Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Zaza Muchemwa from Zimbabwe-courtesy photo

The win will give me more time to devote to my poetry and develop it because then I will not have to worry about certain expenses. With part of the win I will organise a poetry workshop facilitated by an established Poet culminating in a poetry anthology. And that will change perceptions of writing and poetry in my community.

Born in Chirumhanzu, Zimbabwe on the 14th of February 1986, Elizabeth Muchemwa is a Poet, Writer and Director for Theatre. Her full names Elizabeth Ruramai Sharon came as a concession between her parents who, at her birth, had each a different name to give her; so in the end she got a name from each parent. Elizabeth has been performing Poetry since 2006 in Zimbabwe; she has performed at Festivals like HIFA, Intwasa Arts Festival and Protest Arts International Festival, participated in monthly poetry events like House of Hunger Poetry Slam and Sistaz Open Micand performed at private functions some of which have included Book CafĂ© at 16 years and the launch of the Zimbabwe Market Fair. She has directed plays for the stage; one of them Wedding Day was performed at the Drama for life Festival in 2010 and Intwasa Festival 2010. Elizabeth’s short story Positive Death was published in the Zimbabwe Women Writers Magazine in 2006 and in 2011 her short story Radio Culture is Dead was shortlisted in the Intwasa Short Story competition. Early this year her poem Eve was shortlisted in the Poetry International Zimbabwe competition and will be published on the Poetry International website this September. In June this year with Katswe Sistahood she attended the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London where they performed a short theatrical presentation called Hands Over. Elizabeth’s influences are derived from writers of books, directors of films, playwrights, poets, musicians, painters and the everyday woman and man. And she believes that whatever art form you use you are all doing one thing; which is telling a story, so she sees herself as teller of story before anything else. Elizabeth is currently living what she calls her second life.

Twitter: @ZaMuchemwa Badilisha Poetry Exchange:

Read her poem here

Blood and Water by Elizabeth Muchemwa (Zimbabwe)

He washes his hands in streams she has made

Rivers flowing beneath her eyes have

salted the land with the acrid taste of her hate

wells have risen to pool within her

catching the cries that would speak her hurt

He washes his hands in streams she has made

She dreams sonic dreams with high decibels to end tyranny

with a speak to raise armies and wage wars

He washes his hands in streams she has made

ignoring the pleas of a maiden body slain

in her shame exposed against her will

half drawn clothes

untidy bundles of blood

laid to waste for a rush

She has made rivers and lakes bitter with the salt of her tears

beneath her breast a molten hold burnishes the light she once had

into a golden strong finish

for those that have laid her to waste

This is for the mother

who has stitched another morsel

into one dish of edible corn for our daily bread

Her who has copied the hands of the creator

and pasted onto the drawing board a new piece to the picture

so that girls everywhere can smile

She is the surgeon who has carried a knife to battles

to cut open wounds and piece them to their proper places back,

them skins and flesh scurrying to obey her command

she has done so

she has carried life so

She has melded pen and paper to tell a story

not worrying

whether the caves within her bring forth life or death

life or death life or death

the ringing bells toll and call all humankind to rest

but she does not stop taking life from death

life from death life from death

building bricks upon bricks

stitching together another life in a war zone.

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