ZIMBABWE’S new generation of poets will this weekend come together to chant a delightful array of poetry and spoken word at the House of Hunger Poetry Slam tomorrow afternoon at the Book Café.
Report by Tinashe Sibanda
Poets will compete in a slam or contest, culminating in prizes for the best performer and two runners-up. Several poets that have emerged from House of Hunger have gone on to achieve international stature. Comrade Fatso, Tongai Makawa, aka Outspoken, and Godobori are among others who have made their mark locally, regionally and internationally. They have also inspired a new generation of poets who have now come to the fore and these include Tendekai Tati, aka Madzitatiguru, Arnold Chirimika, aka So Profound, Dimitri Kwenda, aka The Scarecrow, and More Blessing Size, aka Momo Size.
“The event means a lot to me. It’s a podium I’ve been loyal to and I can’t imagine missing a slam. It’s that space where it’s really given me the time to be quick with my thoughts, to be articulate, to improve, plus exposure,” So Profound said.
He said he was taking principles, ideas and concepts based on personal development and believed that if one could change the individual, they could change everything around them and that religion was the core to such change.
This monthly showcase has grown into one of the most prominent spoken word and poetry events in Zimbabwe and features the best poets and spoken word artists in Zimbabwe.
“It is a critical ‘movement’ of performance poets who have made an impact artistically and brought to the fore the voice of the underrepresented youth,” Pamberi Trust spokesperson Tawanda Mudzonga said.
She added that a new generation of spoken word artists had increasingly sought innovative means to express their vision and hopes for Zimbabwe and the result was the emergence of a raw poetry movement dubbed “House of Hunger”, which has become a major feature of the local arts scene. Mudzonga said the genre was developed as a platform for youth expression by arts organisation Pamberi Trust at The Book Café. House of Hunger was named after a book written by famous anti-establishment author Dambudzo Marechera in 1978.
“The event has been and continues to be, an important platform for young poets to express themselves explicitly and to talk about issues that affect them in their communities. Combining poetry, spoken word and rap elements, it is an eclectic blend of English and Shona words expressed in rhythm that speak from the heart,” she said. Four-time House of Hunger Poetry Slam winner Madzitateguru used to write rap verses, but found that he couldn’t keep the rhythm. “I figured that with spoken word it is much easier for me to articulate what I want to say,” he quipped.
The 23-year-old who won the Afro-Slam Poetry contest in Johannesburg in 2011, has poems mixing Shona and English with delightful imagery and clever social commentary. He said he basically commented on the things that he saw.
“House of Hunger is a bit challenging. I had never done poetry as any sort of competitive thing, but the first time I did it, I entered into the second round, so that was quite something,” Momo Size said.