Like Zimbabwe, most states in Africa are endowed with creative acumen and literary prowess. Zimbabwe, the country north of the Limpopo and south of the Zambezi, exudes both talent and natural endowment, while the country is faced with unending political paradoxes, social and economic ironies.
Arriving at the Road and Air Ports in the pockets of Harare, your face is smashed with horrific print headlines yawning of corrupt technocrats and political stalwarts under suspension and investigation. Your ears are choked with radios belting out chimurenga hit songs and the sanctions rhetoric.
The Television news bulletins belch out fat ministers signing cultural, educational and financial treaties in the Far East, accompanied by excess baggage – their delegations gobbling up what’s left of the corruption-roasted national purse.
Where are the pen pundits, where are the scribes, poets, writers and their swords? The myth of censorship puts writers and poets in despair, the fear of becoming victims of the state and its apparatus. Fear of the known and the unknown. In this country floating in political oil pans, poets and writers are not recognised, though their pens and voices can bring positive social and political change. Their platform is replaced by bootlickers and revolutionary hit singers. Bootlickers who do not criticise the ills of the state but celebrate everything, mostly propaganda gossip and cheap slogans.
For the past 13 years, writers’ organizations have been defunct. The Literary hubs crumbled down. Only the Book Café, that also happens to be the Poetry Hub where poets exhibit their talents, still remains. This Poetry Pub, the Book Café, hosts literary evenings and the popular House of Hunger Poetry Slam where young word revolutionaries, spoken-word poets, hip-hop cats, jargonists and performance poets battle it out, displaying their verbal dexterity, spitting out their patriotism to the state that rejected them. Some sing their revolutionary praise to the absent functionaries, some are aggressive verbal anarchists advocating for a change in the political class, the dead economy and rotting social and moral fabric – the Book Café has become the Forest of Arden in Shakespeare’s As you like it – a land of beauty, expression, naturalness and freedom, though with its own complexities.
The voices of poets in Zimbabwe, their voices of reason, are not heard because literary initiatives are not nationalised and not even greased with funding for continuity. They are just dangling in small pockets of cities and streets, they don’t reach those who matter the most, because those who matter most don’t give a damn about any literary existence, nor so its growth or promotion. Few of the state functionaries read books and poetry, to some extent newspapers. In Zimbabwe we don’t have publishing houses and the state has long stopped supporting the creative and book industry.
Writers and Poets who still follow the dream are real literary revolutionaries who do not care about sleeping on groaning stomachs – hunger, wretchedness and desperation. These are strong individuals who require a lot of respect and grand support because they have maintained the creative terrain and literary landscape in a state burning with political expediency, shrinking in corruption and roasting in mass poverty, rotting of propaganda and looting.
Published by Mbizo Chirasha(AfricanWilliam Blake)
Mbizo Chirasha is the Founder of the Writing Ukraine Prize (2022-23), UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist (University of Glasgow, School of Education, Scotland).2020 Poet of Residence at the Fictional Café (International literary culture Writers Space).2019 IHRAF Pan Writivism/African Fellow .2020 free-Speech Fellow at PEN -Germany Writers in Exile Program. Resident Coordinator at All Africa Live Poetry Symposium (100tpc, USA, global).2019 live literature hub Producer at Sotambe Film Arts Festival (Kitwe, Zambia). 2015Jury President at Shungunamutitima Film Festival (Livingstone, Zambia).2009 Poet in Residence at ICACD (Accra, Ghana). 2009 Fellow at UNESCO-Photo Novel Intensive Training (Tanzania).2011 United States Embassy, Harare Guest Poet at World Poetry Day (Harare, Zimbabwe).2007 Producer/Coordinator of This is Artist Artist in Residence Project (Goethe-Zentrum, Harare) 2006 United Nations Tribute to Kofi Annan Poet .2003 ZIBF ,100 Best Books Young literary/writing delegate to Goteborg Book Fair (Sweden).
Chirasha is the Publisher of the Time of the Poet Republic.Curator of WOMAWORDS Literary Press. Editor in Chief at Brave Voices Poetry Journal. Chief Blogger at Porcupine-Quill blog(wixsite). Founder/Curator at AfricanWritersCaravan.Author of MbizoChirasha (AfricanWilliamBlake)blog journal. Mbizo Chirasha was the Creative Director of Girlchild Creativity Project and Urban Colleges Writers Prize.
Author of A Letter to the President,
Pilgrims of Zame. Co-Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi,
Co-Edited Corpses of Unity, Second Name of the Earth is Peace,
Street Voices (all African, German and English Anthology), Edited
Voices of Africa: A Call for freedom Anthology,
African Contributor /African Writing Associate to more than 500 places(online/print) at Demer Press (Holland). World Poetry Almanac (Taiwan), Cultural Daily (USA), Monk Arts and Soul Mag (UK). Bezine.Com(USA). FamAsiaMag (UK), Blackwell Pamphlet of Poetry (Oxford school of poetry), Ditch Poetry (Canada), WordCityliteraryJournal (Canada, global), the Evergreen Review (USA). Ovi Mag( Finland),DiogenPlus( Turkey), Ink Sweat and Tears (UK), The Poet Mag (UK), Spill Words (USA), Litnet (South Africa), Slipnet literary journal (SouthAfrica). Sentinel (UK), Poetry London (UK), Poesis.si (Slovenia), Atunis galatika (Belgium), New Coin (South Africa), Ihraf Publishes (USA), Diasporan online (Spain), Poetry Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Zimbolicious (Zimbabwe), the Zimbabwean (Zimbabwe) and more
Chirasha works as a Live Literature Producer, Arts for Human Rights and Free-Speech Fellowships Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie, Writivism Projects Curator, Visiting, Editor at Large, African Writing Associate, Visiting Writer and Poet in Residence.
He is widely published in more than Hundred Journals, Magazines, and Anthologies around the world. He Co-edited Silent Voices Tribute to Achebe Poetry Anthology , Nigeria and the Breaking Silence Poetry anthology,Ghana.His Poetry collections include Good Morning President ,Diaspora Publishers , 2011 , United Kingdom and Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi,Cyberwit Press ,India ,2010.
He was the Poet-in-Residence from 2001-2004 for the Iranian embassy/UN Dialogue among Civilizations Project; Focal Poet for the United Nations Information Centre from 2001-2008; Convener/Event Consultant This Africa Poetry Night 2004 - 2006; Official Performance Poet Zimbabwe International Travel Expo in 2007; Poet in Residence of the International Conference of African Culture and Development/ ICACD 2009; and Official Poet Sadc Poetry Festival, Namibia 2009.In 2010 Chirasha was invited as an Official Poet in Residence of ISOLA Conference in Kenya.
In 2003 Mbizo Chirasha was a Special Young Literary Arts Delegate of Zimbabwe International Book Fair to the Goteborg International Book Fair in Sweden. He performed at Sida/African Pavilion, Nordic African Institute and Swedish Writers Union. In 2006 was invited to be the only Poet /Artist in Residence at Atelier Art School in Alexandra Egypt. In 2009 was a Special participating Delegate representing Zebra Publishing House at the UNESCO Photo –Novel Writing Project in Tanzania..
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4 thoughts on “PoetryPubs,Hubs and the State (Hybrid).”
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Intact ZIMBABWE is literarily dead .
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not yet though
Yes the country is like the Bridge City in Graceland by Chris Abani. Its now a vendor economy , we need to speak more about it.