By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu
There was never a time he decided to do poetry, he never chose to do poetry. He decided to be himself and poetry just defined itself in him.
Twenty-year-old poet Christopher Vembo, aka Kriss New-tone, draws his inspiration from a lot of things and people. He has no particular role model, but he admires Albert Nyathi’s originality and Chirukure Chirikure’s intellect.
The young poet is working on an album which will be dropped anytime soon titled Floor Manners.
“I am working on an album titled Floor Manners, which is going to be a classic collection of good poetry where I will be talking about the way I grew up,” Vembo told Standard Style.
“And after I drop the album, I intend to do a tour of the country. Meanwhile, I am still writing poetry as usual and sharing my pieces as is the norm.”
Vembo has also created his own online platform called Poetry Slam Café, where poets from all over the country network online to share poetry and learn from each other. He has also co-spearheaded the Nzwimabwe Poetry Slam, the first ever poetry slam in Masvingo and first ever of its kind in Zimbabwe which is held monthly at Charles Austin Theatre.
Vembo delivers his poetry judging from his audience.
“I deliver poetry in many forms. I am an extremely versatile artiste. I do contemporary spoken word, I do ***instapoetry, I do contemporary hip-hop. I also write haikus and sonnets — the list is endless,” he said.
“I am just pure water; the audience is my container. So, I deliver judging by the audience I have. But I am more vibrant in the slam poetry field.”
His greatest achievement has been creating different platforms for the young poets to showcase their talent.
“I have gained a lot from society and I give back by helping other poets by providing platforms where they can connect and compete in the spirit of art.
“Poetry Slam Café is an online platform l created where poets from all over the country network online to share poetry and learn from each other.
“I also do poetry seminars in rural schools alongside fellow poet Ngonidzashe Paradza, aka Nyanzvi Yemanzwi, who is a good friend as well. So the greatest achievement is helping young poets find their feet and coaching them as well.”
Just like any other artiste, Vembo lacks sponsorship for his poetry platforms. He said that there is a lot of talent in Masvingo, but finances are holding them back, hence less exposure. He is finding it hard to be published.
Ever since Vembo started poetry, he has produced a lot of work which circulates on social media platforms.
“I have produced a lot of work and I have lost count of them, my produce circulates all over social media,” he said.
“All my social media platforms are @Kriss Newtone in video form, audio, picture poems and also text.
“I have done a lot of live performances in different parts of the country. I get hired to perform at private and public events as well.”
His message to other poets: “Poets are the uncelebrated leaders and advocates of the world. The world needs you. Do not give up.”