Makoni publishes “healing” poems

Exiled award-winning girl child rights activist, Betty Makoni, has published a book of poetry and prose written to express and heal the pain and anger she felt at the death of her mother from domestic violence when Makoni was a child.

Betty Makoni: “I use poetry as therapy and to keep me strong.”
Betty Makoni: “I use poetry as therapy and to keep me strong.”

Entitled “A woman, Once A Girl – Breaking Silence”, the book comes after women and girls asked the activist to share her inspirational story.

“I started writing poetry when I was in Grade 7, as a way to take out the pain I had about my mother,” she said. Her mother died after heavy beatings by her husband.

“It was my own way of mourning the woman who was close to my heart. It was also a musical way of keeping myself going. Then when I started my work for girls, I used poetry as therapy and to keep me strong. Each time a girl came seriously traumatised by rape I helped her, but in turn I had so much pain that I had to nurse myself. Then every trace of pain was described in my words.”

She said that in 1999 her poems started “speaking” to her about the world of girls, her work and what she wanted to get out of it.

“My poems were recited by girls when they graduated. My poems also spoke to me when some people discouraged me and I used them to soothe myself when the work was tough. I found in them a way to get rid of my anger and stress,” says Makoni, now in the UK.

She also used poems to speak to people about things they should do in the world, like protecting children, helping them with education and making them “see life as something to be lived”.

“I wrote about death and loss. Everything became a solution in my poems. I did not want to live with questions, so every poem gives a journey I took since I was young until now… I was inspired by many literature books I read. William Shakespeare touched my heart, his poetic drama was something that connected me to a set of Shona prose poems. I found my contrast style to be what I wanted to use …where I compare that which is and another which is not.

“I have written over 500 Shona and English poems since I was in grade 7, but I chose only 36 best of my unpublished poems and left them in simple Zimbabwean English -a mixture which slightly tends to be Shonglish.”

Makoni’s book was published by Trafford, but is available at Amazon and other online shops. It will also be available in Zimbabwe by end of March.

Makoni is a global award winner and CNN hero for protecting the powerless. She is the Founder of Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe and through her hard work, the organisation has grown from classroom to global level.

Post published in: News

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