Taimbove navo’.
In one of his impeccable eleven entrants, South Africa based rising poet and author Admire Ziwawa takes us back through the memory lane in ‘Pwere’. He brings back childhood fantasies and joys;
Handaizogumbuka kana kuvenga/
Ndiri mudiwa wavose/
Ndiri zvake mudya ndigere/
Dumbu richiti tashu seraChindege/
Ko, ndaizodei ini ndiri pwere.
Chandaida chose ndaingochemera ndopiwa/
Abata chake ndonzwa kuti dai chiri changu/
Asi kwete riri godo kana ruchiva/
Kuchingova chete kuda zvese zvive zvangu…..
Many a times children are egocentric. Just like in Jean Jacques Rousso’s words, we are reminded here that ‘Children are children, they are not young adults.’ They are Kings and queens liked by all. They enjoy every bit of their life too!
Multilingual poet, journalist and television actor Siphosami Ndlovu’s bag has fifteen flawless pieces. In one of his masterpieces entitled, ‘Dzidza Janhi’, we encounter a dialogue between a nephew (Janhi) and his grandfather. The poem is encouraging folks to desist from taking refined foods which lead to cancer but instead choose the traditional foods:
A: ……Idya kudya kwechivanhu utande mukana wekubatira chirwere ichi.
Ho-o nhai, saka inoonekwa sei?
Inoonekwa nebundu risakajairika/
Raregererwa rinova ronda rinonyenga/
Yakubata ukachimbidza kuona chiremba wararama…..
In a dialogue formation, he describes what the sign of breast cancer is like and offers advice that one must seek medical attention at once on suspecting the disease.
Ndlovu’s other themes deal with advocacy in peace and life guidance issues.
In simple language, without irony, but with seriousness Tinashe Chikumbo’s first poem, ‘Vakadaro mbuya’ offers advice to the youths and everyone that Zimbabwe’s Independence was not given to us on a silver platter but was won through an ardous journey with many losing lives and never enjoying it’s fruits. We are reminded too that reversing the same gains may be a mockery to our sovereignty.
Sekuru venyu vakatsakatikira kuhondo/
Vakatorwa nemagandanga ndokurova/
Zvomoti, “Isungirirei, tiisunungurewo isu.’’
Musadaro, kusunungura nyika handi nyore/
Vazhinji havana kuiona yasununguka semi/
Vazhinji varere mumasango vasina makuva……
Chikumbo also praises J. C. Kumbirai who he plaudits for inspiring him to write Shona poetry.
Another young amazing and marvelous female poet, Tsitsi Felistas Ndyara added her voice with ten equally short pieces. In ‘Munoda kuti ndiitei?’, Ndyara asks her folks real questions. Her point is that whatever one does, there comes opposing veiws. One must not be deterred by negative forces surrounding him or her.
Ndikaita chino, enyu meso jechete!/
Ndikaita mukadzi mumwe chete munoti ndakadyiswa/
Ndikaita barika monditi ndiri mhombwe/
Ndichadya nhoko dzezvironda, maiti ishavi renhamo/
Nhasi ndapfuma monditi ndakaromba/
Munoda kuti ndiitei chaizvo?/
Munozvionaka kuti vanhu hamuna kwenyu!/
Also in ‘Nekuti ndiri munhukadzi’ Ndyara laments the challenges faced by women. She says that men try to take advantage of them by raping them and sometimes asking for ‘something’ in exchange for a job. So sad!
Kutsvaga basa hunzi, ‘Ngatitambe ngoma unoriwana.’/
Kudoti wangu murume ndakapfimbika kumba sematamba/
Hunzi tinoda iwe chigagairwa chatiri kuona/
Kuti tana votondininira kure senhunzi
Nekuti ndiri munhukadzi/
Ndavirirwa zvangu ndiri pabasa/
Ndinotsikida netsoka mukati memhindo…..
Poems make fun. A rubber mask can even startle it’s creator. The same happens with a lady who in Fibion Joel Nyambare’s poem ‘Mwana wangu’ is set to go to the city (Harare) for time. She is offered advice, in a funny but realistic way, on being responsible and not to be like a bicycle which can be climbed by anyone:
Rega kuitwa watasvawatasva bhiza repahofisi/
Zviya zvekotopeya repamusika rinoibva nebatwa-batwa/
Mazuva ano kune matenda, unofa!/
Again in Maungira eZimbabwe’s final poem, Nyambare goes on to give the last word to girls. He urges them to be wise and carry the symbolic Unhu character.
‘Usatambe zvekupesvura shashiko majaya akaringa.’/
Kwaiva kunzi dzikamawo mwanawe…..
Indeed the facilitators of this massive project need to be applauded and supported. The poets too deserve a pat on their backs for taking the Shona language to another level. Recently, the Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport and the Arts, Honourable Tapfuma Machakaire urged writers to write books in their indigenous languages a feat which these seventeen poets did. Let their voices echoe in all the four corners of Zimbabwe and elsewhere.
Till next time!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Edwin Msipa aka Black Mampara, The Poet or Uncle Sipet is a Freelance writer who writes in his own capacity. He is a poet, author of several books, storyteller, arts educator, teacher, Traditional dance trainer and Adjudicator. He can be contacted on:
FACEBOOK: EDWIN MSIPA