“African Lament” . . . by Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean poet on the run

Vodun altar in Abomey, Benin courtesy of  Dominik Schwarz under CC BY-SA 3.0

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” Nelson Mandela



In yesterday’s essay by Mbizo, we learned what life is like for him and for artist-activists who are exiled for so passionately loving their countries and humankind that they are left vulnerable for standing against abuses of power. Through Mbizo’s essay today, we learn exactly what are those abuses and what is the fallout from them.

Thanks to those of you who donated to the fundraiser for Mbizo sponsored by the International Human Rights Arts Festival. It was a successful. Mbizo was able to buy food and a second-hand computer on which to continue his work when he has access to electricity.  A few have provided letters of support to the organizations that fund writers-at-risk moving to safe harbor. We now have the attention and support of a couple of those organizations. Progress! We still seek a host for Mbizo in Germany or someplace in Northern Europe preferably, though England or U.S. would work as well. If you can help, please email me at bardogroup@gmail.com. Thank you! / J.D.


OF AFRICA AND ITS AFRICANNESS
-political press,websites,magazines
-African Union Press
-United Nations Human Rights Press
– Sky News, CNN , BBC Radio Magazine
-Open Society Foundation
-Africa Report
-Africa Confidential
-Africa Writes
-American Press
– British Press
Oxford University Press

Harvard political press

Standard Zimbabwe

Essay Contest about Africa

International Essay Contest African Politics

EU-Delegation Press

SADC
-International Human Rights News/sites
-Freedom of expression websites
– A TRUE ACTIVIST
-AFRICAN ACTIVISM Journals

When chickens sprout claws and chase the eagle up the misty mountain, the corner has turned the road and normal is redefined. Shouted whispers armed with lethal prayers are  unleashed at the naked torso of a man, whose crime is spotting the looters of the lone old lady’s granary, leaving her myriad orphaned grandchildren with emptiness for dinner. Her acidic inner tears cough curses behind cupped hands as she coaxes the dying brood to rest in peace. What is stolen, is then sent to the market for the moneyed to fill their carts and celebrate the independence of a nation.

An itchiness wraps the land with a grandiose malady of anxiety and paranoia for the eyes of state hoots everywhere assessing the hearts of the masses for disloyalty. The music of the land has turned to a one liner in praise of a uniformed gravestone dressed in military fatigues. Even empty farts of the quarreling bowels must be timed to resonate with the loving tribute of the figure looming over the dry dreams of ruler ship. What a time of it the
dwellers of this land have. Daily they’re served with weighty slogans in praise of structures bent by the wind of gluttony. They watch in resignation as every rural youth runs across the border searching for sense and direction to a full stomach.

Africa, the land of mystery and the bucket list of many a Foreigner is a case of rot trading insults with vulgarity. You have been set up by outside drama kings of commercial shenanigans and now you are setting yourselves up. The irony is not lost on your coarse manner in which you treat your fellow kin. Your hand is rough and your manner immoral. Your heart is darker than your night sky’s on a moonless night. You are drunk on the ideas imported from lands that know not to respect the Creator. Blaming the past is a past time and preoccupation akin to prescription intake of medication. The only news welcome to your elephant ears specially tuned to hear dissenting voices is a deal where you earn more than the economy of older nations. Largesse is your middle name and spares nothing and no one when it comes to grander.

Africa, your name is a shocking pronunciation in decent society. You rape your own without shame and invest where others provide security. You cripple every effort of social growth fearing your exposure by opened senses. You imprison the voices of truth and murder protesters. You sponsor battles and wars against unarmed masses. You bring your people to their knees through ignorance and denial. Your only class is repeated mantras of the rising star of “your Nation” even as the world looks on in horror.

Africa, when shall you awake to the fact that the truth has no price and that greed is a short holiday before time catches it with the proverbial fire, purges it and shames it, sending a story for history to chronicle? Africa, the land of giant mines, rich forests and magnificent wildlife, what other blessing do  you need when you mismanage the very resources others covet? The very brains you chase across borders for their truth are the very priests that would have presided over the senses of your  sickly mind, healing it enough for you to see the insanity of your ways.

Past the jungle of netting goons, your sons find welcome respite in soils away from their hearth. They brood over lost times and relationships even as they toil to stay alive. They survive. They thrive. And make names for themselves thousands of miles away from where their umbilical cord weeps with yearnings for the footsteps of lost sons.

As you spit nonstop at the news of their success, having shorn your followers of any and all sense of truth making them fear to tell anything close to reality, you continue your marauding verbosity that makes for sad entertainment at news hours in your own media which – if you cared to check – airs to emptiness in the homes of those you assume are your faithful’s.

A dictator is a sick and wounded skunk whose stench is only accommodated by fellow skunks and vultures who thrive on the dead and dying. He loves his own stories and jokes and misses the well camouflaged yawns and embarrassed looks of those in
attendance. Then, there is the opposition politics. Lol!

Another lot of voices with eyes on what’s wrong but with no plan on how to make the wrong right. If they have, the chance is crippled by marred protests as they try their hand at contesting the tick on the tit at statehouse.

Theatre of the absurd is the daily show in most of our beloved states. Pockets lined with promissory notes at deals to be sealed upon succeeding in a coup or bought and botched elections, confusion is the ration to the nation each tribe pitted against the other in the quest of looting and not governance.

Which way for Africa really? Which way for its people who are pawned in their homes and on their streets by the lawlessness masquerading as law keepers? Which way for a people who know not which way the sun will rise tomorrow and whose tune shall be embraced?

Africa, the land of much is married to less that is lessening by the day. With leaderships whose allegiance is to self-first, then the sponsors of the seat which sit the leader, the land breeds continuously with a narrative that reads like a never-ending dirge. Africa, you lament at the bent of your story told by foreign mouths, but check the faces of those you gore on the heads with yet unpaid bullets for telling it as it is. Which angle does their mistreatment, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment without trial and even death under a ghastly cloud of mischief tell? How else can death from lack of medicines and hunger be told except as it it?

Militarizing social interactions where each is afraid of the next and the death of human camaraderie is told by the silent tongues and opaque staring eyes. And they tell much, those who suffer in silence. They tell about those who ride the nights under fire from your goons. They tell much of those who rely on bush treatment for their ills. They tell much those who follow you as you abuse their manhood for a morsel and stale beer leftovers from your high table. They tell much those who see your motorcade snaking around town with top of the range fuel guzzler while TB wracking lungs wheeze at the roadsides to cheer your dead soul on to your next mission of visionless leadership.

Africa, the land of diversity and resilient souls, when shall you learn to be your own men and stand for what is right even if it’s the neighbor playing truant with his kin. You have mirrored the world and come up with prefects capable of predicting treads of upcoming disasters. Why do you wait till the rapist is through the wreckage of life before arriving for talks armed with first aid bandage for the deep gushes of inflicted injuries? Are these fine institutions for window dressing to show the world you live in a modern bungalow or is there more? If there is more, what is it and where has it worked and what are the results for earning mileage and allowances besides the hefty salaries? Perhaps its job creation for the elderly and the relations of their sweethearts to loot from the wider continent under guise of Africanism.

One has to wonder why a distant figure takes human interest in a human who is thrown to the dogs by his own, for that is the fate of Africa with those either insane enough to stand to the truth, or foolish enough to dare it knowing the consequences.

Africa, the land of beautiful drumbeats and of majestic sunrises only rivalled by their sunsets. When shall you ever sit long enough to read the history of what brings you to where you are? Politics has no friendships but a whore serving for a moment for a fee.

Politicking has a price and when it involves you trading with the devil you must know he is worse than Shylock. He shall come calling. This time not for repayment but for your soul and soil. Africa, once upon a time when your eyes only knew the truth, a stranger came calling. He hoodwinked you, stole your wit and your children. Another has come calling. This one has a magic purse and rains on your every wish with a sly eye.

As you smile all the way to a numbered account and palatial homes far away from your beggary populace, remember this. The man you bludgeon for telling the truth is not the enemy, neither is he after you or your raw power. He is the hope of the land you are dispossessing. He is the voice of those you have silenced. And like all who are dead to truth, your day is well on its way. What shall your defense be when the deadness you have blanketed your people with wears off?

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Link HERE for Free Human Rights eCourse designed and delivered by United For Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Fact



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

“I Still Breath the Wind” . . . by Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean poet on the run

Male Lion in Hwange National Park courtesy of Tatenda Mapigoti, Upsplash

“. . . exile is strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience. It is the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home: its essential sadness can never be surmounted. And while it is true that literature and history contain heroic, romantic, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile’s life, these are no more than efforts meant to overcome the crippling sorrow of estrangement.”  Edward W. Said, Reflections on Exile and Other Essays



Unlike you and me, Mbizo, is without safe harbor. He poems from the trenches. He writes on the run. I think it is a good thing for us as artists and consumers of art and as simple human beings to understand something of this experience. Please also keep in mind as you read Mbizo’s essay today and the one that will post tomorrow, that I am still trying to find a host for Mbizo in Germany or someplace in Northern Europe, though England or the U.S. would work as well.  If you can help, please email me at bardogroup@gmail.com.  Thank you! / J.D.

Immersed in the cauldron of swirling floods, I flap my weighted wings with a singular drive carrying my dreams in a perforated duffle bag. My feet seek the sun at midnight in the land processing its abortion of tomorrow under the snipers telescope. No truth escapes unpunished.

I am a child of the South thrown further South where oceans crash with the fury of disagreed temperament. I am the child of the red soil darkened by falsehoods of high priests reading marching orders of disorders from a dishonored group purporting to speak for the gods of democracy.

North is more than a direction as my eternal campus throbs against the steel fetters of burnt hope as the night lights a path to the horizon dragging the flag of my totem along stranger’s homesteads. Baptized again and again by black night by men with no names. I now acquire a new name and a newer status. They baptized me grasshopper and I had to agree. Being a long jumper, being a high jumper and now attempting the triple jump. Grasshopper sounded a fair baptism name for a newborn boy/man lost the long road to the finish line under chase of fathers without hearts.

The process demanded I hit the road twice as hard into the no man’s square where mutation is official identity and “refugeeism” an international tag that comes in handy in the categorization of run-away undesirables as State gossip has branded me.

Back in the backyard where I first saw the sky through my father’s thatched roof, my village groans under my mother’s skirt birthing new hope in prayer for a child firm in his ways as it carries my umbilical on green banana leaves and the scented aroma of village songs now fading into the dusty thirst of warmth from a familiar smile. Eyes accuse my paranoid senses and it jump in nightmarish fever whenever a siren rings its ominous sound. Madness is a constant threat as shadows overwhelm daylight cornering it with harsh whispers of punishments of flame throwers onto my swollen feet and numb hands.

The next maternity ward aligned for my next rebirth and baptism is a grey room manned by grey suited men with faces long death of emotions. And the cesarean section they intend to perform is as crude as an amateur abortionist in a hurry.

What is left of my old decency and pride is crudely paraded on the cold operating table as men size my life’s worth with biased scales, perhaps from Shylock’s days. Help was alluded to without insurance or guarantee. Safety was mentioned in an undertone so I missed the term. But I came out dripping a cold near death sweat with a number like all patients must. I had arrived at the altar of earthly saving shore, and i had acquired a new name to add to all the odd ones of the past.

My name in full then is Birthright Exchange. Exchange took my surname and clan name. A born again, baptized vagabond just got a new name and home. Except, there is a price. The price of uprootedness is the cold feeling of life standing out in the frozen snow replaying life before truth became a dangerous topic to the ears of malfunctioning States back where democracies are still in nursery schools.

The mark of the hunted is in the ring of my new name. A name carrying
the character of its bearer drones on in silent torment as time sweetly
echoes old tales of the cost of a tongue to the ears of goons that live and act
as gods in their appointed times and territories. Knowing me my dozen
names as borders define me, restlessness sends me to the solitude of own
company to militate against failing to respond to the call of myself on
demand.

I have become a spy on me as others are. I spy on my moods and my mental status. I spy on my location; I spy on faces especially if too familiar. I spy on everything and everybody, and boy! Are there enemies!

I see the enemies and hear them rushing to uncover the real in the unreal. I feel them creeping to pounce on me to reveal the cluster of baptism names so far accrued. I sense them stalking me in my dreams waiting to trace my dialect and send me back to the hell recently escaped from.

Am so very tired. I have a craving for normal. I just want to take a walk and
feel the sun on my face. I miss bursting into spontaneous song just because.
I wish to call a friend and laugh at life. But I can’t. For I am a sinner in the
eyes of my landlord. And sinners such as I have been declared, are punished
by being deleted from living and their memories faded by being refused a
burial. So here I am. A born again human with an identity crisis like an old spy who believed his lies. Am cursing life as I eat with a mumble under my foul breath. I think of my lover and spit at the sky convinced she smiles at my tormentors as a measure of gaining favor against harassment.

I am born again and bear a new name, but am far from whole, with all the holes punched on my psyche by this journey to the unknown. This process of my resurrection is digging me in deeper into a different detention camp. The only positive is I get to chronicle my spiral to where this ends, unlike my malevolent accusers who suffers, that I still breathe.

Yes. I still breathe the wind piloting me to the next bus stop of this life where I found a mango seed I flung out the window in a fate of distasteful and displaced anger sprout. I stopped in my tracks. I stared in utter disbelief at life fighting to stay afloat at the oddest of places. I went closer to check out this miracle of rejection turning to acceptance and daring to take chances.

The seed had lost the outer covering in the hostile manner of its rejection. What will eventually be the root shot out tenderly in form of a fading yellowish green tendril reaching down the edge of the stone where the mother seed hung on with nothing but the will to die so tomorrow the next generation of mangoes would have a chance to feed humanity?

I was ashamed of my anger that robbed this kindly nurturer of humanity and wildlife a proper positioning for the purpose for which it now struggled. I had walked a rough road for many a mile. There are nights when I wasn’t sure I would see light of day. I had run and sprinted from ghosts out to harm.

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA is a recipient of PEN Deutschland Exiled Writer Grant (2017), Literary Arts Projects Curator, Writer in Residence, Blogs Publisher, Arts for Human Rights/Peace Activism Catalyst, Social Media Publicist and Internationally Anthologized Writer, 2017 African Partner of the International Human Rights Arts Festival Exiled in Africa Program in New York. 2017 Grantee of the EU- Horn of Africa Defend Human Rights Defenders Protection Fund. Resident Curator of 100 Thousand Poets for Peace-Zimbabwe, Originator of Zimbabwe We Want Poetry Movement. He has published a collection of poetry, Good Morning President, and co-created another one Whispering Woes of Gangesand Zembezi with Indian poet Sweta Vikram.


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout /Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Link HERE for Free Human Rights eCourse designed and delivered by United For Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Fact



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie Sanders for President.

The New New Deal

Link HERE for Bernie’s schedule of events around the country.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton


 

Wandering, a poem for Mbizo

Crescent moon courtesy of beth woodrum under CC BY 2.0 license

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” Warsan Shire, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth



The wandering waters, dripping
Into rising seas and land now lonely
For his human foot, which finding
No room at the inn, wanders
Like the waters, violated like a fish
On the deck of a boat, gasping
Soul bludgeoned, human skulls
And fish entrails, politicos and
Pundits examine like I Ching coins,
Accidents of birth, plight of place
A remote sliver of moon surveils
From the starless sky, unmoved

Dedicated to my friend, Mbizo Chirasha, Zimbabwean Poet in Exhile. Please connect with me if you are able or know someone / some family able to host him in Germany. Thank you!  bardogroup@gmail.com

© 2019, Jamie Dedes


Poetry Rocks the World!

Jamie DedesAbout / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium Ko-fi

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Link HERE for Free Human Rights eCourse designed and delivered by United For Human Rights, Making Human Rights a Fact



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

The Poet by Day officially endorses Bernie for President.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Zimbabwe Artists for Human Rights, Freedom of Expression, and Civil Dialogue: Poetry, Song, Dance,Theatre

Tafadzwa Muzondo curates  the Inaugural Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival. It was held December 10 –  13.

Thanks to our rich connection with Zimbabwean poet in exile, Mbizo Chirasha, I have the pleasure and privilege of expanding The Poet by Day to include African artists, to feature their efforts in support of human rights and just governance. More to come in 2020 from poets and other artists all over Africa. I hope readers will enjoy the lyrical difference in English, the passionate action, and the creativity demonstrated. The Poet by Day jamiededes.com and The BeZine support crossing borders and honoring shared humanity. One world. One race: the human race. / J.D.



Machipisa in Highfeilds is a paradoxical African high density suburb in Zimbabwe. It gave birth to the both iconic song maestros and political heavyweights inclusive of the late George Nyandoro, Enos Nkala.  Robert Mugabe the late nationalist and former long serving president of Zimbabwe resided in Highfeilds before his long trip to Mozambican jungles to preside over the liberation struggle in the 70s . Highfeilds shaped the life and creativity of the late Dendera Superstar Simon Chopper Chimbetu, father the current Dendera crooner Sulumani Chopper Chimbetu. while the Oliver Tuku Samanyanga, the iconic Ketekwe maestro had most of his musical walk to stardom inside Highfeilds .

Theatre against violence showcase at HIFA

Like an other creatively fervent generation, to revive the legendary traits of Highfeild Tafadzwa Muzondo of the Edzau Isu fame, an independent theatre guru and human rights defender have artistically turned an old disused bridge into a popular, edutainment and infortainment theatre, arts and poetry venue. The artists and human rights defenders are using these venue as a space for artistic exhibition, freedom of expression through arts as they continue to promote civil dialogue through theatre arts production. Theatre PaBridge  (pa Machipisa) has become a common artistic oasis or Theatre Arts hub for both young and established artists in Zimbabwe and abroad .

If hate is the only beverage in the bar,
I’m holding on to my thirst,
suppress the crave for the meanwhile
reciting lines and verses that question our sanity,
rhythms and rhymes that expose us to our stupidity.
Assuming we still have the conscience
I want to see them meet the hatred in the streets…
i want them to know how we so much yearn for peace

– Edward Dzonze

Tafadzwa Muzondo and patterns at the launch of the Theatre PaBridge

To mark the International Human Rights Week Tafadzwa Muzondo, Edzai Isu Theatre Arts and Action Hub curated and hosted the inaugural Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival (ZHRF) at Theatre PaBridge from the 10th to 13th December 2019 . The artists spoke human rights through poetry, expressed freedom through dance, sung songs against political tolerance through Katekwe violins and used stand-up theatre to stop corruption, political abuse and injustice in high offices.  The Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival was an entertaining, engaging and empowering platform, which took stock of the human rights situation at local, national and international levels. It was a profound artistic initiative meant to mainstream human rights in an innovative way by rallying together rights holders and solution holders.

The late Zimbabwean musical icon, Oliver Tuku Mutukudzi

ZHRF featured theatre, music, dance and poetry performances on human rights as well as post performance discussions and exhibitions by relevant civic society organizations and responses by invited solution holders. Major highlights of the performances, discussions and representations will be streamed live on our social media platforms as well as other partner platforms.

The theme of the inaugural festival is “AFTER”, which is an abbreviation for Arts Fostering Total Enforcement of Rights also meaning AFTER all the bickering, sloganeering and propagandizing, citizens need their rights to be respected not trampled on.

It is encouraging that the Zimbabwean government has established the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, a Constitutional Commission to promote awareness, protection, development and attainment of human rights and freedoms in Zimbabwe. As a transformative arts organization, EDZAI ISU Trust conceived a creative and innovative initiative in the name of ZHRF to commemorate Human Rights Day and contribute to the need to respect human rights in our dear country.



The universal declaration of human rights 10 December 1948 / courtesy of the United Nations Department of Public Information / Public Domain

Besides the Zimbabwean constitution being clear on human rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ratified by Zimbabwe, recognizes the inherent dignity of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. It includes civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights, like the right to social security, health and education.



Tafadzwa Muzondo is the organizer.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Festival, the brainchild of award winning transformative artist and social activist Tafadzwa Muzondo, is a rallying point in the mission to improve accountable, democratic governance that serves an engaged citizenry. Respect for human rights is at the core of social and economic development as without citizens enjoying and authorities respecting human rights, we cannot talk of any meaningful people centered development.

Aluta Continua!


Jamie DedesAbout / Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook / Medium

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications: Five by Jamie Dedes on The World Literature Blog,  Jamie Dedes, Versifier of Truth, Womawords Literary Press, November 19, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton