Home » General » ’Dzinonyandura’ – a Brave Poetry Anthology

“Dzinonyandura – Svinga ReNduri” (2014, edited by Tinashe Muchuri) is a brave bundle of Shona poetry brave in the way it was put together and in the themes and patterns of the poetry it carries. It is literally a bundle of logs of different lengths and thicknesses and the poets are the restless wood-cutters!

Although its imprint is of 2014, the book was made available earlier this year and already has shot into the Zimbabwean A-Level literature syllabus beginning next year. It features a new breed of poets who take turns to showcase their deeply lyrical and sometimes narrative poetry revolving around matters of African culture versus manners of humanity.

If poetry is poly-sensory as someone once said, then this anthology achieves the appeal to all the five, maybe six senses we were blessed with!

The anthology’s background is an exciting story. It all started on “263 Nhetembo”, a Facebook page upon which new poets shared their works and automatically elicited open comments from many Facebook friends across the globe. No one thought this would be an initiative that will grow to transcend certain local publishing barriers normally faced by new poets.

The poets, led by “263 Nhetembo” project coordinator Rabison Shumba, who is also featured in the anthology, decided to put together resources and gather their poems from the social media to produce this anthology.

“The poets were challenged to post poems daily in a mentoring fashion, poems that touched on people’s lives in this century. Most writers in the book are seeing their published work for the first time. They never thought they could ever be published authors,” says Shumba.

And Shumba’s words about the new poets’ dreams forthwith echoes one of the poems in the anthology by Brighton Muponda titled “Ini Chaiye?”

Surely, the debutants in this anthology must be feeling both overjoyed and surprised by their break into print wherever they are, possibly daily kissing or going through their personal copies of “Dzinonyandura”, thinking like the dreamer who, in the poem “Ini Chaiye?” says:

Ndange ndiri pakati pechaunga.

Mufaro wakati tika tichisvetuka ngoma

Ndopaita andisundira pakati pedariro

Ndikarutsenhura rumbo chita chikaombera

A, ini kushaura zvakadai?

Zvinoshamisa!

It is amazing how this happiness although experienced in a dream in the poem “Ini Chaiye?” contrasts and is seemingly preceded by the disappointment in the poem “Ndotamba Mutambiroyi” by Idzai Iris Mushayabasa. No matter how hard the persona in Mushayabasa’s poem tries, there is no appreciation and heshe wonders:

Mudariro munoda nziyo yamunoziva imi moga,

Titambe tose monditsika zvigunwe

Mva, ndovovora ndobaiwa

Yenyu moyo mbembe ndichiyuwira!

Ndotamba mutambiroyi kuti muti ndagona?

Facebook, the platform which gave rise to this anthology, is well celebrated by Evidence Makuni in his poem “Facebook” but the poet also secretly bemoans the cultural values which it replaced:

Yakaenda nguva yekuudzwa ngano navanambuya pachoto

Yakaenda zvayo yekurumwa nzeve nanatete

Zvangova fararira pamunhu mumwe

Iwe zimbuya-zitete revanhu vamwe

Uri zifadzavanhu, zirairavanhu nezimhunzazve, Facebook.

In their simplicity, their conscious and unconscious use of basic poetic devices such as rhyme, refrain and rhetoric questions, the poets, most of them born after Independence, show a great deal of cultural discernment.

Thirty-one year old Catherine Mapanda’s poetry is celebratory and largely draws from life and a Christian background. Mapanda has appeared in another anthology “Tsuro Ndisunge” (2015).

Another poet Sharon Ngomani, a student at Midlands State University, who features in “Dzinonyandura”, also has a number of poems in the same “Tsuro Ndisunge”. In “Dzinonyandura”, Ngomani knows all creative writing, including poetry, is about subtlety and turns her selection of words is unique. One is persuaded to like her polite condemnation of superficiality like:

Dai kunaka kwaidzivirira zvirwere

Dai vamwe takatofushirwa neundonda

Zvino kunaka hakupo pasvomhu yacho.

The poets in the anthology ward off formulaic writing. Emotions mould the form of each poem. Like a photograph, some poems reveal the shape and texture of each emotional curve, exposing the ills of contemporary life.

Rabison Shumba’s attempt to capture a variety of voices of prisoners in one poem gives an overview of how helpless society has been made to look by crimes such as the “unheard of” rape of men by women, unrepentant thieving, and murder committed by old people.

Have we ever noticed that the majority of the so-called vendors who operate in the city centre, playing hide and seek with city council police, are women, hard-working women passionate about fending for their families? The descriptive poem “Mhai” by Mildred Jaricha is a tribute to such a mother:

Handikanganwe paya mairova mitunhu,

Saga rechemberedzagumana mumusoro,

Middy makasungira kumusana.

Iwo mapurisa ekanzuru omhanyisana nemi,

Maishingirira tiwane chokudya mhai.

In fact, Jaricha, one of the youngest in the anthology, loves culture as much as the rest of the poets do. Being a parent, who, in hisher right mind, would give a daughter in marriage to a man of indiscipline? Nowadays young men misbehave in front of their would-be in laws and here is a reminder to these Zindogas:

Zindoga iwe sedemo zvichida ungakanganwe,

kukanganwa zuva riye waisandiziva

nokusandiziva wakaita chipitipiti neni,

Hechi, ndicho chabvongodza mvura pakati pedu

The on-going non-existent supply of treated water in the city is fast becoming a “tradition” on its own as Davison Mudzingwa observes in one of his poems that: Mumba, zvigubhu zvokwikwidzana nzvimbo nenhumbiZvigubhu kurunda madziro emba semudungwe.

The outstanding awareness of “sound” in the poems by Tinashe Muchuri (the anthology’s chief editor), Edwin Msipa, Rutendo Tapiwa, Brian Tafadzwa Penny and Chenjerai Mazambani, seems to come from the poets’ experiment with words on stage. This group of poets regularly perform or read their poems in public.

Muchuri in his poem “Haisiyo” resorts to song and there is an element of performance. There is an interest in traditional musical instruments (mbira, ngoma) in Penny’s poetry. Mazambani uses repetition of the same word but in different formations to convey different meanings such as in this part of a stanza:

Rusununguko kuve wakasununguka,

Pakusununguka wakasununguka

Uri wakasununguka pakusununguka

“Dzinonyandura”, carries poems by seventeen poets observing life in alternating moods, sometimes meditative, other times humorous which makes the book a friend and you can only agree with established writer Memory Chirere who praised this anthology by saying, “Uyu muunganidzwa wenhetembo isvinga risingaremi kutakura parwendo sepwa! Ukati fambe-fambe wotyora womenya wotapirirwa.”

For comments and feedback: tapuretabookshelf@gmail.com

Source : The Herald

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