Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Feminism, Literature, Poetry

Women in Zimbabwe: Poems and testimonies.

In Zimbabwe as elsewhere, musicians, writers, artisits and poets are found on all sides of the political divide. Writing in Zimbabwe – Poetry International Web, Chirikure Chirikure writes 

"The Zimbabwe government tries to win artists over to its side.
As a result, the artists are divided into two groups: those that
support the opposition and those that support the government. The first
group of artists are denied access to the media and are not eligible
for financial support. Poets who support the opposition are even
molested by government bullies when they recite in public…..But
staying silent is equally impossible, I have to speak out; it is my
duty to my people.”

In 1975  at the age of 15 Freedom Nyamubaya joined the Zimbabwean liberation army ZANLA (the armed wing of ZANU) in Mozambique. One of her first experiences was to be raped in the camp.   Freedom wrote about her experiences as  a woman combatant through a series of poems and prose "on the road again" which brought to life her personal struggle and that of her fellow commrades.  The opeing poem is especially poignant given the corruption and betrayal of the present days leaders of Zimbabwe.

Now that I have put my gun down
For almost obvious reasons
The enemy still is here invisible
My barrel has not definately target
    now
Let my hands work—–
My mouth sing———
My pencil write——–
About the same things my bullet
    aimed at.

Excerpts from a Poets Diary by Freedom, March 9-15, 2004.   

Three other books that chronicle the contribution of women to the stuggle for independence in Zimbabwe are:

Mothers of the Revolution
edited by Irene Staunton  (1990) – First hand accounts of the women who were left behind in the rural
areas but at the same time were caught up in the "crossfire of war".

Writing still:new stories from ZimbabweEdited by Irene Staunton (2003)

More recently, Tanya, Lyon has published  "Guns and Guerilla Girls: Women in the Zimbabwean Liberation Struggle".  For a critical review see H-Net Reviews.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Its interesting this artist divide along political lines. Used to have that alot in Nigeria where big artists release songs for political parties (bet they still do). One thing that was always lacking were protest songs. Nyamubaya diary makes for interesting read.

    Every time I hear/read about Zimbabwe I think of Bob Marley’s big tune. wonder what he’ld have made of their current plight.

  2. Despair I would imagine! Freedom’s book was published by the Zimbabwean Publishing House though I imagine it is probably quite difficult to get hold of now – it is an excellent book of poems and well worth reading to get a woman’s perspective of being a combatant amongst men.

  3. I am the founder of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival (www.reelsisters.org) and we are seeking films by women of African descent which documents the conflict in France. We are looking for a first hand account of the lives and stories of living in France from a women’s perspective. Our film festival is held from March 10 to 12 at Long Island University, Media Arts Dept. in Brooklyn, NY. Please post this announcement and spread the word. The deadline for film submissions has been extended to Dece. 1, 2005. You can call (212) 865-2982 or (718) 488-1052.

  4. I am the founder of the Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Film Festival (www.reelsisters.org) and we are seeking films by women of African descent which documents the conflict in France. We are looking for a first hand account of the lives and stories of living in France from a women’s perspective. Our film festival is held from March 10 to 12 at Long Island University, Media Arts Dept. in Brooklyn, NY. Please post this announcement and spread the word. The deadline for film submissions has been extended to Dece. 1, 2005. You can call (212) 865-2982 or (718) 488-1052.