MAMA, Goddess of All Times, An Eulogy to Mother (Part 1) by Zimbabwean Poet in Exile, Mbizo Chirasha

Mbizo’s Mom

“In all her doings my mother influenced me to have endurance, dedication, resistance, and faith.” Mbizo Chirasha



Recently, Zimbabwean poet, Mbizo Chirasha, lost his mom. Knowing that his sense of loss and grief is compounded by the fact of his exile and an inability therefore to be with her in her last days and hours or to attend whatever funeral and memorial services are customary in his country, I invited Mbizo to write about his mom, explaining that today in the U.S. we celebrate mothers. We publish Part 1 in this post, an interview, to be followed by a hybrid poem in Part 2. / Jamie 

1.) JAMIE: Mbizo, I’m sorry to learn of your loss and thank you for being willing to share some of your thoughts and poetry with us on what is Mother’s Day here in the States. When you think of your mom, what is the characteristic that stands out most?

MBIZO: I was born during the 1970s liberation struggle and my mother still even suckling a baby who was myself. She remained dedicated as the struggle collaborator. She trudged in many areas working hand in glove with combatants of the struggle, cooking for them, washing for them, and working as messengers of the war against colonialism.  Nights they endure the brunt of war violence, heavy rains and ravaging wild animals, walking war bases for vigils and all night chores . Thus, she was a great example of unmatched resilience and dedication to change, to freedom for positive transformation.

My mother was gifted with the spirit of hardworking mother love. Everything we ate came from hard work, days of sweat and scramble in the fields to plant, cultivate, weed and harvest food and cash for uniforms and other necessities. She had a blessing of collectivism. She believed in collectivist approach in life. We used to have traditional beer gatherings that involved a lot of relatives, neighbors, and fellow villagers. Mother would send out a call to villagers who thrashed millet and shelled maize, from which the beer was traditionally brewed. It was shared along with goat meat and nonalcoholic traditional beverages.

We were taught to be focused, work hard, and nurture the spirit of never giving up through all those years of menacing when my mother would walk miles and miles in the scorching weather with other women. Their resolute intention was  to fetch and hunt for food for our survival. We were taught to be strong, diligent, creative, hard working. We were taught to live according to our means. A great mother indeed. A dedicated soul.

2.) JAMIE: I remember that your dad was a griot, so some of his influence on you is clear in that very title.  In what ways did your mom influence your love of and work on arts and literature?

MBIZO: Yes, my father was daring with words: poetry and other literature and stories. I learnt reading, spelling and writing from him from the tender age of four. My mother played a big role in everything to make me understand I must work hard in everything I do. After the death my father, she carved a creative spirit in me.  She never gave up life. Her ways remained intact. She remained loyal to our clan. She never got married again but she continued to look after us throughout the conflicts. Her leadership, her energy, her resilience, her dedication to life is in my DNA, carried with me as the seed that sat in her womb.

She might not have known much of literary arts but the kind of shaping she did gave us our character, our life and everything is what you see today as I work to grow my griot career. Like my mother, I never have given up , I survive and soldier on even in traumatizing challenges. It is a gift from a mother who was a diligent formidable spirit. Thanks to her, I can be an unrelenting griot. Thanks to her I learned to think outside the box, to the rise to every occasion that warrants attention, to challenge naysayers. My mother was a tigress, unrelenting in her fight.

3.) JAMIE: How did your mom influence your activism?

MBIZO: She was part of the liberation struggle system, that were unrelenting in the struggle for the freedom of the country we have today.  I believe they did their part well. However, in post-independence Zimbabwe we as people we have issues with the way the country is being governed.  There is a lot corruption since 1980.   Masses are suffering. Hence, I understand that freedom does not come on silver platter but its fought for with faith and resilience. Thus today I switch my roles to writing, activism, and spoken word performances. today I stand fighting to right wrong perceptions with the guiding example of our mothers and fathers who fought their own war and they won. I fight my war through literary activism . In all her doings my mother influenced me to have endurance, dedication, resistance, faith and resilience.

© 2020, Mbizo Chirasha (Mbizo, The Black Poet)

Link to Part 2 HERE.

MBIZO CHIRASHA (Mbizo, The Black Poet) is one of the newest members of The BeZine core team. He is the founder of Womawords Literary Press, which is dedicated to giving space to the voices of women and girls and is a partner in The BeZine International Poetry Month,a blog event. He is a multi-award winning poet from Zimbabwe who is on the run. We have been coordinating in the search for safe harbor. In part I am posting this today to remind everyone that while we’ve made progress with funding, we still need to find a host for Mbizo, preferably Germany. 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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“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

 

I am a nightmare, a poem by Mbizo Chirasha, sponsor of this week’s Wednesday Writing Prompt

 

Corrupt Legislation, painting by Elihu Vedder / public domain

“. . . i am the stone you left for the dead
i am the tree bark oozing with the blood of age
i am the riverbed flowing with the mucus of age . . . “
Mbizo Chirasha, Anthem of the Black Poet



My breasts are dry of milk in the climate of this heat
My earth ejaculates platinum and uranium
anus of my rock puff pure gas and crude oil
The clay of my heart binds together the dust of my dreams
Forests of my mind sagging with coco beans and coconuts

I am tired of bullet and paparazzi gossip
I am a country eating peanut and bananas
I am the flower of want, whose bloom was pruned by madness,
Whose holy nectar was imbibed by mad drunkards?
I am a nightmare, poets and prophets bring back my wildness

© Mbizo Chirasha

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Much thanks to Mbizo Chirasha for sponsoring this week’s writing prompt.  Mbizo says, “We remain resilient in the quest for justice, freedom of expression, and upholding of human rights through Literary Activism and Artivism. ALUTA CONTINUA!”

THEME: We ask this week for poems written in response to Zimbabwean Poet in Exile.  This is to help us create awareness of the plight of our fellow poets like Mbizo and other dissident writers and artists who are actively fighting authoritarianism, despotism, and kleptocracy. We very much appreciate your participation in this week’s unusual and important prompt and look forward to reading what you write.

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, November 11 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, 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