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Standard poets celebrate

By Style Correspondent

In what stands out as the dawn of a new era on the Zimbabwean literary scene, different people from various backgrounds converged to witness the emergence of an initiative that is expected to start the ball rolling in the evolutionary process of the literary arts of Zimbabwe.

The UpInSmoke Poetry Corner in The Standard celebrated its third anniversary last week on Saturday at First Floor Gallery located at Karigamombe Centre in Harare.

The celebrations ran under the theme Enhancing literary appreciation through creative writing and perfomance and featured breathtaking and unique poetry performances backed by a fusion of acoustic instrumentation that saw poets travelling from as far as Beitbridge, Marondera and Gweru to perform for the love of poetry.

The UpInSmoke Poetry Corner anniversary celebrations mark three years of consistent publication in The Standard.

Part of the proceedings included a discussion panel made up of experts from different creative backgrounds who all contributed immensely regarding culture preservation and the role of poetry in Zimbabwe.

The panel was skilfully moderated by Valerie Kabov, co-founder and director of First Floor Gallery, who brought out valuable contributions from the panellists as well as the audience on matters such as the traditional role of poetry in language preservation and promotion of cultural self-esteem as well as grassroots development.

Among the panellists was multi-award winning writer and poet Batsirai Chigama, who recently won an award for her book Gather the Children at the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama).

Nama-winning journalist and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Fred Zindi was on the panel as well as his childhood classmate, renowned actor and film director Stephen Chigorimbo of Studio 263 fame. Sanelisiwe Tsakani Muyambo, poet, writer and owner of Tsonga Mukololo Publishing House, was part of the panellists.

The panellists also included radio presenter and producer Sekuru Nhire Mutimbanepasi, who is a researcher in African culture and tradition, as well as Patience Musandirire, a teacher and musical arts education consultant.

The panel managed to discuss fundamental issues pertaining to the role of poetry as the carrier of tradition as well as poetry being a key player in supporting the vernacular in an urban population.

Among the poets that left the audience in awe with their powerful performances were High Voltage Poets from Gweru, Chioneso Rutsito, Osman Shato from Beitbridge, Khulekani Ndlovu from Marondera, Kwanele, Gudo Guru, Proflink and Eunice Kapandura, among other acts.

Event coordinator Khumbulani Muleya said the anniversary commemorations were successful.

“It should be noted that we don’t often see enough cross-disciplinary collaborations between artistes or organisations,” Muleya said.

“However, this event was indeed a resounding success of cross-disciplinary collaborations between First Floor Gallery and UpInSmoke Poetry Corner.”

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