Chigama launches Hre writers’ open mic


AN ARTS events restaurant will tomorrow host the first ever Harare Writers Open Mic with the inaugural show being the brainchild of Batsirai Chigama.

Elephant and Pineapple in Newlands, Harare is home to the new arts hub whose initiative is to create a dynamic platform for writers to showcase their work. It will be the first of a series of literary events that will be held throughout the year.

Zimbabwe’s acclaimed writers Chigama, Charity Utete and Ruth Tsopotsa will read their published work to audiences and the voices of these lyrical amazons will launch the first ever Harare Writers Open Mic under the theme Women Reading and Writing.

Elephant and Pineapple owner Eleni Athitaki told the Daily News that after an exciting event last week with award-winning comedian, Long John they will continue to provide top class art events and meals in their beautiful garden.

“A home-cooked meal and an intimate performance is always a complete experience,” said Athitaki adding that this bold move is aimed at resuscitating the literary scene in Harare with a modern touch in a new and exciting venue.

The Elephant and Pineapple which has been under new ownership since December 2019 in partnership with The Legacy Trust has previously hosted artists such as Tomas Brickhill (lead singer of Chikwata 263), Amy and The Calamities, Vera, Filbert Marova and Nonny.

It has also hosted successful Healing in the Garden sessions with various practitioners and Movement Medicine with Maaianne Knuth.

“We are excited to present an exciting arts programme every week that will complement the food,” said Legacy Trust Trustee Hector Mugani. “It is good for literature to reclaim its space on the stage and it is also good for the people to have a venue where they can enjoy this as well.”

Mugani added that spoken word and food is culture and it is the mandate of the Trust to make sure that the fire keeps burning.

Inspired by the Iowa Writers Open Mic in the USA, the Harare Writers Open Mic will include performances, readings, workshops and the mentorship of young writers; it is an open platform relying on the generous support and cooperation of venues and writers.

Meanwhile one of the readers, Hutete is a dynamic published author and recording performance poet whose chapbook Undressing under the Noon Sun was published by Akashic Books and included in the 2019 edition of the African Poetry Book Fund’s annual publication New-Generation African Poets.

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Her work has been published in several poetry and literary journals including New Contrast Review and the Kalahari Review as well as on online platforms such as the Badilisha Poetry Exchange and she has also exhibited her work at several international festivals in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Norway.

The second reader, Tsopotsa is a song writer and poet ‘‘who grew up on the eastern boarder of Zimbabwe, in the coolness of Mutare mountains. She fell in love with the pen and its delicacies in high school, as her English teacher offered inspiration and encouragement.”

Though a dental surgeon by profession, Tsopotsa loves to write and to her, writing is a therapeutic form of self-expression and a brush by which she paints the world she sees and on stage, she is known as Ruby Rose. She is currently working on a collection of inspirational and socio-cultural themed poems to be published in the near future.

And the third reader, Chigama is a Nama (2018) award winner for Outstanding First Creative Published work and 2019 Iowa Writers Programme Honorary Fellow who is largely known as a spoken word poet in Zimbabwe.

Her debut collection of poetry, Gather the Children (2018), according to her, “reflects on the last ten years chronicling narratives of displacement, loss and desperation.”

Her work with young people has taken her as far as Denmark and the US performing and facilitating creative writing and spoken word workshops in schools.


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