Mbizo Chirasha was born in 1978 in Zvishavane District in Zimbabwe, and was inspired by his social surroundings at a young age. As a young man, Mbizo quickly gained prominence as a performing poet and writer both in Zimbabwe and internationally. The themes of his poetry include children’s rights, politics, social lives, gender issues, praise and protest, culture and African pride. Mbizo’s poems can be read in print, but are even more powerful when performed by the dynamic poet himself. With a vision of using his poetry to promote peace, healing, stability, and cultural freedom, Mbizo is a poet with commitment, talent, and a desire to perform whenever and wherever he can.
Five Questions with Mbizo Chirasha:
1. How long have you been writing poetry?
I have been writing and perfoming poetry since the 1990s, from my secondary school up to now. I have been involved in perfomances for diplomats, students, politicians and NGOs. I have organised workshops and consulted on projects.
2. Who are your favorite poets? Which poets have most inspired and informed your work?
My favourite poets are Allan Hope/Mutabaruka and Ayi Kwei Armah.
3. What is your opinion on the state of African poetry today?
African poetry needs to be developed. The development begins with poets themselves. There is good talent but it is not exploited, so poets need to uplift each other and remind each other of lifting their nations through voice and the bringing up of new talent.
4. What do you think is the role of poetry, and literature in general, in the politics of Africa?
Poetry plays a strong part in African politics in bringing peace and stability: informing society of political gimmicks, protecting African states from imperialism. Poets are prophets, directing politicians on the way to good governance. Poets are a mirror, and alot can be done.
5. You have been very active in the development of the arts community in your native Zimbabwe. Do you have any advice for those attempting to build Ghana's arts community?
The Ghanaian arts community can also take on capacity building programmes on the marketing of art and host festivals of poetry. Ghana is an African country rich in talent. Nkrumah was talented so poets must revive that principle.