Chigama launches debut anthology

CULTURE Fund of Zimbabwe director, Farai Mupfunya hailed renowned spoken word poet, Batsirai Chigama on the publication of her debut poetry anthology, Gather the Children, which was officially launched at the Alliance Francaise last Friday.


Mupfunya said the composition of people who attended the launch — drawn from various arts fields — was testimony of Chigama’s impact as an artist.

“She has managed to gather among us the best in all fields,” he said, adding that Zimbabweans should pay attention to the arts.

Chigama said she was inspired by the environment — whether she would be in a commuter omnibus — where she gathered information from conversations going on around her, and they eventually found their way into her poetry.

She said although the book was initially scheduled for launch in October last year, she was hesitant to do so for fear of being labelled an agent.

Chigama said she realised self-publishing was not an easy process, but she was grateful for the several people, who assisted her, including the editor, who pointed out certain errors for her to rectify.

“I had to follow the editor’s recommendations for the book to have greater depth,” she said.

Chigama’s friend and former workmate at Pamberi Trust and the Book Café, Rudo Chakanyuka, said Gather the Children was a well thought-out project.

“The poems are not randomly piled on each other but flow into each other and tell a story. Watching Batsirai and her editor, Memory Chirere, working was like watching termites at work as there was no antagonistic energy,” she said.

Mbira musician, Hope Masike staged a spirited performance at the launch while Theresa and Elizabeth Zaza Muchemwa read pieces from the anthology.

Renowned author and poet, David Mungoshi urged other writers wishing to self-publish to consult Chigama on how to process their writing into compact products.

“She was very tentative,” he said. “Even though we thought her poems were ready for publication, she held on, reworking them,” he said.

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