Zim Women Poets claim their space at HIFA, 2012

When Flora Veit Wild profiled poets in 1988 in her book Patterns of Poetry, she only had one woman poet, Kristina Rungano pitted against 6 men. I should say women’s voices in literary Zimbabwe have increased since then. We have noted the emergence of new voices like Ethel Kabwato, Joyce Chigiya, Fungai Machirori, Blessing Musariri, Primrose Dzenga and have other strong performance poets such as Aura Kawanzaruwa, Barbara Anderson, Wadzanai Chiuriri, Cynthia Marangwanda, Roxanne ‘Xapa’ Mathazia just to name a few. Some of these women will be performing during HIFA, 1-6 May.


Meet Zim’s women Spoken Word Artists at HIFA:

Chiedza Musengezi

 Bio & Photo Courtesy Of Weaver Press)Chiedza Musengezi has co-edited compilations of women’s voices with: Women of Resilence (Zimbabwe Women Writers, Harare, 2000), Women Writing Africa, The Southern Region (Feminist Press, New York, 2003) and A Tragedy of Lives: Women in Prison in Zimbabwe (Weaver Press, Harare, 2003). Her short stories and poetry have been anthologised locally and internationally. She taught in Ireland and she currently works for Legal Resources Foundation in Harare. Chiedza was published in Writing Still (2003), Writing Now (2005) and Women Writing Zimbabwe (2008).Former director at Zimbabwe Women Writers, she spent a few year in Ireland and returned home in 2011. Chiedza Performs at Poetry Cafe on 2 & 3 May 2-3pm on both days.


Batsirai E Chigama

Not new to HIFA, Batsirai has gained recognition in the spoken word community of Zimbabwe as well as Southern Africa. She has performed at several festivals and has been featured in five poetry anthologies to date. She also writes short stories and contributes to Zimbojam the most popular arts website in Zimbabwe.  Catch up with her at the Poetry Cafe on 2 May, as well as Sunday 6 May, 2-5pm on both days.


Barbara “Breeze” Anderson

Barbra Breeze Anderson is a poet, writer and designer. She started the art of performing in the year 2007 at the ‘Power In The Voice Competition’, a British Council sponsored event where she performed a short prose piece. Barbara has performed at the House of Hunger poetry slam at the Book Cafe,Sistaz Open Mic & Mashoko Spoken Word Events. Barbra is now working on various projects, one that she has put into effect is a monthly Poetry night event called ‘Poetry And’ launched in April 2011 where poetry is fused with different genres of art. She performs at HIFA on 1May at 2pm & 5 May at 11am at the Poetry Cafe.


Fungai Machirori

Fungai Machirori is a poet, short story writer and trained journalist. She has been writing poetry since about the age of 11 when she first entered a poem for the Bulawayo schools literary eisteddfod competition and received a second class certificate for one of her poems.

In 2005, Fungai (aged 20) was the youngest participant in the British Council Crossing Borders Literary Project – a project partnering local artists with British based mentors. Fungai went on to achieve a second place award in the national Intwasa Short Story Competition. She has since been published in two Zimbabwean short story anthologies and in 2010, was one of the featured poets in the Wales-published anthology ‘Sunflowers In Your Eyes’, a collection of poetry from four female Zimbabwean poets. Catch her debut appearance at HIFA Poetry Cafe on 1 & 2 May.

Other poets performing on different platforms include Wadzanai Chiuriri popularly known as Black Pearl as well as Aura Kawanzaruwa.