AFRICA-Zimbabwe: Poetry is not a silent language. It is the official language of literary activism. Poets cannot be easily gagged especially in this advent of digital literacy and internet revolution. Poetry is a strong medium of creative activism and human rights advocacy. We are all shaped, serenaded and entertained into maturation by sweet lullabies, drum beat sounds and birdsongs: True cousins of Poetry. Song and dance are verse in motion thus poetry remains vehicle of freedom of expression and creative consciousness. It cannot be relegated to the peripheral pleats of human intellectuality but must respected in every quest for freedom and struggle for human liberation. Poetry weans us into realities and complexities of society as we swayed everyday by rough political winds. Revolutions that devour the dreams of generations for their tyrannical dinner. It injects the penicillin of sanity into the corrupted blood of rat brained devils and steel hearted dictators .At least they might repent after sipping a bitter sweet verse or more . The blunt edged swords of my metaphor and razor sharp flesh slicing irony burrow stinging truth through banking malls scarred by poverty graffiti .It roasts and boils sandy paper souls of political demigods . It blisters the long fingers of gluttonous bureaucrats as it scalds them with hot holy waters of satire and imagery. It is the language that fertilises the baobab seeds of revolutions in our long journey to freedom. Poetry remain the literary sword of resistance through and through. Transcending from violence smitten favelas of Latina Americas to corruption creased streets of black Africa. Napoleonic political set ups have been using art as a propaganda crank to effect segregation ,intimidation and totalitarianism .The modern underground protest poet is now conscious of true and false revolutions .He or she refuses to manipulated and then discarded into creative cemeteries like condom sheaths .
“……..Sing songs of afghan circumcised,
Damascus masturbating bullets
Sing Belafonte Sing!
Of revolutions that never crawled, sing!
Lumumba, see whiz kids castrating political gods
Nkurumah, see them mutilating revolutionary goddesses
Sing Kunta ,Sing Kinte
I am tired of revolutions importing colonial mood,
Propaganda decayed pimps frying anthems like frikadels
Tired savages roasting constitutions in corruption oil pans
Sing songs of freedoms that never walked, Sing!”
While today’s world is haunted by turbulent times of war lordism, regionalism, super-power autocracy , political banditry, Islam phobia and xenophobia. The poet and his poetry are the masons of resistance and drills of mass consciousness. Resilient voices have since saved vulnerable nations from sinking .For example, over a few decades ago, Zimbabwe harsh political twists, moral decadence and economic malaise helped in the birthing of underground poets and protest voices. Their crude literary art and satire of vitriol signalled abject poverty and dynastistic tendencies of ruling regime .House of Hunger Poetry Slam (founded in 2006) was a direct response to the moral crisis caused by dictatorial Mugabeist regime.
The fervent regime of protest poets overthrew the degreed old guard literists. The old guard poets had lost salt of expression due to fear and intimidation by the state. Most of them ended up as commissars of the failing but steel gloved Mugabe regime .Many had no choice but to succumb to profound silence for the purposes of their lives, careers and freedom. The brave lot of new generation protest poets are adamant and vocal about the police state , Zimbabwe . They took their aim at post liberation oppression, human rights abuses, police brutality and political violence as perpetuated by modern African leadership. Yesteryear poet’s language was against colonialism, slavery, racial segregation and apartheid .During those brutal years voices were vehemently thwarted .Likewise today African regimes gag, imprison, and plunder the freedoms and lives of resilient underground voices. Such experinces led me to create and curate the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Campaign .It has since generated in a Global Poetry of Resistance Movement speaking out against moral decadence , dictatorships , bad governance , abuse of human rights , gagging of freedom of expression through literary activism and resistance poetry. I have led in the publication of poetry e-books, curatorship of a weekly poetry of resilience platforms the Brave Voices Poetry Campaign in( miombopublishing.wordpress.com) and other platforms. I have turned Facebook into a republic of Art for Peace, Literary Activism and Protest Poetry through the active curatorship of pages, groups and timelines on Social Media. The yesteryear literary guerrillas like Carlos Bvuma ,Marechera , Mapanje , Chipasula, Soyinka , Neto , Anglou , Brutus and Hughes played their mammoth duties ,fighting for freedoms of their generations and the future .Literary revolutionaries of their time .We can’t afford to have our nations sinking into dungeons of banditry cabals and corruption cartels . We are indebted to use this official language of resistance, poetry .Even under all these depressing challenges of imprisonment , exile and intimidation.Poets remain the people commissars and their poetry as weapons of mass instruction. Aluta Continua!!!
“Azania, you sing silent mbaqanga in your sleep
Your children eating apartheid tripe and samp
I see the wild fire of Somaliland that everyone sees and
pretend to be blind. Let Samora’s spoken word caress
wounded palms of Mozambique.
I hear drumbeats of hope coming from Tumbuktu.
Kisingani your weeping silence reaches the throne of God.
Nyangani you cry silent dreams in your sleep, of children
harvesting paradoxes of history and metaphors of identity”
*MBIZO CHIRASHA is the 2019 International Fellow (literary activism) of the International Human Rights Arts
Festival (IHRAF2019). Vice Presidente dePPDM –Africa , El Movimiento Poetas del .Mundo(poetasdelmundocom)
Recipient of Global Literary Influencer Certificate of Merit by
Directorio Mundial de Escritores through Academia Mundial de
Literatura, Historia, Arte y Cultura (2018).