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ISSUE 08: WOMEN OF VALOUR DEC 2016

POVO - PEOPLE OF VALID OPINIONS


COVER PHOTOGRAPH Fungai Machirori

BARBRA ANDERSON

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LINDA GABRIEL

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RUTENDO MUTSAMWIRA

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DOREEN ANYIJUKIRE

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TANATSEI GAMBURA

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BATSIRAI CHIGAMA

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NTSIKI MAZWAI

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WADZANAI CHIURIRI

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MILDRED DUBE

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FADZAYI CHIWANDIRE

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DUDU MANHENGA

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PENNY YON

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KAY TERERA

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KATE CHAMBERS

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NOKULULEKO TLADI

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Calling into Question the Chivanhu of Public Spaces State of Poetry in Zimbabwe Breaking the Silence Girls in Boarding School - Uganda Woman

ISSUE 08: WOMEN OF VALOUR DEC 2016

POVO - PEOPLE OF VALID OPINIONS

PUBLISHERS POVOAFRIKA TRUST ZIM Harare 263 77 228 3186 / +263 772745710, 1 Verona Gardens, 70 Livingstone Ave, Harare, Zimbabwe RSA Johannesburg +27 11 7603511 / +27 726005283 210 Klein Drakenstein, 31 Snipe Street, Horizon, 1724, Roodepoort, Johannesburg, South Afrika

CONTRIBUTE Add your voice to the conversation. Your opinion is valid and valuable. Submit to contribute@povo.co.zw

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DISCLAIMER POVO JOURNAL is published by POVOAfrika Trust. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of POVOAfrika Trust nor any of their partners. The information and views set out in this journal are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of POVOAfrika Trust, nor any of their partners. Neither POVOAfrika Trust nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein. Neither are they responsible for siting references within articles or credits to photos supplied, this is the responsibility of the contributor. Rights to the photographs and articles remain with the photographers and with the authors respectively. Contact them respectively for reproduction. While all care has been taken during proofing, errors and omissions may slip through and we sincerely apologise for these.

The Place of Women Musicians in Zimbabwe No Taboos and Sacred Cows

These Gates

Daughter of a Sangoma Who Says I Can‘t Code in Heels Littered Souls

The Real Backstage Story My Natural Resources The Blessing of Books God Bless our Men a prayer for Afrika’s Sons

SHOWCASE TANYA NEFERTARI - FASHION DESIGN 21 NANCY MTEKI - PHOTOGRAPHY 27

www.povoafrika.org

Women of Valour Issue 08

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Calling into question the Chivanhu of public spaces CULTURE

BARBRA ANDERsoN POET/ WRiTER/ EvEnT COORdinaTOR & BaG dESiGnER

I have had my nose on it the whole time, asking an ordinary but important question: ‘Do people care?’

@BarbraBreeze

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fter experiencing violence in many public spaces on many occasions, I have begun to examine how safe the spaces people occupy in public really are and how to mediate by encouraging a basic respect for human life which I like to call ´Chivanhu´. ‘Chivanhu’ is a term commonly used in Zimbabwe to mean the behaviour of a society and the values that governs behaviour, promotes respect and peace. I began to look at the concept of ´Chivanhu´ when I was younger and dealing with the changes of becoming a woman, my journey of defining and upholding this concept has brought with it a lot of enlightenment and a lot of pitfalls. Regardless of what consequence I put a lot of value in the experiences I have collected and I have come to base my ethos around self love, love for another with respect, a sense of independence and too an exhibition of pride and strength in the face of adversity. ´Chivanhu´ symbolises for me a certain

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THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

kind of peace and sets guidelines for how I can look to the future to progress and I feel that it can be a tool to combat the violence and discrimination people are faced with everyday. My experience of public violence has been different over the years, some incidents to the point of physical confrontation and others based on shaming. One of the two experiences I want to talk about happened on a main street in Harare known as Jason Moyo, when a ‘street kid’1 surprised me by snatching my sun glasses from the top of my head. My second experience was at a shopping centre in Munich, where a middle aged white man walked over to me and my Zimbabwean female friend and spit right in front of us. In both these situations I can not clearly tell what I truly represented in the mind of my attackers but I am sure that they targeted me because I was different from them. In the first instance maybe because I was woman and seemed vulnerable and in the other probably because I was and a migrant.

What disappointed me the most about these two situations was not only my aggressive attackers but that I received no support or acknowledgement from the people who witnessed what had happened to me. My situations are but a few of public gendered and racial violence that is felt by a number of people and often perpetuated through insults and physical confrontations. I feel that the hate and anger I see exhibited is a sign of a certain kind of hierarchical socialisation that is apparent in most societies through gender and class structures that are stagnantly promoted by religion, educational institutions and political structures. In a world that is weighed down by events like the Holocaust, Hiroshima, the Rwanda genocide, the Vietnam, Iraq, Libyan and Syrian wars and now most recently President Trump, it is no wonder people are confronted with violence everyday and inequality is rampant in both the social and political structures.

Despite the wars and inequalities in the world there is a shift, noticeable today, as conservative public spaces all around are becoming centres of varying belief structure and cultures which could in the long run prove to be powerful enough to move past prejudices and discrimination. The `diverse society` that I write about might seem like a holistic view but I think it is possible through nurturing and implementing the `Chivanhu` of the world. I am certain that the first step to achieving this is by caring and fighting for others who face violence because of their sexuality, gender and race. Violence no-matter what reason is wrong, public spaces should be reserved for human interaction and social development. As a young, African woman I can do my part by talking about my experiences with others and giving room for the understanding of the power of communal values and universal love. 1 a child who lives on the street


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BARBRA ANDERSON


State of Poetry in Zimbabwe POETRY

LiNDA GABRIEL Life Coach | Spoken Word Artist Artivist | Theatre Maker @Gabzlin

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started off more as a protest poet, being macho, down with this and up with that. Then we had poets like Comrade Fatso, Biko, we had a number of poets with some coming from Bulawayo. There was something exciting every month to look forward to, poets were bringing in fresh work, new poems dope stuff. I left the country early 2008 and got exposed to the South African arts industry where poetry was vast, from love poems, protest poems, encountering women who were writing about being a black curvaceous woman, to things to do with motherhood to things where you address things you are going through as a step daughter, step son, half sister. South Africa exposed me to a whole lot of possibilities with what could be done with poetry, poetry with theatre, poetry with music, poetry with dance, poetry with different art forms and the power of collaborations. For instance I performed with seven powerful poets in South Africa, we collaborated on a show that we called Body of Words, it ran for three nights and in 2010 people had to pay R100 to come to the show. It was seven of us and our work was interweaved and so we 6

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When I got onto the poetry scene around 2005, times were very exciting, there was some revolution going on so we were more like comrades doing our poetry for a cause, we wanted our voices to be heard and we were being rebellious about the system. There were a lot of things we were unhappy with.

each had a space to fill in and we are talking about women like Philippa Yaa devillers, Myesha Jenkins, Kanyi Magubane, Natalia Molebatsi, Khosi Xaba, Lebo Mashile including myself. These were very interesting

times for me, going to University to study where I met different art forms where you start looking at site specific performances where you know if I want to perform at this bus station, what am I performing and who am I

target audience where I learnt breaking the for of conventional places for performance. Now I can perform at art galleries combining my work with visual art where I can make any space be a performance space. You could come into a gallery space and poetry happens, where I move with the audience. So You could come to my show and there won’t be seats because I want to be moving with you from one scene to another of my work. Moving back home the scene has totally changed from what it used to be, eight years ago when I got onto the scene. Right now I think the poetry scene is kind of ‘boring’ in a sense, some of the poets I know are still performing the same poems and the style of performance has also remained the same. There are some poets on the scene like Synik who is really dope, but he is also into hip


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POVOAFRIKA TRUST

Some poets will be reciting the same poems over and over again and nothing has really changed

We are also at a point where not much is being done like so we don’t have, lets say ten solid poetry events being done in a month or the first Saturday of the month, something where you know you can hop on and off from one poetry going to the next. When I got back last year I really had to find my ground and say hey you cannot wait for someone to organise poetry events, what if none organises then it means nothing is going to happen.

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Another factor is that many arts venues have been closing down in Zimbabwe and the way event are being organised is still

the same as seven years ago. So for someone like me there is nothing really new to look forward to when going to poetry event because you know the same way it was organised in 2007 is still the same way. So if a new poet comes onto the scene they will go to the same event for a year, when they realise there is nothing changing about this poetry event they may stop coming or they will get discouraged.

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hop so he fuses his poetry with a beat. But there hasn’t been much experimenting with the work, how many are fusing poetry with dance, how many are fusing poetry with soundscapes or with a huge band playing live? There are poets like Upmost and Outspoken who I know have been playing with bands for years, but how many more have come out of that? Some poets will be reciting the same poems over and over again and nothing has really changed. One of my inspirations is Michael Jackson, if he were to perform the same song he would do it differently, the set would have changed the lighting will have changed, the way he enters onto the stage with the same song would have changed. How many local poets are doing that. The stuff becomes stale.


Breaking the Silence

EXPERIENCE

Rutendo Mutsamwira MODEL / POET / WRITER

PHOTOGRAPHY

Âť

Asteria Malinzi

@RuTendoDeNise

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’ll get straight to the point and mention these difficult and uncomfortable conversations by name: sexual abuse and molestation, drug abuse, suicide, mental health and wellness. There are many, but the ones I have listed are 8

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

There are many things about humanity and human relations which make my heart sink. At the top of that list is our collective culture of silence over difficult and uncomfortable conversations and situations.

what I have experienced from childhood right to adulthood. I do not like to generalize so there will be no statistics here, just a lady who has overcome a substantial lot by the Grace of God and realising there is an desperate need for more people like me to share their stories and get more people speaking and healing.

Before I unpack parts of my story, if there is one you remember from this, may it be on the importance of identifying, unpacking and processing whatever you have witnessed or experienced as a child. I find, and again, this is based on personal experience, that when we suppress and ignore things we have been through, there

comes a time, usually when you are getting along with your life that all the pain, hurt, guilt and shame rise up and demand to be confronted. That being said, all it took was a poetic challenge titled #1738 earlier this year which both shook me to the core but also demanded I revisit my dark and not so glorious past. #1738 was a creative experiment to test how I could translate my thoughts and conversations based on a picture I would take at 17.38 every evening. To give you context, here is my very first #1738 poem titled Jacarandas & Sunsets:


Jacarandas & Sunsets A meandering conversation left me feeling antsy, confused, and exposed and all forms of upset… But still that couldn’t take away the beauty around me of Jacarandas & Sunsets... I’ll never know what he, she, they, them thought when my body they explored… Yet this led to years of suppressed emotions which a meandering conversation forced me to no longer ignore…

It’s a tad too much to fully comprehend that back then, on strawberry swing a part of me woke up and died. Jacarandas & Sunsets, a reflection of God’s greater glory… And now a permanent reminder of how a meandering conversation revealed to me the enormity of my story.

That is the backdrop of my story. Where everything started. I was sexually molested by both men and women from the age at eight. Everything I have been through is directly linked to what happened to me when I was a child. There is chronology

When I was about between the ages of 14- 16 I began to self harm. I used to inflict so much pain on myself and it is only now more than a decade later I realize I was merely transferring what I felt on the inside outside. I used to scratch and cut my arms but would hide it by covering my arms. I would wear my jersey and long sleeved clothing every single day. In the thick of October heat I would be there covered up, sweating and refusing to address what I was desperately trying to ignore. I suppose I couldn’t adequately articulate what it was I was mentally trying to block out. This was also the season I tried to commit suicide. It was, together with the other five additional attempts a dismal failure.

It is for this reason that I am certain God hand picked me to live to share my story so that the silence is broken. There are too many people walking around with collapsing souls because they either cannot speak up and get out of mental bondage or have exposure to stories like mine for them to realize they are not alone. By the time I had finished my A Levels, I was already a seasoned drinker for my age which at the time I would laugh off because I had such high alcohol tolerance. Tsk Tsk Tsk… By the time I moved to university out of Zimbabwe I not only had access to ridiculously cheap alcohol, but I evolved from being a casual cigarette smoker to a chain smoker. A chain smoker and part time stoner/ pot head. Apart from a unit I failed in my first year, I was still attending class, getting good grades and graduated on time. I was still suppressing what happened to me and this manifested in different ways. By the time I graduated and started life in

“the real world” working, I had become a functioning alcoholic. You could never tell I was more than tipsy because I just didn’t have your stereotypical phuza face. I would start my morning with either a glass of wine or some strong Gin and Tonic. I would substitute porridge / cereal for a couple of drinks before work. During my lunch breaks I would sometimes go for a drink or to blaze and still achieve and sometimes even surpass targets. It’s a dangerous risk and cycle because you go on with this lifestyle until one day, you don’t get away with it. For me that was at Zimbabwe Fashion Week 2015. I had smoked a blunt/ joint the afternoon before I was supposed to close a collection. At this stage of my life, I had smoked so many different grades of marijuana I dismissed the potency of the grade we smoked ( as I usually did in that season).

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The longer I reflect on it, the louder my conflict is inside…

in the way pain and self harm manifest. In hindsight, this is probably what has had the single biggest influence on how my relationships have panned out because my view of relationships and pleasure were distorted before I had a full appreciation of what they both entail.

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Jacarandas & Sunsets effortlessly beautiful as I reflect, mourn and scorn at a secret and secrets which robbed me of my innocence which left my heart and spirit aching and eternally sore….

Asteria Malinzi

Mind blown. Heart cracked. Soul aching and kinda sore...

CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 Women of Valour Issue 08

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 9 As the time for me to model drew closer I had a couple of drinks (I mixed drinks. Disaster). Thankfully I managed to model without causing a scene because by this stage of the evening I was drunk high. Nobody could tell but that night was and is such a blur. I remember going to the bathroom and falling flat on my face. Guys, I am definitely not the lightest person alive so you can imagine how long it took drunk high me to get back on my feet. Again, thankfully, I had somehow managed to lock the door because if anyone had walked in on me in that state and had taken photos I would have been trending to this day. That was the last straw for me. I was terrified at how much risk I had put myself in and knew that if I didn’t get my act together I was going to have another situation, probably worse than that night so I decided to be super low key.

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Asteria Malinzi

At the beginning of the year, I decided to recommit my life to God. I mean, yes, I went to church, could recite a couple of prayers, pray for myself and others, but I still felt so hollow. 2016 has been such a hectic, beautiful, intense year for me. I am grateful I am able to share my story at any given opportunity my way without it being a fire fight after a tabloid expose!   In November, I started #TestimonyTime on social media. Realizing the fact that after going through what I’ve been through and see, God has still kept me and I harbour no anger or resentment in my heart is something to celebrate and share. I shared parts of my testimony overcoming sexual molestation, drug addiction and multiple suicide attempts. I have always been highly aware of the influence and impact I 10

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have on people. That in itself is a gift I do not take lightly. I knew and know that for me to share my story and experiences was going to inspire many others to rethink how they perceive others and their behavior and to also open them up to unpacking and the process of healing. There has been such an outpouring ever since I started #TestimonyTime. Both men and women sharing their stories of abuse, addiction, suicide. I am not ashamed to share my story because I had been suffering in silence for far too long.

We worry about what Baba or Mai Nhingi will think if they hear our child has gone through this, or we have gone through that not realizing that we all have pain and issues we are dealing with. For as long as God grants and leads, I will not stop sharing my story. Opening up has also made me realize there are not enough conversations being had on mental health and wellness. There is so much unpacking and healing needed on an individual and collective level. There is only so much anyone can say or do to help you unpack what you

have been through experience. The choice to face and conquer will always remain yours. It’s not always a beautiful process from the start but I can assure you it’s worth the time and effort. For I ended my year speaking to some girls from my former high school because I wish I had someone like me talk to me earlier. That has become my non negotiable priority for as long as God grants and allows. Connect with me via Instagram/ Facebook: RuTendo DeNise or email: rutendomutsamwira@outlook.com


Boarding school in Uganda NOSTALGIA

Doreen anyijukire mother / farmer / writer / administrator,

I had made missing out on afternoon lessons a habit with a couple of friends.

@anydorah

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e usually stayed in the dormitory, or jumped over the school fence to relax under a barren mango tree in the school farm. This to some skilled’ friends was a time to mint monies from games like playing cards and draft. To the rest of us it was investment time, a time when we hired mercenaries to play cards and give us returns and dividends on our investment. Business was good, I must say. Because hey, we were never taxed and the mercenaries were top notch. This went on without a black spot, warnings were sounded but like HE Museveni’s continued shun on corruption year in year out, we never hang our boots. The only slight trouble I visibly recall is when my friends lied to our teacher of Physics that I was back at home seeking medical attention after being absent in an afternoon physics lesson and miraculously with the devil’s aid, dad came to school to give me up keep money for the coming week since he wasn’t going to be at home over the weekend, when I usually went home to pick the money. More to the upkeep, some uncle wanted to see how older I’d grown since he had last seen me in my lower primary school. Otherwise, angel Michael was always on our side.

The afternoon I wish to share is one when as we rested in the dormitory as we’d always gone about it, the toughest teacher I’ve seen my entire life (this one would have beaten Phelps at the Olympic gold medals if toughness was a category too) lol... As always, his appearance came like a thunderstorm. He closed the door to the first dormitory on the block, to the next, next, you’d hear stamps of racing students, cheers from onlooking students, the rest y’all know. That afternoon, he walked straight to my dormitory, Tigers 18 precisely. We all saw him through the glass window, my friends ran out of the dormitory. I said to myself “this is not how I’ll bow outta my pride”. Ninjas don’t die that easily. I went straight to the floor beneath the decker. The teacher did what he was best known for, scaring around, promising to forgive whoever showed up at that point. I up to-date don’t buy that Roman - doctrine. I could listen to thoughts in my mind that encouraged me to stay there even if he showed up with a nuclear bomb on my behind. Two boys surrendered, they were beaten to a pulp. What else was I supposed to believe, dude was murdering people even after extending his signature olive branch. He walked to my bed, loudly wondered how happy

‘ka Ninyebuuza’ (nickname) might have been to attend Friday afternoon class. Surely, how happy could I have been?. I could hear the rage and anger in his voice and hiss. I stretched slowly, raised my right arm to my forehead, made the sign of the cross, said a few prayers and asked God to receive my soul and let it rest eternally. I said my Amen and closed my eyes.

Come to think of it, if that guy had afforded beating almost to death the boys who willingly surrendered to his side of forgiveness how about a ‘Ninyebuuza’ who was acting’ Kayihura’(Ugandan Inspector General of police) under the bed, wasn’t I going to earn a painful death by hanging by the balls with a sack of bees tied around my neck?! lolest..... On opening my eyes, there was no one in the dormitory, evening tea, supper had all been served and it was prep time...

Woman POETRY

Tanatsei Gambura Student @tanagambura

I have an appetite for the hungry Wonder swimming in your black irises, For the certitude fast fermenting in your Winery. The grapes are aged and ripe – fiery fervor rolls off your Fierce tongue. Bend your knees, meet the ground And sink your fingers into the dark soil. Sputtering red embers beckon; Draw in a deep breath and Empty your lungs. Ossify, Ossify, Ossify. Women of Valour Issue 08

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THE PLACE OF WOMEN MUSICIANS IN ZIMBABWE where most of the audience is but then not all audiences are in the ghetto. That cannot be all, relevance also is required in order to pull numbers.  However, I paused a question asking if we are asking the right question here.  Whilst Tinashe Mutero asks “Is there a place for women among Zim’s Big Five,” I felt the question should rather be “Is the Big Five a yardstick by which to measure excellence and success of musicians?” 

EQUALITY

Batsirai Chigama Performance Poet / Short Story Writer @BatsiraiChigama

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BATSIRAI CHIGAMA

fter a recent debate sparked by Tinashe Mutero’s article, “Is there a place for women among Zimbabwe’s Big Five,” this question may well be put to rest as the women artists seem to have decided their success cannot be determined by an establishment whose modus operandi is not clear and is determined by a few individuals. The Big 5 has been home to the likes Oliver Mtukudzi, Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah, Alick Macheso, Winky D over the years with promoters organising shows that are headlined by the five. The five undoubtedly command a large following and being crowd pullers are 12

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

For almost five years since the emergence on the BIG FIVE, a clique of the supposedly five best musicians in Zimbabwe, debates have been going on asking one main question. Why are there no women artists in the BIG FIVE?

favourites of promoters as there is money to be made. The “boys club” as has been bandied by many, largely benefits from many of the top promoters. So the girls simply want to know the winning formula, that which sets these 5 apart from the rest, say, the foundation upon which they can build and bigger and better even though many of them are already. Whilst it is apparent that hard work and perfecting one’s craft as well as a good marketing strategy is key for every musician’s success, it remains

an enigma that in the past five years no women musicians have been accorded a place in the Big Five which paints the clique as a male dominated space. Save for the recent mention of Ammara Brown, that is all the hint there seems to be of possible inclusion of women musicians. Most of those who took part in the discussion indicated that most women artists have perfected their stagecraft and produce quality work, most sentiments expressed the need for the artists to work harder on connecting with the audiences, that is performing in the ghettos

It is all limiting to think that there has been no women artists worth of recognition in the music industry. Names that featured the most included Ammara Brown, Sandra Ndebele, Busisiwe Ncube, Tariro neGitare, Diana Samkange, the late Chiwoniso Maraire, Hope Masike, Fungisayi Zvakavapano Mashavave, Dudu Manhenga, Prudence Katomeni Mbofana and this is not to say there are no other women musicians who can make the cut. Edith WeUtonga had this to say, “Why wait for someone to decide whether we make the cut or not?  Some were given the opportunity, space to showcase their trade and some had no audience, no music, no talent but were given the space till the audience got used to the ‘music’ they produced.  And yet the space is not being given to women.  I believe we have very talented women in Zimbabwe and its about time we created our own spaces.”  This was echoed by Hope Masike who said, “Expecting and believing we deserve recognition as women even as good artists nje won’t get anyone anywhere. We need


interrogating and trying to find out why women in music are not making it to the selected group of the Big Five. This would therefore bring out a plethora of issues but it cannot be overstressed that this discussion was not to seek preferential treatment for women artists.

We hope to see more collaborations and platforms created by the women artists themselves to promote women artists in all sectors as well as groom young women artists who need guidance and support from those that have gone before them it “just remember , TMU (take money united), serve God, change lives ..., recognition will come as a bonus, or never come.” Marian Kunonga alias Marikun ChiheraFilms had some tough love to share.  Being a film maker Marian was unhappy of how women musicians are portrayed in music videos and how sometimes the lack of coherence between video and

Diana Samkange, Queen Mashie and Vimbai Zimuto called for the organisation of women musicians in a way that makes them forces to reckon both within their individual capacities and as a collective. More collaboration, more synergies among women artists even with their fellow male counterparts. The debate was never about favours, it was about

We hope to see more collaborations and platforms created by the women artists themselves to promote women artists in all sectors as well as groom young women artists who need guidance and support from those that have gone before them. If the art is good, it may take time for some to accept but good things always have a way of attracting recognition.  It is good to see Fungisayi ZvakavapanoMashavave on the poster above amongst three of the musicians in the Big Five. We also hope to see more of this kind of representation. Aluta continua! Let the music play. Women of Valour Issue 08

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BATSIRAI CHIGAMA

song does a disservice to the musician; how women artists are continually  objectified. “Truly speaking trying to slot yourself in the Zim big 5 is lack of ambition grow bigger than our tiny country ad grow wings,” she says.

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Plot Mhako and Junior Spice Manjengenja concurred that on the need for artists to work really hard. Plot Mhako highlights a number of factors of which most stress the need for the artists to be accessible to their audiences so that they have large numbers of followers.  Whilst Plot Mhako touched on issues on NGO, Embassy and Corporate reliance Syndrome, it can be argued that we cannot be superficial when we are dealing with bread and butter issues.  We cannot begin to fault NGOs, Embassies and Corporates as sources of employment for artists be it male or female.  These are the very organisations that have sustained and worked with

artists who produce rounded quality work that speak to the causes shared with both the artist and organisation hiring. This is however not to say that artists should limit themselves to the paying audience only.  As Hope Masike candidly puts

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to let our work speak louder. Our videos, songs, stage work, brand images have to be ten times better, unapologetically excellent.”  She quotes SWAY, a production which featured Dudu Manhenga, Prudence KatomeniMbofana and Rute Mbangwa as a way of encouraging women artists to create opportunities for themselves and others.

The struggles that women artists go through in the industry are so many. There have been there and continue to haunt them even though a few strides have been made in recent years.  Women artists understand their situation better and it was refreshing to hear many of them contribute to the debate with confidence and stipulating what it is they want for themselves as players in the industry. #PullHerUp seems to be trending these days on social media wherever women artists support each other and is a highly commendable development which has potential to build strong synergies among women artists.


Ntsiki Mazwai No taboos and sacred cows

INTERVIEW

Ntsiki Mazwai SOCIAL ACTIVIST / POET @ntsikimazwai

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t this years Grahamstown Arts Festival (2016), Ntsiki Mazwai displayed commendable dexterity in the articulation of her one-woman poetry play based on her popular poem”Hey black girl”, performed under the Ntsiki Speaks experience. Her use of costume and lighting together with her dramatic human movement skills, discharged deep emotions centred on the plight and aspirations of the girl child, transporting the audience through a range of spellbinding emotions. Ntsiki has demonstrated a genuine interest in the development of the girl child and her works are centred on femininity, black consciousness and racial politics. Ntsiki has appeared in many public spaces reaching out to adolescent girls in particular. Ntsiki has generally demonstrated a sincere ability to connect with ordinary people without pretension. The artist’s discography includes two spoken word albums Mamiya and Ndigubani. In 2010 Ntsiki authored WENA, a book of poems. Ntsiki Mazwai also exhibits and models her fashionable bead work on her blog The house of Mobu. Miss Mazwai is known for her bespectacled photo appearances, radiant smile, free spirited adventures in her interaction with nature and also for the nasty sting in her tweets. Politicians, fellow musicians and 14

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Ntsiki Mazwai is a talented and versatile artist, whose interests span across an impressive creative spectrum of poetry, drama, bead work, music and social activism.

other famous individuals who have been on the sharp end of her twitter account (Imbongikazi yeSizwe @ntsikimazwai) will attest to the discomfort of having been audaciously confronted on social media. Ntsiki Mazwai’s latest twitter storm involved down playing the role of founding post-apartheid South African President and struggle hero Nelson Mandela. Mazwai in early 2016 defiantly tweeted that Nelson Mandela was not her hero,

African struggle. According to Maisela it was highly unrealistic to assume that Nelson Mandela could in his five years as South African president have comprehensively transform the adverse socio economic realities that were three centuries in the making. He went on further to argue that a lot of work has been done by the ANC government to lesson the plight of those classified as previously disadvantaged. Maisela cited the large-scale

Miss Mazwai is known for her bespectacled photo appearances, radiant smile, free spirited adventures in her interaction with nature and also for the nasty sting in her tweets and according to several main stream publications followed it up recently by praising former Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s achievements over those of Nelson Mandela’s. According to Mazwai Nelson Mandela was a “good black” whose role was that of maintaining white privilege. Admittedly that position has become a popular one among many young black South Africans. Asked for comment, political commentator Thato ‘Stix’ Maisela (not his real name) expressed concern over the wanton dismissal of Nelson Mandela’s role in the South

provision of formal housing, piped water and electricity to the previously marginalised. He however stressed that there was still more that could be done. Maisela maintained that newly independent /postapartheid South Africa would have required a critical mass of home grown professionals in order to effect a comprehensive and seamless take over of such a complex African economy, which was not possible in 1994. He added that most conflicts in Africa, ended up at the negotiation table where an outright take over by the weakened and formerly marginalised was impossible.

He reiterated that most of those formerly oppressive colonial governments held most of the cards at the negotiating table thus in terms of professional strategic expertise, capital and in many cases geopolitical leverage. What this then would ultimately translate would be that those who were to come into power would come in with very little administrative and professional experience as these skills had been effectively denied of the greater majority, while the new and inexperienced government would be forced to cater not just for the previously disadvantaged but the nation as a whole. Again Maisela spoke of the complexities of globalisation and how ones government’s policies are impacted on by macro economics and global politics. Maisela pointed out that there was a need by government to involve itself in rehabilitating societal problems at community level and formulating relevant educational programmes which would better help the previously marginalised to adapt to the demands and pitfalls of what he termed as “blindly existing” in a modern world fraught with its socio economic traps and obstacles. He also suggested that the corporations needed to ensure their own sustainability by sustainably investing in the well being of communities. To Mazwai’s credit however Maisela stated that the larger than life image of Mandela was being exploited by some

CONTINUED ON PAGE 16


TAMUKA MTENGWA

» PHOTOGRaPHY Women of Valour Issue 08

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14 quarters to bury the past and therefore such sharp and shocking criticisms of Mandela were being made to sober up the conscience of South Africans to enable the realisation of a better future having dealt decisively with the hauntings of the past. Asked for further comment Mazwai differed with the angle of the mainstream media and maintained that it was historically and factually incorrect as well as mischievous to recognise the role played by Nelson Mandela whilst down playing the roles played by many others who fought in the struggle.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Âť

TAMUKA MTENGWA

Ntsiki Mazwai has also been known to celebrate traits of black identity and is famous for denouncing weaves which she regards as a demeaning appropriation of European aesthetic features. Asked by this reporter whether weaves were a more convenient method of hair grooming among black women, Mazwai dismissed the position as a popular myth. Ntsiki Mazwai stressed the need for the black female to be comfortable and proud of her natural features. There has been quite a lot however that has been written about the politics of colourism and how lighter kin and other more European feminine features (narrower nose, thinner lips, long straight hair etc) have impacted on the wellbeing of black females. Nahomie Julien in her publication Skin Bleaching in South Africa: A Result of Colonialism and Apartheid? delves into the colonial and Apartheid politics of fair skin and European features, and how that has impacted on the self esteem and well-being of those black women who do not naturally possess those features. 16

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

Ntsiki Mazwai has also been known to celebrate traits of black identity and is famous for denouncing weaves which she regards as a demeaning appropriation of European aesthetic features

According to Julien in 2014, 35% of black South Africans thus mainly women went through various and often-dangerous processes of skin lightening. Fairer skin has also be associated with better job opportunities, the attraction of a more financially able male spouse and generally a better perception of personal humanity. Again Ntsiki Mazwai may be often be considered as a

social media menace but these matters have actually proved to be very serious societal matters. Lastly Ntsiki Mazwai speaks of the entertainment industry as a very ugly place. A place of gender bias, bullying, unbridled greed and what she termed as “boys clubs�. This again stands as a very serious issue were uniting women for collective

progression is a challenge. The stark divisions of race, class, age , qualification, tribe, colourism, religion and personal ideology may be stumbling blocks that may need to be interrogated and challenged in order for women in general and black women in particular to overcome in order to achieve collective advancement. Ntsiki Mazwai currently completed her Masters degree in Creative writing and looks forward to embarking upon several interesting new projects in the future. Words by Tamuka Mtengwa


These Gates POETRY

Wadzanai Chiuriri POET @blackpearl263

The gates that keep me from seeing the back of my television set, The gates that keep me from seeing the back of my television set, The gates that keep me from seeing behind the back of my television set. I almost didn’t take a walk in South Africa It just reeked too much of the blood red Stained on my newspaper The stench of exaggerated half-truths I almost didn’t believe in her sanity They made her language sound aggressive And I never thought I would discover myself In a language unfamiliar to my tongue They reduced her to a flesh eating machine I was afraid to step off the aeroplane I thought I would fall on a knife and become A dead sensation with a complicated court case Hovering over the memory of me And these borders that God knows who created These politics and poll tricks That limit me to specific space, time and mind frame The gates that keep me from seeing the back of my television set, The gates that keep me from seeing the back of my television set, I thought I was too fat for to go to the beach Too plus to fit in a bikini They led me to deny my feet the chance to encounter that deep Soothing soft naked sand I deprived my soul the waters because of them I almost didn’t rub shoulders with my sister I almost didn’t see Azania’s face in Vangi’s eyes I almost didn’t look at Quaz’s hair And feel the history of his growth I almost didn’t see Nigeria’s foolishness in Dagga’s silence I almost didn’t take a walk with Page I almost didn’t meet Africa The gates that keep me from seeing the back of my television set, The gates that keep me from seeing the back of my television set I almost wasn’t here.

Women of Valour Issue 08

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Daughter of a Sangoma CULTURE

Mildred Dube S tu d e n t / vo i ce ov er a rt i st B logger / mot i vat i o n a l spe a k er @mimi_dube07

B

orn and raised in a traditional family, my mother who is a Sangoma/traditional healer made sure that I was rooted to our African culture. I now have the ability to connect with my ancestors, I honour them and I believe my life rests firmly on the foundation of their sacrifices. My ancestors are a tremendous source of healing, guidance and companionship. What I enjoyed the most growing up were the traditional ceremonies such as the ritual killing of a cow or goat, the pouring of sorghum beer and dancing to the traditional songs. Through these ceremonies I learnt how to play the Drums,Mbira,Hosho and how to communicate with our ancestors. Annually a traditional thanksgiving ceremony is held, sacrifices are made to the ancestors for protection, health and prosperity. This is an opportunity to communicate with the ancestors, call them on for good luck,blessings,fortun e,assistance and guidance. To beseech them we give offerings such as slaughtering of a cow and home brewed beer. People sing and dance wearing different outfits which include beads, leather, different colours of cloth, indlukula/ngundu and worship tools such as “intonga/ 18

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

For many in Africa, traditional healers are trusted advisors on matters of the body, mind and spirit although in most parts are not officially recognized by the governments. Traditional healers are of the African Traditional Religion, God seen as the creator of the Universe in the same manner as within Christians and we communicate with God through our ancestors.

tsvimbo”. My mother being a medium chosen by the ancestors to become their host, during the ceremony she becomes possessed by the ancestral spirits, they act and speak through her, it has always been my duty to dress her accordingly during this time. Having the spirits communicate through her does not only happen during traditional ceremonies, different people consult her anytime with issues such as illnesses and cleansing, these are all issues that she is accustomed to treating with some blend of herbs, animal

as a symbol of my sacrifice to the ancestors however this does not make a Sangoma because the ancestors who inhabit me are just spiritual guides. This is not something that you chose, you are chosen, I’m not different but simply gifted. I have dreams in which I see things that are going to happen. I am not afraid or ashamed to having accepted my calling, it is a life of purity where ancestors that are living in you are there for you. When someone has an ancestral calling there are signs, my signs were constant dreams of water and cloths since a very young

My Christian friends would invite me to church, I did enjoy being in church but I felt unwelcome because oftentimes the preacher would curse tradition and I always felt that it was personally directed to me parts or rituals. After a person has been healed they bring gifts such as money, pots, plates, cows and goats. I had an ancestral calling, I took the bravest step and accepted my calling. A ceremony was held for me where a goat was slaughtered

age. My mother became a sangoma way before I was born, I was born in 1994 and I grew up witnessing the life of a sangoma. I was taught the traditional dances and how to embrace the spirit of the ancestors. My mother knew that having a

calling would be difficult for me but it’s the way of our culture and tradition. Accepting an ancestral calling is not as complicated as it is believed to be. It simply requires sincerity, purity and a deep understanding of what it is exactly that you are accepting. Accepting This path does not necessarily mean you have to give up your life. Not accepting the calling could cause serious problems for the family such as marital disharmony, miscarriages, feuds within the family and financial problems. I did face challenges growing up as I had friends who came from Christian families which identified Ancestors as demonic. I was often told that I believed in evil spirits, my beliefs were insulted and it went right to the heart of what made me. In school I felt like most teachers did not like me because during religious studies they had nothing good to say about the African traditional religion knowing well who I was. I hated school and I sometimes wished for a different family. My Christian friends would invite me to church, I did enjoy being in church but I felt unwelcome because oftentimes the preacher would curse tradition and I always felt that it was personally directed to me. I got used to the insults, it was rough at first but then I later became good at arguing my position and I stopped going to church.


Many people do not realize that the subject of belief is very sensitive and everyone has their own story. People spit out hurtful words not knowing exactly what they are doing. Africa is falling apart because of judgement. What I believe is wrong and what you believe is right? You stand as the judge, the jury and executioner over me! Does it make you feel superior? Does it make you righteous? Religion is like a pair of shoes, find one that fits for you but do not make me wear your shoes. Africa’s culture lives on, our traditions have stood the test of time. Our traditions are packed with provisions and laws for all stages in life and these have helped every African to live in an acceptable manner. Zimbabweans are not proud of being African, they have been mercilessly brainwashed. Everything African in inferior and everything Western is good they believe. We Africans were without religion until the westerns colonized us, demolished our sacred shrines and our beautiful art was burnt to ashes. We Africans were stripped off our identity, culture and tradition. Other African countries like South Africa love and embrace their culture but Zimbabweans are ashamed of their culture. We should learn to respect and honour differences, become bonded in a common culture peace which commits all to love humanity. Let us be proud of who we are, let us portray our culture and traditions wherever we go. People look down on Africa and this should be changed. Women of Valour Issue 08

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WHO SAYS I CAN‘T CODE IN HEELS EQUALITY

FADzAyi ChiwANDiRE WEB dEvELOPER @fadzayic

Right company, right culture

It is important to never underestimate the importance of company culture, and for a lot of women in tech the wrong company culture for us might make us feel like “we are not cut out for the job” or “not as good as the boys”. For instance, we all know majority of the companies have hackathon nights or require the developers to stay after hours and plugin to get most of the pieces of code done before the rest of the noisey office comes the following day, which fits perfectly well with the boys because a) they might be single so they really don’t have anything to rush home to, or b) if they are married, it is kind-of accepted for a man to be at the office for long periods of hours. For women however, this is very difficult especially ones with families because the expectations around a woman with a family are that of being a home-maker, “you have to make dinner, and put the kids to bed, and make sure the house is clean, layout the kid’s uniform for tomorrow and make sure their homework is signed etc” and the idea of a woman staying up late at the office is one that is still being frowned upon. A lot of women aren’t comfortable with this either. So when it comes to culture, the question one needs to ask is, what does their culture say when 20

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

It’s not a secret that the tech industry is male dominated and although it seems like more females are getting with the program, we still have a long way to go in order to strike a gender balance. And because of this, it is very difficult for the few women in the industry to maintain their femininity and stay true to themselves.

it comes to such issues, will my colleagues and superiors frown if I have to walk out to attend to some mommy duties during a hackathon night? In most cases, if you find yourself having to compromise more of yourself to keep the employer happy, then the company culture is not the right one for you. You are who your friends are

I read a book by Robert Kiyosaki, Cashflow Quadrant, and in the last chapter of the book there was an exercise that instructed the reader to list six people they spend most of their time with, on the flip-side of that page, he mentioned that those six people are your future. Building a network of like-minded people is important in ensuring growth and also that you do not end up losing yourself in process.

It helps with accountability but helps with making the journey a lot less difficult, it really does get lonely out here.

Work with the boys, but don’t become a boy

One of the challenges is maintaining your femininity. I always ask, WHO SAYS I CAN‘T CODE IN HEELS? In an environment where one is a minority is easier to emulate the majority but the danger we fail to see in that is you become invisible, you become like everyone else in the room. I have witnessed some young girls who start off well, being themselves in their red bottoms and pencil skirts, but the boys in the room somehow manage to make them feel out of place and within a couple of weeks, they

also start wearing the famous old t-shirt, some jeans and sneakers and within a year they are one of the boys. Nothing wrong if that is who you have always been, but everything is wrong with this picture if it is everything you are not.

Keep Learning

At the end of the day. It’s gender that really matters when it comes to slicing the cheese, it’s the skill, it’s what you know and what you are capable of that earns you that respect. It is vital to keep learning and to keep abreast of the latest trends in the industry. This will also boost your confidence and soon your peers will stop identifying you by gender but by skill.

Nothing wrong if that is who you have always been, but everything is wrong with this picture if it is everything you are not


Women of Valour Issue 08

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FASHION DESIGN

»

Tanya Nefertari

@TanyaNefertari

CONTACT

» Info@Tanyanefertari.com Or Tanyamushayi@Icloud.com

PHOTOGRAPHY

»

Steven Chikosi


Littered souls POETRY

DuDu MANhENGA MUSiCian @dudumanhenga

The poem is inspired by the dirt in the streets. This for me is a reflection of what is happening inside of us as a nation more than just the dirt. Maybe a process of change of mind and other internal process will change the external environment.

More than they More sick than they We still blame they We are many They are few Littered souls Dirt we don’t mind Boys are girls Girls are boys Children are wives Wives are husbands Husbands are wives Self-marriage! Animals give birth to Man Upside down Walking about naked Our flesh no longer sacred The state of our souls In our streets Flying plastics Flying thoughts Stinking allies Stinking speech Littered souls Means of exchange dirt It’s more than the dirt on that dollar Robbers our protection This is a bad reflection Pick up that paper Clear your conscience Cover that body Erase perversion One piece of litter at a time Soon both conscience and land will be clean No more littered souls No more dirty exchanges Cleaner money Though not new No more blaming they We are many They are few RoyalD

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THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016


The Real Backstage Story PERFORMANCE

Penny Yon WRITER / Graphic DESIGNER / CULTURAL PRACTITIONER

A

spotlight pierces the dark stage to focus on an elegant figure, cool, confident, alluring, alight, alive, adorned in a stunning creation by an acclaimed Zimbabwean designer, a flash of jewellery and a powerful presence. With a discreet signal to the band, the music begins and she sets out to entertain, delight and entrance all those under the sound of her voice. gas was out – damn she forgot… that was because the taxi didn’t come on time and …

Higher! Higher! We’re on fire!

Sitting down to breathe in a quiet corner of the tiny busy washroom, her mind is still on high, shifting gears to scan her mental list of ThingsHappening-in-Life while dealing with Things-Happening-Now.

Thank you, thank you, glad you’re enjoying it!

Introducing this beautiful band: on keys… on bass… on drums … on guitar… on top form tonight

She did manage to send out the eflyer by social media, but hopes it’s reached the right people - not those that dodge paying at the gate… Oh you saw my post? Great that you could make it!

And did the advert actually get into the paper today? She should have just done it herself… But she had been so busy shuttling between rehearsals with the band and her main day job: Domestic Specialist. Did she remember to juice up the ZESA meter? Hopefully, because the

Oh yes, she’s a brilliant designer, I’ll give you her number …

Second set? Already? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome… [Hopefully the kids are deep asleep by now]

… to the second half of another sizzling performance, stepping up into high gear now…

[even though half of them missed half the rehearsals]

Hoza! Hela! [I LOVE my job].

Thank you and goodnight! [Taxi!! Hope the man is waiting up and the gate is open…]

Hi Babe, I’m home! [Whew, finally, back home …I LOVE my family]

[HOW high?]

What?! Supper?!

Let’s get it on, people!

[HE’S JOKING… RIGHT?]

PENNY YON

Hi, how are you? Thanks for coming! So good to see you!

But at least the dress got ironed in time or the designer would not be amused…

[Burning out is more like it…]

[These shoes are killing…]

Get up! Get down! Get round and round!

»

In the midst of all this adulation, she is sincerely hoping that her pesky left bra strap will stay in place. She trusts that the seriously high heel of her shoe doesn’t catch onto the swathe of ruffles around her feet, and she hopes to high heaven that the somewhat wobbly stage platforms are going to hold strong when she starts getting down... As the lights pulse and glare she prays that the sweat which is gathering at her hairline will not form runways in her heavy stage makeup, that her lipstick is not stuck on her teeth, or that the flashing cameras don’t get up too close just at the moment, until she has time to

cool down and do repairs in the break, in the privacy of the public ‘Ladies’ down the passage.

PHOTO SOURCE

With a wave of her hand or a nod to the drummer, she commands the flow of her performance, the height and breadth of it, the lights and shadows of it, the highs and lows of it, the flash and fun of it, the light and deep emotions she draws from her audience as the lights shift and pulse in time with the heartbeat of the song and its story. She is Queen of her stage, and her subjects pay due homage.

[not talking to you personally, mister, back off!]

Women of Valour Issue 08

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My natural resources BEAUTY

Kay Terera S pe a k er - Des i g n er @kayterera

I

’ve had a hate-love relationship with my hair for the longest time. I say hate-love and not lovehate because I hated my hair before I grew to love it. As a child sporting a pair of fluffy pom poms on her head, I often wondered why it was that my hair didn’t flow in silky waves like the women that I so admired on television. I wanted my hair to blow and float all around me like the damsels in magazines. Never mind the fact that there was no fan in my room. I wanted “the look”. I hated my hair because it did not conform to the carefully crafted image of beauty that I had been conditioned to accept as the gold standard. The “love” part of my relationship with my hair developed later in life as I gradually evolved into a woman comfortable in her own skin and the hair growing up (not down) from her scalp. I have now come to accept the kinks, the coils and all the frizz in between and have been happily sporting natural hair for over a decade now. Through this journey of nurturing my natural hair, I have learnt three valuable lessons that can be applied to the broader, fuller journey of life. The first thing that natural hair has taught me is patience. Factors such as dryness, and tangles mean that it may takes a minute before I see the growth 24

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

So, what’s the story with your hair? I hear that question a lot so, forget history, today I am going to share my hairstory.

there is the connection, the bond, the sisterhood that natural hair ignites in women of the natural persuasion.

experienced that moment when you’re walking down the street, minding your own business when through the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of another woman rocking her natural hair. Her glorious afro, twists, updo, locs or cornrows draw you in until you have to force yourself to snap out of it because you remember that your mother told you that it is rude to stare. But just as you decide to pull yourself away from gazing as that striking hair, you notice that the woman rocking that hair is just as mesmerized with your hair. At that point, you smile at each other, which is the female equivalent of the brotherly nod. You may even do the bold thing and make her day by telling her you like her hair. That right

Finally, the third thing that natural hair has taught me about life is what it means to love. I have often found that my hair is very much like person. It loves to eat. When I go shopping, I’m shopping for two: chicken salad and chocolate ice cream for me; olive oil, coconut oil, honey and avocadoes for my hair.

of my own strands. But with practiced care and persistence, the length will materialise just as the tortoise showed the hare that a little patience goes a long way. But as Afrikan hair grows longer and longer the wash days will test your patience. For long haired naturalistas, a wash day can literally be just that: a wash DAY! Between the pre-shampooing, deep conditioning, detangling and finally styling, it can feel like forever and a day. But when done right, the results make it all worth the trouble. All this proves is that some of the best things in life are worth waiting for and painstakingly working towards. The second lesson that my hair has taught me is sisterhood. Every naturalista has

Just like bae needs some tender loving care, your natural hair will love you for it if you deal with it gently and affirm it by treating it right. Natural hair responds to scalp massages, nourishment and frequent cleansing by floursing and looking glossy and full of life.

Just like a person, my hair can be moody when it wants to be, doing everything in its will to go against my wishes. But one thing I’ve realized is that you can cajole your hair into submission. Just like bae needs some tender loving care, your natural hair will love you for it if you deal with it gently and affirm it by treating it right. Natural hair responds to scalp massages, nourishment and frequent cleansing by floursing and looking glossy and full of life. Essentially, just like anything (or anyone) in your life be it your body, your friend or your mind, if you love it, it will love you back! It is these three lessons that inspired me to arrange a time to celebrate the sisterhood of naturalistas at the My Natural Resources hair meet-up held on the 5th of November 2016 at Pan Afrika restaurant. At the event women got to fellowship and learn best practices for natural hair and appreciate how beautiful natural hair is and all the valuable life lessons that our kinks and coils can teach us.


Kay Terera

» PHOTO SOURCE Women of Valour Issue 08


LITERATURE

The Blessing of Books

Kate Chambers University lecturer

I started asking for and donating books in Zimbabwe back in late 2010.

@kpczim

PHOTOGRAPHY

»

KATE CHAMBERS

I

was traveling along the Mutare to Masvingo road with my family. It was a hot day and we were near the Marange diamond fields. Predictably, we were stopped by a policeman. Security was especially tight in the area at that time. The officer came round to my window on the passenger side. He looked at the dashboard and saw some secondhand bo I started asking for and donating books in Zimbabwe back in late 2010. I was traveling along the Mutare to Masvingo road with my family. It was a hot day and we were near the Marange diamond fields. Predictably, we were stopped by a policeman. Security was especially tight in the area at that time. The officer came round to my window on the passenger side. He looked at the dashboard and saw some secondhand books I had there. Two of them had passed on to me by a friend, a third I’d found in Kingstons some time previously. He asked if he could have a book. Books are precious to me in the way that books always are when you spent hours of your childhood in a library. I wanted to give this officer a book - and I did - but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a teeny bit regretful to see it disappearing through my window! Books aren’t easy to come by in Zimbabwe, and anyway if you’ve got a family, they tend to be low-down on your list of buying priorities. I told a few people about this: my mum, my aunt, friends outside 26

THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

Zimbabwe. I even managed a small appeal in a newspaper. At the same time, there were more signs that books were one thing that maybe I and others could help with. A mother from a prominent government school near Mutare asked me if I could help with the school library. As books started to arrive in the post, I struck up

libraries in Bulawayo, Plumtree and Masvingo as well as in Manicaland province. I hand out where I’m asked: normally someone at the institution (sometimes a former pupil), the book club approaches me. Or I hear about an appeal for books. One of the great things has been the number of Zimbabweans both in and outside the country

Books aren’t easy to come by in Zimbabwe, and anyway if you’ve got a family, they tend to be low-down on your list of buying priorities a relationship with a teacher there and handed children’s books over to her to use as she felt best. Once people started to hear about the project, there were more donations -- and more requests. Book parcels I’ve managed to put together from parcels sent to me have gone to colleges, schools, book clubs and

who want to help. I’ve had piles of New African magazines and the Economist and National Geographics and novels and kids’ books, all of them delivered to me in labyrinthine ways. These days the post office imposes charges for anything received from outside Zimbabwe that’s fatter than a

single magazine. Magazines are a big chunk of the piles I hand out. The reason is personal: I have a son. I’ve always read to him but I quickly realised when he was of school-starting age that he wasn’t at all interested in reading “made-up” stories (his sister is). Give him a Top Gear magazine though and from the age of 4 he’d be glued to it even if he couldn’t understand any of what he was reading. Same with Popular Mechanics. A friend in publishing said this was a common phenomenon and that it was important to get boys “turning pages” in whatever way you could. When I was at school there was a kind of snobbery that said reading magazines didn’t count as “real” reading. Of course it does - and it can

mean boys develop a reading habit where they might never have done previously. That son of mine is 12 now and though he’d still always prefer to read a magazine he will -- occasionally -- pick up a “made-up” story these days. This isn’t a big project: it really is just trying to help “one book at a time” in my spare time. I’ve no idea of the exact number of books that have been handed out so far. But it’s certainly in the thousands. Quite likely more. And none of it would happen without the generosity of people from Hawaii to Harare.


Installation work by Nancy Mteki

FINE ART

NANCY MTEKI

“Before spending time trying to find someone, you

PHOTOGRAPHER

must first find yourself. Parts of the process before capturing a selfie is, that l have to connect with the space as much as l can. That space could be a specific set or something it in my thoughts. My artwork speaks, not only me but also for people who engage in the so-called #hashtagmoments. Don’t allow your habitual behaviour to dictate the real.” Nancy Mteki’s earlier works involve women and their daily experiences in society by deconstructing Claus Bach 2016

conventional forms of visualization. From February until May 2016 she participated in the International Studio Program of the ACC Galerie of Weimar. She is currently working on the meaning and influence

»

of social media, selfie culture, beauty and the self.

PHOTOGRAPHY

@nmteki

“Worrying about your followers, you need to get your dollars up.” (Aubrey Drake Graham) Women of Valour Issue 08

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God Bless Our Men a prayer for Afrika’s Sons POETRY

Nokululeko Tladi POET

Let God grant us freedom from pecuniary chains Lest our children thirst though this land is fat Let God shine her generosity and help us lift ourselves from the rubble of oppression God Bless our men, their works, their aspirations Let her be kind to their pockets Let the devices of their enemies break at the spine and never materialise Let our children’s fathers taste of the land what it gives The sweet of its waters and the wholesome of its foliage God bless our men God redeem our progenies through their fathers And in turn, God bless us their mothers May God tighten our men’s resolve to truly sire Never letting them mislay their virility Lest they turn their ways astray God, please bless our men, our fathers, our brothers and our sons Give to them the light to their power Heal their hurt so they may construct and not destroy Mend them, God so they may acknowledge the kings in them And that way, too the queens in us God sanctify our beautiful men Grant them resilience so they may uplift Free them from the bonds of fear and its paralysis Its hateful grip and the scars it leaves God bless our men Their mothers, their women, their children God bless Afrika Amen.

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THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016


Women of Valour Issue 08


Contributors

Barbra Anderson

Tanatsei Gambura

Batsirai Chigama

Fadzayi Chiwandire

Linda Gabriel

Ntsiki Mazwai

Mildred Dube

Fungai Machirori

Doreen Anyijukire

Wadzanai Chiuriri

Dudu Manhenga

Penny Yon

Kay Terera

Kate Chambers

Nokululeko Tladi

Nancy Mteki

Be a part of the Movement! Rutendo Mutsamwira

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THE POVO JOURNAL December 2016

POVO depends on your contributions. The main thrust being to get people to document their opinions and share them on a wider platform. We are not looking for reportage, there are millions of sites reporting the news and issuing press releases. All Opinions, Features, and Interviews have to be unpublished, it must be published on POVO first and then can be published elsewhere. By Sharing your opinion and showcasing your work you become a part of the POVO movement. If you have an article that you may consider to be of relevance to the youth in Zimbabwe and Afrika then feel free to contribute - contribute@povo.co.zw.


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QUARTER 02 ISSUE 02 / 16

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{ www.sustainzim.org

@SustainZimbabwe} Think

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PROFILE

11 Muunganirwa fish project

CARTOON

Introduces Zim’s own 13 climate saviour

Changing Mindset in the face of changing climate 09

QUARTER 03 ISSUE 03 / 16

Stay Green!

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{ www.sustainzim.org

@SustainZimbabwe} Think

CLIMATE CHANGE

ENERGY

The Clean 05 energy Project

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QUARTER 04 ISSUE 04 / 16

Stay Green!

COP21

CLIMATE CHANGE

ENERGY

Improved Cookstoves

“Cutting illness, 02 not trees”

Climate Change

10

The Kariba REDD+ Project

13

Solar lights up new hope for remote school

ENERGY

Energy 02 Sustainable for Children

05

Unpacking the Paris Agreement Prospects

ENERGY

MINING

COP21

SOLAR

FORESTRY

Adaptation Success in 05 Buhera

How can mining become

more environmentally 07 sustainable

ENERGY

11

Promoting distributed renewable energy

Communities Reduce

Vulnerabilities Through 02 Effective Planning

05

How Local communities’ livelihoods are being transformed in Zimbabwe

ENERGY MINING

COP21 And COP 22 Youth 10 Digital Climate Mapping

Young Africa Zimbabwe

offers Solar Technology 12 Courses

F E AT U R E

F E AT U R E

What do tertiary students know about climate change? A survey investigating the perceptions about climate change among tertiary students in Zimbabwe

F E AT U R E

F E AT U R E

Chipendeke MicroHydropower Scheme

Water hyacinth as a source of alternative energy

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Interview with Hon. Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (MP) Minister of Environment, Water and Climate

Page 8

SustainZim is a quarterly tabloid newspaper that promotes a green culture within Zimbabwean homes, schools, work places and everyday lives. It is a platform to document various sustainable development projects in Zimbabwe. Showcasing and publicising the work being done by these organisations by government, civil society groups, companies and individuals and encouraging partnerships and networking amongst these various stakeholders. It aims to step up the fight against Global Warming and Climate Change by raising awareness. 10,000 copies to be distributed free to key stakeholders, colleges, universities, schools, public libraries, government departments, civil society, the general public and companies.

Submission Guidelines

PRINT RUN

10 000 COPIES

Articles to be between 350 - 750 words maximum. Content must be original work, and must not have been published/accepted for publication elsewhere. In the event that there is a request to republish the work elsewhere, POVOAfrika will link the creator directly and will not act as a middle man. It is the responsibility of authors to ensure that all copyright issues have been addressed prior to submission. Any consequences for copyright law of infringement will be duly borne by the defaulting author. You the creator will retain all rights to your work. All articles will also be published online on www.sustainzim.org After article has been published on the website the author may publish on their own platforms.

If you have any articles, events, news snippets, please send them to the contribute@sustainzim.org


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