Local poet extends helping hand

Batsira Chigama

BY CHELSEA MUSAFARE

SPOKEN word poet and award-winning author Batsirai Chigama is working on a new project to create space for writers and artists to showcase their work as part of her efforts to give back to the community.

Chigama, who was at the International Writers Programme (IWP) in lowa, United States last year said 2020 was her year of giving back.

“My 2020 resolutions include giving back to the society. It is about creating space for writers and artists to showcase their work. I am also working on my second collection of poetry, which I am very excited about,” she said.

The widely travelled poet and gender activist recently told NewsDay Life & Style she would continue to lend her voice to the women whose voices have been silenced.

“By lending my voice, I am not speaking on their behalf; I am using the gift I have to share their compelling stories with the world if they allow me to; sharing stories that I am allowed to share as well as the experiences from the environments I encounter,” said the poet.

Chigama said her tour to the US — which motivated her to help improve Zimbabwe’s literary industry — opened her eyes to how much work can be put to create space for writers that allow interaction, collaboration and possible revival of the literary scene.

Chigama’s name has been largely associated with poetry slams and her work is featured in over 15 poetry anthologies in Zimbabwe, the US, Italy and New Zealand.

In 2002, she became the first Zimbabwean to take part in the Italian Nosside World Poetry competition, where she won a medal.

She was appointed the Woman Scream Poetry International co-ordinator for Zimbabwe in 2014 and one of her poems, Bring Back Our Girls, in which she called for the return of the missing Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram, was featured on BBC Africa.

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