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. His works are published regionally and around the world. He has turned to a career as a consultant/creative writing facilitator and arts entrepreneur. He is, amongst other things, the founder of the annual "This is Africa Poetry Night" and the founding director of the Young Writers Caravan of Zimbabwe.
Five Questions with Mbizo Chirasha:
1. The African leaders you salute in this poem, and many others, have quite varied reputations in the West. Some, like Mandela, are praised, while others, like Mugabe, are demonized. Why do you think this is?
I understand how Mandela is loved by the west and why my President is demonised. I praise what Mandela does to sacrifice his life for blacks at Robben Island and I hate his double standards of becoming a darling to people who reduced black life to that of dogs in Africa. As for my president I dont have much to say. He is a great statesman of Africa without favour or denial. Viva Mugabe.
2. I think many outside readers would be surprised by your statement that "HIV/AIDS has become a business." Can you speak more on what you meant by that?
Several HIV NGOs have given monies to advocate for victims but this money is used to buy mansions, posh cars and hotel rooms. The subject of AIDS is more about the economy. While victims are suffering, some people are getting jobs at the expense of the victims. Does it mean HIV is a genocide or a sickness?
3. What do you believe, generally speaking, is the state of Black Culture in Africa today? Is it growing stronger? Weakening?
African culture is really dwindling because of globalization, industrialization, Africa-to-Europe migration, colonization, GMO foods and NGOs. All these have affected the cultural fabric of Blacks. Those who are out of their minds can argue with this, but it is reality.
4. Do you write only for yourself, or do you have an audience in mind? If you have an audience, who is in it?
My audience is any reader who reads my poetry, then it depends how he or she takes the work, but I feel it's the right time for people to learn to appreciate the truth. In my works on African culture, I am not against races or people, but systems that betray Africa.
5. Coming from a country of great natural resources that is crippled by economic and poltical crisis, do you have any advice for Ghanaians upon their discovery of oil off the coast?
Politicians in Ghana and poets/cultural activists must control what belongs to them. That oil is theirs and they must be the inheritors of thier resources at whatever cost. People must stop being stooges and writers must write against second and third colonialistic winds.
Mbizo's Past Profiles:
Issue 1.17, July 14th-20th, 2007