Masike pens Dzevabvazera anthology


AFRO-FUSION songbird and mbira player Hope Masike has penned her second anthology titled Dzevabvazera set to be launched at Theatre in the Park in Harare on Friday.

The launch of the Shona anthology, which carries 14 poems, is going to be a double event that will incorporate a mbira-themed concert.

“Perhaps you know me from music, playing mbira (a Zimbabwean traditional instrument) and singing. In February 2020, I published my first book — a poetry book in English titled Ask Me Again that discusses numerous themes on womanhood.

“Today I come to you with another book written in Shona. It is titled Dzevabvazera (For Grown Ups). As the title suggests, it has 14 poems most of which are erotic in celebration of Valentine’s Day and that element of love in general,” Masike told NewsDay Life & Style.

Masike said she drew the inspiration to write the book from the need to document culture, specifically the important role that a typical tete (aunt) or sekuru (uncle) played in “traditional” Zimbabwean culture.

“We used to have these important family members to talk to about adult matters, nowadays many are left to turn to content of a non-African epistemological nature. As such our values are getting eroded, and if not documented, will be buried with its custodians the day they die,” she said.

“I also wrote this book having been inspired by a lack of “clean” adult literature in Shona for the enjoyment of those who love our native languages.

“There is very little new Shona literature and I figured if we, the artists, do nothing to create and promote its market, then it is a dying art form.”

Masike said penning the book was also inspired by the desire to offer people “new” exciting literature divorced from common themes.

“The book is not mere erotica to just get people hot and bothered in the correct places, but it is written in a semi-academic, philosophically discursive fashion.

“Because of this, grown-ups of different values can enjoy the discussions brought forth in the book,” she said.

“Just as we go to the gym to improve our stamina, eat healthy to improve our health, read books on cookery to improve our cooking and so forth, nyaya dzepabonde (sexual issues) also need an effort in order to improve.

“We cannot continue to only consume non-Zimbabwean products made in other countries.”

“I would like to posit that this book is not for children.

“The law prescribes that a book such as this one must not be consumed by those under the age of 18.

“I chose to launch it towards Valentine’s Day so that I can offer my adult fans a different kind of gift for their lover.

“So, I hope the uptake will be huge and lovers will appreciate this kind of unique and mature type of gift.”

She added: “Then also in the face of seemingly increasing infidelity, it’s worth an effort to try to offer different possible remedies to the possible root causes. So, this book carries messages about all this. In summary the message is, in marriage, let’s both put an effort into improving for the sake of your other half and of your union.”

At the launch, Masike said the main guest performer would be township jazz luminary Tanga Wekwa Sando with whom she will perform his song Nyenyedzi and one of the poems in the book that celebrates his music.

“During the launch, the other guest performer would be the brilliant young poet Fadzai Katanda who wrote a beautiful Shona poem for me called Gwenyambirakadzi.

“She will perform that particular poem plus a love poem,” she said.

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