The  Book café  in Harare  used  to  be  the  only  platform and  space  that   developed , exposed  and  promoted  literary  arts  projects  in Zimbabwe   .It   had  become  a   household   arts  venue   under  the  curatorship  of highly talented and creative the late   Paul Brickhill  (may  his  soul  rest  in eternal peace). The  book café   organised  and  hosted   arts  festivals  , book launches  and    official functions   by  NGOS  and  Arts  groups. One  of the  book café ‘s  greatest achievement  was  the  creation  of  a  poetry platforms,  the  House  of  Hunger  Poetry Slam  and  the  Mondays Open Mic  Sessions . I am a  product  of the Book Café  creative  interventions   , the  Budding  Writers  Association of Zimbabwe , the Zimbabwe  Writers Union , the  Zimbabwe International  Book fair   and  of  course  the  Zimbabwe  book development council. The House   of Hunger Poetry Slam and Open Mic sessions shaped us. Some  of    artists  and  poets  who  grew up  at  the  Book Café include  myself, Mbizo Chirasha , Michael  Kudakwashe , Edgar  Langaveldt ,  Sam Munro( Cde  Fatso- Founder of  Magamba Network  and Shoko  festival) ,Thando  Sibanda (  now  with  American Embassy), Innocent  Fungurani( Poet Answer) Michael Mabwe( now with American Embassy) , Batsirai  Chigama ( now  a  published  poet),Robson Shoes  Lambada( Coordinator  ZUSA  and an established  performance  poet) , Extra Blessings Kuchera (  now  with British Council Zimbabwe) Linda  Gabriel ( now  a recorded  poet  of  global acclaim) , UMIND(  powerful  writer ,organizer  and  slam poet) ,  Cynthia  Marangwada( now  an award winning and  published  writer) .The  list  is  endless.

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During  my  artistic  internship  at  the Book Café  .I met  many  prominent artists   the  likes  of Chirikure  Chirikure , Hugh Masekela , Dudu Manhenga , Victor  Kunonga , David  Mungoshi  ,  Memory  Chirere , Ignatius Mabasa ,Tsitsi Dangarembwa  and  more . Most of these people inspired me grow.

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It  is  quite  refreshing  that Tsungie  Manyeza  , Chirikure  Chirikure ,Litfest  and  Zimbabwean Slam Poets  are  taking  over  from where  the  book café  left  from and  it’s   heartening  that  such   a  big project  like the Lafarge  Poetry Slam  is  all  inclusive  and  is  promoting  the  literary arts  in Zimbabwe  despite   our  difficult  economic  landscape .  It  is  quite  important  and  mesmerizing  ,when international organisations  like Lafarge  embrace  arts  and  recognise  poetry  as  a major  component  for human and  national  development . I  say  poetry  is  the  language  of  life  .Lafarge  is  actually  growing  the  poetry  and  literary arts  sector  in Zimbabwe.   Poetry is  my  language, it  is  the  language  of  my life  .It  is  the language   of Kudakwashe  Murombedzi( Da Voice) , Tatenda  Chinoda( Dhege) , Happias Msinde( our Hamutyineyi reincarnate)  and  many  other  participating  poets  in this  Lafarge  and  Litfest  sponsored   national  event. The  Lafarge  Poetry  Festival  takes  poetry to another level through  this  highly  represented  and   creatively  powered  grand  slam .Let the  Poets Speak   and  let  the  country  and  its  leaders open their   ears   to hear from  these  voices   of wisdom.

Image may contain: 23 people, including Tatenda Chinoda and Rufaro Chinyanga, people smiling

TOGETHER WE BUILD ZIMBABWE through Lafarge and Poetry.  To  all  poets  , writers  ,poetry lovers  , arts lovers  and  sponsors  23rd  of June  2018 is  a  great  day  and   a  day  that  cannot be erased from our  memories .

 

MBIZO CHIRASHA Image may contain: one or more people is  an internationally  anthologized poet , literary  arts  project  curator , creative  humanist , arts  activism catalyst , blogs publisher   and a  Writer  in Residence . He  is the  Solidarity member  of GAPA( Global Arts  and Political Alliance),the African Partner of the  International Human Rights  Arts Festival, the  Resident Coordinator  of  100 Thousand Poets  for  Change- Global, the Founder of  GirlChildCreativity Project , the Facilitator  of the Creative Leadership and Artistic Training Project , Chirasha is  the  Editor  of the  Brave  Voices  Poetry  journal , he  is the  Originator  of the  Zimbabwe We  Want  Poetry Campaign. He writes for the Tuck Magazine- the International magazine on Arts Human Rights and Politics.

 

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