Lingiwe Patience Gumbo (LG), an administrator and secretary by profession, has been slowly growing her arts career as a musician and poet in fulfilment of a childhood passion. A singer-songwriter, she has released an eight-track album and two singles. She is currently working on her second album. Her poems are featured on various online platforms like Miombo Publishing and Girl Child Creativity.
Married to Gerald Gumbo, she spends most of her time with her two children at their home in Chitungwiza. She speaks to NewsDay (ND) Features & Lifestyle Editor, Phillip Chidavaenzi.
ND: You are both a poet and a musician. What is the relationship between music and poetry?
LG: Music is just poetry with melody and everything is knit together, so I no longer struggle to write either of the two. Remember, the poem Arise Beloved Zimbabwe which I turned into a song? It shows the relationship between poetry and music is very strong.
ND: Would you say you are stronger in one of the two genres?
LG: I believe there is a balance. I am more of a writer of poetry and other literature and a musician. I have not explored much in spoken word art but mainly on the writing.
ND: Who has been your greatest music influence?
LG: My family helped me realise my potential in music especially because we had a family choir and we would sing daily at home and in the church choir.
From there, when I discovered the gift of composition, the passion grew. However, I treated it as a hobby such that I never pictured myself in the front but back. I was more comfortable with writing and teaching others how to sing my songs. So as I grew up and clearly defined my purpose and place I confidently embraced the musician I am today.
ND: You released your debut album, Worthy of All My Praise, in 2017. What was the feeling like?
LG: It was amazing. I could not believe that my dream had finally come true.
ND: The poetry collection, Words of Life, came out in 2019. What has the response been like?
LG: It has been very overwhelming such that I need to print more copies. Many have been sold and some distributed for marketing purposes, but overall, it was well-received.
ND: You are also the host of an online television show on NY Television. How are you able to juggle these different roles?
LG: All I need to do is have content and I always have something written down. So for the NY Television Breakfast Nuggets on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I make sure I record the nuggets beforehand and post them when required. I share my poems and music there as well as messages from a motivational book I’m working on. So it’s one and the same for me.
ND: In 2018, you were part of a group of poets who published the Don’t Give Up Africa anthology. What impact would you say it had on you?
LG: Through the guidance of the founder of Chikepe Music and Poetry, Takudzwa Chikepe, this was made possible as 12 poets contributed two poems each and we shared printing costs while the publisher was able to sell it on Amazon. It opened my eyes to the possibility of doing more with poetry, first as an individual and collectively. It pushed me to self-publish my collection and I now have an obligation to publish poetry books yearly. I’m also working on two, a Shona collection, Nhava Yebenzi and an English one, Matters of the Heart, to be published as soon as possible.
ND: As a mother and wife, do you sometimes find these multiple roles overwhelming?
LG: Indeed they are sometimes overwhelming because being a mum and wife is a full-time job. However, I’m blessed to have a very strong support system in my husband, Gerald, who helps out with some of my duties when I am not available especially the general housekeeping and taking care of the children. We have a system that works which gives first preference to family and everything else after. So for us it works and all things are balanced.
ND: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 or so years?
LG: In the next 10 years I see myself with at least five music albums and around 10 poetry collections, at least five motivational and five fiction books. There is so much that I have to share and the sky is no longer the limit.
ND: What would you say have been some of your greatest challenges as an artist?
LG: As an artist, the issue of funds is ever so challenging because without the required money nothing really can be done, so there is need to try different angles and do something to get money or assistance. An example is offering vocal services for cash or studio time. I am working on this to make sure my second album project is complete. Inasmuch as we need cash, sometimes our network can assist us in reaching our goals through different means.
ND: Now, Try Again is the latest single. Tell us more about it?
LG: It’s my latest single off my second album which I’m currently working on titled Gratitude. The song is out and will be heard on local radio soon. The official video is currently on my YouTube channel.
ND: What inspired it and what is the primary message?
LG: Try Again was composed after I had discovered through experience that you won’t get what you want without doing anything to make it work. So you must try and if it doesn’t work the first time try again and again and again until it does. So it’s a song to give hope that everything will be okay but we must keep pushing.
ND: What has been the response so far?
LG: The responses have been overwhelming. This is my very first video and the comments and appreciation are very encouraging. My family is ever so supportive and helping me push it as well. By 10am on Tuesday it had 145 views after having been uploaded the previous morning. I’m really grateful to God for such feedback.