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Interview with Mbizo Chirasha, Founder and Curator of the Womawords Project and Call for Submissions to Daughters of the Earth Project, an international contest

Taken on a trip in 2016 with World Vision to Sierra Leone. Courtesy of Annie Spratt, Unsplash

I Read a Poem Today

I read a poem today and decided
I must deed it to some lost, lonely
fatherless child… to embrace her

along her stone path, invoke sanity
I want to tell her: don’t sell out your
dearest dreams or buy the social OS

Instead, let the poem play you like a
musician her viola, rewriting lonely
into sapphire solitude, silken sanctity

Let it wash you like the spray of whales
Let it drench your body in the music
of your soul, singing pure prana into

the marrow and margins of your life
Let your shaman soul name your muse,
find yourself posing poetry as power and

discover the amethyst bliss of words
woven from strands of your own DNA
Yes. I read a poem today and decided
I must deed it to a lost fatherless child

© 2011, Jamie Dedes (Written for an International Women’s Day forum and republished in 2012 for International Girl Child Day in 2012)

Womawords is a complex of efforts initiated by Zimbabwean poet activist in exile, Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet).  I was curious – and thought others might be as well – about the inspiration for this ambitious and worthy effort that is devoted to giving women and girls a platform to speak out about their concerns and experiences and to share their wisdom.  I think you’ll enjoy the interview. Perhaps some women reading here will want to consider submitting to the Daughters of the Earth  Project International Contest. There is no submission fee.

The Womawords Project comprises: Womawords Literary Press, Liberating Voices Journal, the Girl Child Creativity Project (now evolved into Womawords), and Daughters of the Earth Project International Contest (not for poetry only).


JAMIE: Why and when did you start Womawords?

MBIZO: The heart of a women is like an  ocean, thus  she must be proffered a free platform to express concerns, to speak rights, to voice against wrongs, to sing experiences and more. The world over we are blessed with an influx of  women and the girl child gifted not only physical stature but  mental beauty, endowed with wisdom to sub create and shape humanity. Womawords was birthed in  April 2019 as a complimentary initiative during my eye-opening  and life changing tenure with the International Human Right Art Festival.

JAMIE: Please tell us about the origin of the name.

MBIZO: The name pays tribute to the power and influence literary arts culture, words and poetry. The Womawords Project is a positive transformation from my initial project Girl Child Creativity Project, which was Zimbabwean based, and transitioned it into an international literary arts culture digital space exhibiting women’s voices and literature. Women are powerful trench soldiers; they experience a bundle of traumas from child birthing, forced intercourse, menstrual health issues, domestic violence, stigma and discrimination. A whole lot of hardships but also women are molders of humanity. I have always known of mother tongue not father tongue, hence Womawords – a metaphor that gives women from around the globe a space to express themselves through poetry , resistance  literature,  and resilience  arts.

JAMIE: What are the current activities Womawords is sponsoring?

MBIZO: The 2020 main project is the Daughters of the Earth Project, an international writer’s contest. The writer’s contest gives an opportunity for women to raise their voice, exchange ideas and promote dialogue on Menstrual Equity and Health through poetry, stories, flash fiction, and essays. And they are a myriad of  issues, unresolved problems, taboos and myth experienced by women globally. WOMEN must be given the chance to speak, to raise their concerns, to offer solutions and to tell their experiences through this # Daughters of the Earth Writers Contest Project. For more details follow on the submissions portal on Womawords.

Other projects include:

  • Women of Residence Profile Features: The Press is anchored by FEATURES of Prolific Poets, Writers, Socialites and Artistic Luminaries.
  • Liberating Voices: this is a quarterly collection of voices and is guided by a specific theme of every publication.

JAMIE: What are the long-term goals?

MBIZO: Womawords Literary Press is a formula of positive change and transformation in the area of exhibiting women’s artistic voices and resistance literature by the girl child.  In the next five years we are  growing  into a  reputable book and literary arts publishing republic. Going forward within 2020 we continue to restructure by placing  and appointing representatives in more than twenty countries around the globe. These  are women writers, poets, activist, and artists using their words to bring  forth transformative change, using their poetry to expose societal tumors, wielding their artistic weapons to slash perpetuators of barbarism, using their resistance literatures to shine a light on the madness.  In March  2021, we are hosting a Womawords International Symposium with editorial associates, contributing writers, women artists, and women arts cultural activists who will convene to  share and exchange experiences through symposium presentations, poetry performances, and  story readings .

ALUTA CONTINUA!!! [“The struggle continues.” It’s a rallying cry for freedom.]


Call for Submissions

The newly initiated Daughters of the Earth Project will offer a new theme each year.  The  2020 theme is Menstrual Health and Menstrual Equity

BACKGROUND AND SCOPE: The Daughters of the Project is an international writer’s contest . The writer’s contest gives an opportunity for women  to raise their voices, exchange ideas and promote dialogue on Menstrual Equity and Health through poetry, stories, flash fiction and essays. There are a  myriad  of  issues , unresolved problems, taboos and myth experienced  by women globally. Women must be given the chance to speak, to raise their concerns, to offer solutions, and to tell their experiences through this Daughters of the Earth Writers Contest Project.

TIMELINE: The Daughters of the Earth Writing Contest Project  will resume  in April  2020 and end in October  2020

April 2020- JUNE 2020( Writers Submissions and Contest Entries)

July 2020-  August 2020- ( Judging, Jury to be announced)

August 2020- September 2020 (Publicity and Awards  Gathering)

October 2020( Results and Winners Announcement)

Mbizo Chirasha

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is a poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor. In part I am doing this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany, but England or U.S. would work too.  Open to suggestion.  Connect with me if you are able to help, have leads, or have questions. You can read more about Mbizo and his story: Zimbabwean Poet in Exile: Award-Winning Poet Mbizo Chirasha, A Life on the Run, Interview.

Jamie Dedes:

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