Award-winning performance poet Linda Gabriel has added baby-sitting to her entrepreneurial business ventures to avoid depending on stage performances for a livelihood.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
In an interview with The Standard Style, the revered wordsmith who doubles as a wardrobe consultant and seasonally sells winter scarfs said that instead of complaining about meagre financial gains in the artistic sector, she was using her other talents to make a living.
“It is not every time that a poet gets hired locally and even if they get hired, they usually do not get lucrative income off it,” she said.
“As artists, I think we should not just continue to complain about the sector but rather be innovative and use our skills to create other ways of getting income.”
Gabriel has over the years attested to the necessity to do more than just art to meet daily basic needs despite creating multiple synergies and sharing the stage with musicians and other artists.
Armed with a degree in Applied Drama and Theatre coupled with a passion for children, her services include use of applied drama techniques to teach elements around reading communication and basic mathematics.
“I use what I learned so my clients understand the value I add on their children through teaching, although I do not do chores since I am not a maid,” she said.
Known for touring around the world in her career spanning over a decade, she added that she would minimise her frequent expeditions so as to focus on her businesses at home.
“This year I have no intention of flying out and if something comes up, I will be going for a few days then come back because I need to be here and it is an issue of consistence and trust that has to be created between me and my clients,” she said.
Having done the same business in neighbouring South Africa and Germany before, her plans locally are to open an agency that trains more people in order to ease her workload.
Poetry, which is largely deemed an “unpopular art” worldwide, has hardly been a main way of income generation even for pundits in the craft.
In Zimbabwe the situation has deteriorated further over the years owing to many factors, including closure of platforms that used to host poets.