Jabulani Ndlovu Mzinyathi , your DNA is rimmed with gems of poetic metaphors . Your heart dances to the beat of satire. Irony was carved onto your bloodstream since the day of your birthing . A brilliant versifier, a born poet , political fortune-teller and literary -artivist . A gift to Zimbabwe and Africa but yet an unsung literary hero . I always wanted to praise my peers ,mentors , collaborators , word combatants and poetry guerrillas during their lifetime .Prowess and its cousin dexterity must be wholeheartedly praised and be awarded fully, while the bearers are still walking on this great earth .
Jabulani Mzinyathi is one great poetry writing giant and doyen of verse. The literary giant in him is always far from the maddening crowd and as the old adage goes again silent waters runs deep. Yes ,his writings are packages of poetic fungicides disinfecting the syphilitic political gangrenes from the manhood of Africa regimes and other global establishments. The satire within is calamine lotion to heal and dry the infectious corruption eczema ridden abdomen of the state . The sarcasms’ washes away decadence of cheap propaganda polished power- corridors . Your irony is a cleaning detergent smacking off the snort of zealotry high offices. Your poetic voice rattles and raves double-chinned charlatans imbibing the sweat of the POVO for breakfast and munching the freedom of the masses for dinner in the name of parliament sittings and debates – Enough .
This blog profile is a special celebration of one greatest , Internationally acclaimed and multi-award winning Zimbabwean Writer , Poet and Attorney Jabulani Mzinyathi . I must confess that JB started with poetry writing long back .I met him in 1998 in Gweru plying his services as a magistrate at Gweru Magistrate Courts, the capital of the Midlands Province of Zimba and he had just won the STANZA Poetry Prize . It is about 23 years ago . Internet was still young in Africa and Facebook with his twin brother Twitter were not yet even concieved in the wombs of their mothers. I got inspired by the poetics of JB since then , 23years and we are here today celebrating the history , the present and future of poetry . Resilience pays thereafter . TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC is prided in archiving diversity , profiling doyens and publishing giants . This golden instalment features JBs poetry , books and more. Together We Rise( Blurb by Mbizo Chirasha)
when you sing the sweet melodies
mine will be the discordant voice
hold you by the scruff of the neck
repeatedly shaking the conscience
the conscience you now trample
under the jackboot of your gullibility
drenched by the water cannons of fear
see the rising storms of poverty
desperation walking along the streets
hunger thunder rumbling in the bellies
the mountains of hopelessness rising
lives decimated by scythes of diseases
hoping that the sun will shine once more
that there will be reverberations of laughter
This work from the mind of Jabulani Mzinyathi deals with the themes that are dealt with in the collections of poems entitled Under the Steel Yoke and Righteous Indignation. The poems deal with among other themes oppression, corruption, despair, liberation and hope. Zimbabwe was torn to shreds under the misrule of Mugabe. A dangerous personality reigned supreme. There was a deification of Mugabe who drove millions into exile through draconian rule. Corruption ran riot. These poems under the title In The Steel Talons capture those issues and the inability now of the country’s non existent health system to cope with a whole host of diseases including the scything covid 19. The poet has a fascination with steel due to the Stalinist methods employed by the ruling elite to suppress any dissenting voices. Mugabe duped the world and masqueraded as a nationalist. Heidi Holland called him ‘ the freedom fighter who became a tyrant.’ The poems are an insider’s view that seeks to show the resilience of Zimbabweans under despotism. Hope refuses to die!
In Under The Steel Yoke I hear the wailing of fellow citizens as leadership subversion takes root. When servants become masters- that is a subversion, waves of despair threaten our people. I attempt to reflect the resilience of fellow Zimbabweans as we fight on for survival, hope refuses to die. The ideals of the true liberators prick our collective conscience. These poems are meant to provoke debate about nation building and they are an assertion that there can never be peace without justice. These poems are the voices heard on the streets, in pubs, factories, churches, homes and wherever our people irk a living. These voices yearn for a glorious future.
As a continent blessed with promise and plagued with problems, Africa has inspired tons of poetry for centuries. Such poetry were written by non-Africans and Africans who wrote from either a pro-colonialist or an anti-colonialist mindset. It has been said that most poetry from Africa is political in nature. There is a reason for that. Our problems emanate from politics and socio-economic mismanagement. In Whispers in the Whirlwind, young African poets ventilate about the struggles that they, and their people, face each day, due to socio-economic and political stagnancy. This anthology’s sole motive is to put on the record what is happening and what must be done. The poets, who hail from several parts of Africa, speak to their leaders and their people about things lost, things forgotten and things that need to be salvaged. Whispers in the Whirlwind is a must-read for anyone who desires to see a better Africa, in spite of the many realities that act like hurdles in her path to progress
“When I vision through the seas of oppression and the grinding poverty I write not out anger but righteous indignation.” Jabulani Mzinyathi was born of isiNdebele and ChiShona speaking parents in the Midlands Province of the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). He has published pieces in various journals and anthologies over the years and his maiden collection of poetry Under The Steel Yoke, was published in 2018.
JABULANI MZINYATHI is my name. I have been a teacher, Magistrate and now a Lawyer in private practice. Iam a hyper- active individual. I have played soccer at the low levels of the game. I also strum a few chords on the acoustic guitar. I love reggae music. It soothes my soul. I am a devout peter tosh fan. He is my role model indeed. I love reading and writing. i do not mind being called a protest poet. i am not sure if it is protest. My works are driven by an immense sense of justice. This has nothing to do with my legal mind. as marcus garvey says ‘ justice is greater than the law.’ yes that is true. apartheid was by legislation in South Africa.
TIME OF THE POET REPUBLIC CURATOR( Mbizo CHIRASHA)
Mbizo CHIRASHA is the Author of a Letter to the President (Zimbabwe) Co-Author of Metaphors of the Rainbow (Malawi). Co-Author of Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi (India, USA). Co-Editor of SecondNameofEarthisPEACE (WorldBeyondWar.org, USA).African Contributor Poet /Essayist at Monk Arts and Soul Magazine (UK). DitchPoetry( Alberta University,Creative Writing ,Canada). Poetry Potion( Canada). FullofCrow(Canada). Scarlet Leaf( Canada). PoetrySoup( USA). PoemHunter(USA).OneGhanaOneVoice(Ghana).RhythmInternationalVoices(Canada).AfricanWriter.com(Nigeria).OviMagazine(Finland) Atunis Galatica( edited Agron Shele, Belgium). BlackWell PoetryPamplhet (Oxford School of Poetry, UK). Litnet ( South Africa) . OfiPress( Mexico City). FemAsiaMagazine (UK). InkSweatandTears (UK). Squackback (USA).The Poet a Day Zine (founded by the late Maestro G Jamie Dedes, Brooklyn, and USA). DemerPress International Poetry Series (curated and edited by Hannie Rouweler, Netherlands). World Poetry Almanac Series( Curated and Edited by Hadaa Sendoo, Mongloia). Poesi. Is Journal (edited by Peter Semolic, Slovenia). Festival de Poesia de Medellin (founded and directed by Fernando Rendon, Colombia).DIOGEN Magazine (Turkey). RuckSackPatchPoetry, Voices of Diversity (Passion for Poetry, curated by Antje Sehn, Italy). Cultural Weekly ( International Space,USA) . Zimbabwean (published Wilf Mbanga, UK) .WordCity monthly (curated and edited by Darcie Friesen Hossack, International). IHRAF Publishes (founded by Thomas Block, NewYork, USA). Diasporan Online (founded and edited by Lola Thomas, Spain) .New Best African Poets (curated and edited by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Zimbabwe) and more.Mbizo CHIRASHA includes 2020 Festival Readings/ Writers Symposia includes Festival de Poesia de Medellin, (Colombia). University of Glasgow Creative Writing Programme, (Scotland). World Poetry Festival, (USA). IHRAF LIVE, (New York USA). Rucksack Poetry Patch, Voices of Diversity, (Italy and Mexico). International Human Rights Day, IHRAF Arts Concert and Poetry Live Symposia, (New York, USA) .SpokenWordOnline(Paris,France).