TWO weeks ago, Zimbabwe’s literary fraternity welcomed yet another talented writer as Tichaona Zindoga launched his debut poetry anthology, “Death of the Commissar”, in Harare.
Being a prolific political reporter for the country’s biggest daily, The Herald, it was no surprise that the book launch was graced by numerous political heavyweights and businesspeople, with Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Professor Paul Mavima the guest of honour.
The venue proved too small as literature lovers, colleagues, friends and family gathered to get a first glimpse of what the opinionated journalist had to
say. “Never judge a book by its cover,” the old adage goes. And many judged “Death of the Commissar” by its cover.
If you read Zindoga’s column, My Turn, in The Herald, or his social media posts, you will have thought he was writing about a certain living political commissar.
But such is not the case with this collection, which is actually loaded with rich poems representative of various societal situations that are not necessarily political.
Some of the subjects the poet probes include love, religion, human rights and power, giving the collection a broad scope.
Varying tones and styles keep things interesting as every poem has something new to offer.
In “The Demons”, the writer paints a scenario of what transpires at a religious shrine where prophets are “delivering” people from the evil that will have devoured them.
“The prophet’s shrine, was an area of demons, animals and birds shrieking in humans, eyes glinting evil, unnatural shrine,” goes one verse.
Another interesting one “The Young Woman”, which was inspired by late journalist Sophia Chese.
“Afflicted, she lay in the hospital bed, a huge pillow beneath to prop up her head.
Her eyes danced and shone and danced, in lively contrast to the skin that had paled, bereft of glow, water and blood.”
In most of the poems, Zindoga uses rhyme to great effect, while also manipulating other literary devices.
This is a solid first effort and we are certainly on the lookout for what’s next.
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