Simbilimbi, Na F.J. Nyambare (Sir Yoro)

Bhururu, bhururu, nhai bhururu wangu, 
Une chokwadi here iwe?
Ndaiti hudera asi iweka nhasi wandikanga mate.

Hwako hunyasire wandisiya mukanwa muri kangwa.
Paye tichakura zvimbuzi wainyora nendove, 
Kuchikoro matebhuru uchipara nematombo.
Ko nanhasi here nhai Simba?
Zvawava nendebvu wani sekakotora.

Ndakakutora ndikati chiuya dhorobha, 
Nendandi muhuro ukati hausiye, 
Musi uya pagungano rebhavhudhe raTobhi, 
Takakuona wodonha nepoto uchinwa muto, 
 Nanhasi zita rako vanongoimba: "Simbilimbi vadhesve"

Ndakakutsiura ukati zvapera.
Mako mumoyo uchibika zvitsva.
Takasvika nepo pamusiwo we Pick n Pay
Ukanyora kumusana kwemuchinda uya kuti ; ”Mahobho ndibhudhi"
Ndakatozomira ndini ndodemba demba, 
Iwe warova chitsoka ndibereke.

Pamusangano paya musi weChina, 
Nemunwe yako wakaitei pamuchovha wa Chairman?
Ukati haina kugezwa rega ndidzaratadze;
"Clean me ndinoba huku"
Asi chii nhai Simba?

Takambotora nguva usingafambe uchitya kurohwa, 
Ndikati ini zvaiwana ngwarati.
Ndazivei hangu kuti uri kashiri zvako kane muririro wako.
Nhasi ndati ndikupinzewo machena.
Umbotsapfunyawo zvakarungwa nenyanzvi.

Wandiitei nhai Simbilimbi?
Ukati vanofanira kusara vachikuziva, 
Chokwadi here mu Nandos, 
Kusiya waisa rwako rwunyoro?
Dai wanyora nepenzura nani zvaidzimika.
Kuita hwekupara here nebanga murume mukuru?
"Simbilimbi was here"
Wotoshama n'ai dzekuzvimbirwa uchiti "Chimakuruwani"
Aiwa bodo wandiorora Simba bhururu.
Nhasi ndadzidza,
Kuona Simba azonzi Simbilimbi hunhubu.

Nhasi ndakanda mapfumo pasi, 
Ndaudzawo Fungai wekwaJayaguru nezvako.
Nemashoko apererwa, 
Ndokuzongoti hake ; "Dira rizare bhururu."

Sir Yoro

Sir Yoromosi kana kuti Murayanhiki semazivikanirwo aanoitwa nevazhinji, ndinyanduri anobva mudunhu raShe Mashayamombe kuMhondoro. Iri izita rekunemerwa kubva pakunyandura kwaakaita pfungwa dzevakawanda mugore ra2014 pane chimwe chiitiko chemunharaunda iyoyo asi rake rekuzvarwa naro ndiFibion Joel Nyambare. Zvekunyora Yoromosi akazvitanga mugore ra2010, achibatsirwa naVaMushore vaiva mudzidzisi papuraimari yake iyoyo paNyangwene Primary School muMhondoro imomo. Akazosimudzirazve rwendo rwake rwekuva nyanduri ari kusekondari paRio Tinto Mhondoro High School (yava kunziwo Rio Zim iye zvino) achibatsirwa nemudzidzisi wake weShona, Amai Chembwa. Akazotsikisa rimwe rebasa rake mugore ra2020 mumubatanidzwa wenhetembo unonzi Maungira eZimbabwe. Zvimwe zvezvinyorwa zvake zviri mumamwe mabhuku anoti Dzinobva Muropa, Shamhu ine Munyu uye Ruvarashe. Kozotiwo mamwe ari kutsikiswa anoti Nhetembo Dzepasichigare uye Manyukira eNhetembo. Nyambare anofarira kuraira mukunyora kwake kunyange zvazvo achizombonyora rudo, nyunyuto uyewo dzemugudza. Mubatei pafacebook (Fibion Joel Nyambare, Nhetembo tv), youtube (nyanduri sir yoromosi) twitter (nyanduri sir yoromosi), uyewo instagram.

Women Writing Zimbabwe: A Review

The new short story anthology by Weaver Press, Women Writing Zimbabwe, delivers the high quality readers have come to associate with the publisher’s products. It contains fifteen stories by fifteen strong female voices of Zimbabwean literature.  When I recieved the book last week, I was in the middle of Toni Morrison’s Beloved and the Selected Poems of Derek Walcott, but I have since set the two Nobels aside for an adventure into the rich terrain of the newest Weaver stories.

So far, I have read Zvisinei Sandi’s “In Memory of the Nose Brigade”, Petina Gappah’s “In the Heart of the Golden Triangle”, Valerie Tagwira’s “Mainini Grace’s Promise”, Pat Brickhill’s “Senzeni’s Nativity”, Sarah Manyika’s “Mr Wonder”, and Rumbi Katedza’s “Snowflakes in Winter”. Sandi’s story would bring back memories to anyone who remembers the USA/UBA days at the University of Zimbabwe in its satirization of the life of the Nose Brigades versus the SRB (Strong/Severe Rural Background) girls on campus. I wasn’t involved in much campus social life as a student at the UZ, but I remember the conficting values of those students who considered themselves worldly with those who oozed a certain too-rural aura, two camps that tended not to mix, except around exam time, when study groups were formed to balance out potential (some SRB’s tended to be useful resources at such times), but this is just the surface of what the story really deals with: in its simplicity, it exposes the false sense of security, hence the deep-set insecurities of girls who considered themselves more important than the rural grade. Sandi does a good job of exposing some of the superficialities of the Nose Brigades in their efforts to act different and superior–the SRB’s get the last laugh.

Gappah, wow, what a narrator she can create, sharp like a razor and still managing to make you laugh while your heart bleeds. She experiments with the second person narrative point of view, giving the narrator an intrusive quality, much like a violation of your readerly space, because the story she tells could easily sound like your story, then you become aware of the gender differences between you and the narrator and you understand the protagonist as a person who could easily be your sister, niece, aunt. In a humorous way, Gappah exposes the deterioration of family relationships in the context wealth, where the wife knows of the husband’s extra-marital affairs, but her main concern is that he better carry condoms around in order not to bring the dreaded diseases home. The “small house” (that is, the mistress) ,no, that does not bother her that much, and even if it did, she met this man as his mistress, so then she focuses on enjoying the wealth.

This theme of wealth and the deterioration of morality is also the focus of Manyika’s story, whose narrator is satirical in her indictment of the moral decay. “Mr Wonder” starts in Avondale, Harare, and takes us to San Francisco (familiar terrain: Golden Gate Park, twenty-hour fitness) and back to Harare. Through some emotional and marital blackmail, the wife is able to make the husband purchase her an  American vacation. Of course, that works for him since he will have all the time to meet new women back home, while the wife in the USA flirts with young, handsome males. Meanwhile, the family driver who is made to accompany her discovers that he can use his religion to raise money as an African guru. When he is about to settle in a San Francisco of dollars, the family returns to Zimbabwe, and his dreams are derailed. The story returns to Zimbabwe too soon, and too playfully, but the reader is required to fill in the gaps. I would have wanted to see more of San Francisco, perhaps the woman actually getting in an affair that works, creating a “small house” of her own. Still, the linguistic acrobatics of the story and the richness of the implied possibilities make this story worth investing fitfteen minutes in reading it. 

 Pat Brickhill’s story was at first frustratingly slow and nearly pointless, until I realized that these distinct qualities are the source of its strength. It is not deceptively simple; it is different, focused on giving ordinary details about ordinary characters doing ordinary things. It pulls you in with its opening: “Parched roadside, grass, crackling leaves.” Then we are taken to a village, where, it seems, the narrator is intent on showing everything she sees on the terrain and the lifestyle of the villagers, until hers becomes cute story about caring and loving, the desire to raise and care for a child. Oh, when you see that it celebrates life for life’s sake, you want to read on, and before you know it, the story is beginning to interest you, even though you remember that you wanted to stop reading it on page two. By the time you finish you want to defend your rationale for having spent nearly thirty minutes reading it, but now you are holding a new baby with the characters. Who would dare say that’s a bad thing? Life portrayed; life celebrated.

I first read Tagwira’s story when it first came out on African Writing Online, and I remember its shocking ending. It is the kind of story you read and you become really upset. I can see it causing some to cry. The Mainini’s sin in this story is her state of victimization, and to Sarai, the niece, Mainini cannot be a victim of HIV/AIDS, a kind of how-dare-you turn of events. Her promise was to continue taking care of the orphaned Sarai and her siblings. Tagwira is a true advocate of the impoverished and AIDS-stricken, a voice of the disadvantaged.

 Rumbi Katedza’s “Snowflakes in Winter” is the story of Zimbabwe’s Diaspora, exposing the lives of Zimbabweans away from home. After the story takes the reader through the challenges of life away from home, the assault on cultural values that can easily happen, the restlessness and the confusion, it ends by emphacising the importance of family. Like most of the other stories, it has an element of humor that’s almost unbelievable given the circumstances the characters are in.

That’s what makes Zimbabwean literature breathtaking, that while it may send you to tears, some of those tears might just the creeping in of joy, when one feels the tug of hope even where hope seems impossible. This is a book of diverse stories that demonstrate to the reader that the fictional characters coming out troubled Zimbabwe have much to teach the world about endurance, impossible joy, and hope.

Zimbawean Author Gets Joint Book Deal

In a posting on her blog, Petina Gappah has announced, and confirmed, the news that she has secured a two-book deal with Faber & Faber in the UK and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in the US. The first book, An Elegy for Easterly, a story collection, comes out in April 2009 in the UK and June 2009 in the US, while the second, The Book of Memory, my first novel, comes out in 2010. In addition, writes Gappah, “Mouria, Gyldendal Norsk and Bonniers, three of the classiest and most respected publishers in Europe have bought the rights to both books in The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, so the books will come out at same time in Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish.”

“I am so thrilled, both for myself, but also for Zimbabwean and African writers,” stated Gappah in an email message. This is the first such joint deal offered to any writer by Faber-FSG.

If you have read any of Gappah’s fiction and other writings, especially her political commentary at such forums as the Guardian, Granta, Prospect, The Zimbabwe Times, you will already know her a facility with language and her riveting story-telling style.

Great news for Zimbabwe and the African continent, wonderful news for readers everywhere. I am looking forward to reading these books. For the first time I will be able to walk into a Borders or Barnes & Noble and actually find a book by a Zimbabwean author on the shelf, that is, if I even have to walk past the store-front New York Times bestseller list display!

Petina Gappah is a Zimbabwean writer and lawyer based in Geneva, Switzerland. She holds a doctorate from the Karl-Franz University in Graz, Austria, a Master of Laws degree from Cambridge University and a Bachelor of Laws Honours degree from the University of Zimbabwe.

Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Words of Wisdom

I have said it elsewhere, and I will say it again: I prefer getting my knowledge about nations and their cultures from creative writers. Art is able to capture aspects of life that the popular media has not learned to capture. I often trust that writers delve deeper (they better if they want to have a lasting impact) into the issues of human nature; they go even deeper than the philosopher. So it was with great pride that I read Tsitsi Dangarembga’s latest interview with Per Contra, which reveals some aspects of Dangarembga’s position on life in contemporary Zimbabwe. Below is an excerpt of the interview:

Dangarembga: Zimbabwe is a very complex issue. I think one of the most common misconceptions is that everything would work out in my country if President Mugabe were removed from office. This is a frighteningly simplistic and reductionist way of looking at a problem that has historical antecedents stretching back over a century. It is very unfortunate that some of our major opposition parties take this position because I think that such an over-simplification prevents the level of analysis we require to come up with solutions.To be fair to oppositions, though, it does too often seem as though the attainable goals are goals we set against each other. Nevertheless, there are a host of contextual factors that need to be put into the equation, and these contextual factors also include our own Zimbabwean pre-colonial, colonial, and neo-colonial idiosyncracies. These contextual factors determine a lot of people’s behaviours, including those behaviours that perpetrate abusive and repressive systems.

Another misconception in my view is that Zimbabweans are victims of one diabolical plot or another. I believe Zimbabweans are responsible for the current deterioration in the country due to crude egoism and materialism, and an inability to conceptualise and work towards a common national good.

Listen to this: “Crude egoism and materialism, and an inability to conceptualize and work towards a common national good.” Vaudze, mwana wamai! This is the dreadful question Valerie Tagwira raises as well towards the end of Uncertainty of Hope, when the narrator wonders whether the country will ever be able to return to a normal state even after the present situation has settled.

The Zimbabwean’s “inability to conceptualize and work towards  a common national good” may even translate to the inability to work towards a common “diasporic good” that seems evident out here. The only time we seem to have a serious natonal interest while abroad is when we do the materialistic Zim Expo chaos often controlled by the Western Unions and whatever other interests; and what’s up with the Miss Canada-Zimbabwe, Miss Britain-Zimbabwe and Miss USA-Zimbabwe craze that takes away from us focusing on issues that matter? Ah, at least we get to kick soccer balls and show off our diasporic acquistions at such gatherings!

Back to Dangarembga. Often very quiet in the literary world (Does she even do book signings?) she surfaces once in a while either with a new novel or the occasional interview, but when she does so, expect a lot of sense to come out her.  Her upcoming novel Bira seems promising, and a reader who will acquire all three of the books in the trilogy would have gotten quite a  treat.