Harares Poet of Hope

pas_chirashaHARARE - Take a charming black prince, add decadence and straight face, and you have an unforgettable time and twisted stories of a country. Mbizo Chirasha is an iconic performance poet who has earned himself the title The Black Poet. (Pictured: Mbizo Chirasha, The Black Poet.)<

Born in 1978 in Zvishavane District in Zimbabwe, Mbizo was inspired by his social surroundings at a young age. As a young man, Mbizo quickly gained prominence as a performing poet and writer both in Zimbabwe and internationally.

The themes of his poetry include children’s rights, politics, social lives, gender issues, praise and protest, culture and African pride. Mbizo’s poems can be read in print, but are even more powerful when performed by the dynamic poet himself. With a vision of using his poetry to promote peace, healing, stability, and cultural freedom, Mbizo is a poet with commitment, talent, and a desire to perform whenever and wherever he can.

On March 22, 2011 The United States Embassy hosted Mbizo Chirasha for a discussion of the metaphor of voices and rhythm of words featuring a scintillating recital of his works to mark World Poetry Day.

The Embassy is pleased to mark this important day. Poetry calls forth those voices in society that would otherwise go unheard and gives them a powerful tool for expressing their deepest feelings, thoughts and beliefs. Poets have the power to influence hearts and change minds, said Michael Brooke, Public Diplomacy Officer at the US Embassy in Harare.

In typical poetic form, Chirasha told his audience, which included students from Westridge High School in Harare, that, metaphors are the lotion drying political syphilis from the manhood of the state, my pen is a broom sweeping vendetta pebbles from talk tables, and my ink is a detergent cleansing political stains from parliament overalls.

Chirasha, whose work is featured in over 40 journals and anthologies around the world, says the common theme in most of his poems has been respect for women and recognizing their suffering and endurance.

Chirasha read some of his published works, including Identity Apples, Anthem of the Black Poet, Decade of Bullets, Haiti My Generation, and the popular African Names.

Asked why he preferred publishing outside the country, Chirasha bemoaned the lack of structures to support writers in Zimbabwe, saying, We lack that administrative connection in terms of writing. We lack consensus as writers, and publishing houses are closing shop. Contributing to the discussion, another poet, Thando Sibanda, said the study of literature should be made compulsory at all levels of education in Zimbabwe so as to promote an environment that supports writers and poets.

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