BY AGATHA CHUMA
CYNTHIA “Blackbird” Mapando is a 20-year-old Harare-based spoken word artist, presenter, script writer, motivational speaker who believes that words carry a message that can change the face of one’s perception towards life.
She works as a presenter for national broadcaster ZBCtv under YGT and LipSynck as well as other organisations such as Bira Renhetembo, LitFest and Kodzero Talent Show, among others.
The bubbly determined poet believes that every voice has a platform, not just the loud ones but every one voice, and her voice’s platform becomes loud only when she is interacting more with the world.
At such a tender age, she has hosted three poetry shows: Mapapiro Poetry Jam, Red Carpet Poetry Slam and The Art In You Exhibition.
NewsDay Life & Style caught up with Blackbird, who eagerly shared her poetic journey.
How did you develop interest in poetry?
Poetry was something that saved me when I was trapped inside my darkest days.
The pen and paper were the only things I could find comfort in during sadness and depression, so for myself to understand the unknown, I looked deep inside and realised writing was all I needed.
I would let out my emotions in ink as well as my joyous moments too.
I guess it was something in me but hidden because the right time wasn’t up yet. But as time went by, I got attached to my scars (Poetry on paper) then I turned it into something unique to look at.
How has been your journey so far?
The journey has been awesome and amazing, tiring and scary at the same time.
Despite life’s detours, I grew because of experiences and if it weren’t for anything I have faced so far, I don’t think I would have been where I am today. You get to meet different people, different mind-sets, different attitudes and that is the uniqueness of being a poet.
My poem Lean on me inspired someone who was on the verge committing suicide. As short as it was, it was strong that it drew someone from dying of suicide.
I understand poetry is a way of communicating with people who are in different situations and for myself, I feel happy that one chose to turn to me when they were faced with a life or death situation.
It was an opportunity to use my God-given talent and pull back someone who wanted to commit suicide without realising that maybe they still have a life of laughter and joy to experience. I’m really glad I did it and through poetry.
Your inspiration in poems
My poems have always been about life, every circle around it depending on what I see, hear or feel, the people around me, the process I’m taking as well as where I am coming from and where I see myself at.
The inspiration in my poems is deep, from either I talk to you through poetry or you talk to me and I listen as a poet. That’s how the inspiration comes and goes around.
Besides poetry, was else do you?
I work as a presenter for organisations and for our national TV. I enjoy interacting with people from different backgrounds, that’s why I chose TV presenting.
So, how do you chill out?
My favourite chill out I would say is hanging out with positive mind-sets, creative and hard workers. Other times chilling out with what I do best, that is being at work which is presenting.
My biggest achievement so far is having the ability, the courage, the determination and diligence to let an idea become a reality.
A poetry red carpet event that I hosted last month is also part of my achievements as it is the biggest event I have ever hosted in my entire life. I truly believe it is something worth applauding and worth being the biggest achievements of my life.
Well, as much as I would want to say otherwise, I think my determination and ambition can help me with visualising my future and I sense it is full of goodness because my beginnings might be messy but the ending will never be small and I trust God that where he is taking me is Just Unexplainable, just WOW … I just cannot say much.
I would say mostly trying hard to pull the audience out of their couches really is still a major challenge that I’m facing. Sometimes I end up bringing an artiste as a way of marketing strategies and also to avoid hosting a flopping event.
Sponsorship is another huge challenge that sometimes draws my spirit down, but as a determined person, I refuse to get defeated, so I look for other means to sustain myself.
Message to aspiring poets
The tougher the road, the sweeter the destination. Embrace each other and everything that you come across and train your mind to see well in every situation, be it good or bad it happens for a reason.
Remember you are not alone.
- Follow Agatha on Twitter @AgathaChuma