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New generation of poets at House of Hunger Poetry slam
Pamberi Trust
January 30, 2013

The Book Café is proud to play host to the long-running series, House of Hunger Poetry Slam on Saturday the 2nd of February at 2pm. This monthly showcase has grown into one of the most prominent spoken word and poetry events in Zimbabwe and features the best poets and spoken word artists in Zimbabwe. It is a critical ‘movement' of performance poets who have made an impact artistically and brought to the fore the voice of the underrepresented youth.

Increasingly, a new generation of spoken word artists have sought innovative means to express their vision and hopes for Zimbabwe. The result is the emergence of a raw poetry movement, dubbed "Houser of Hunger", which became a major feature of the local arts scene. Developed as a platform for youth expression by arts organization Pamberi Trust at The Book Cafe, "House of Hunger" is named after a book written by famously anti-establishment author, Dambudzo Marechera.

The House of Hunger Poetry Slam has been and continues to be, an important platform for young poets to express themselves explicitly and to talk about issues that affect them in their communities. Combining poetry, spoken word and rap elements, it is an eclectic blend of English and Shona words expressed in rhythm that speak from the heart.

Several poets to emerge from House of Hunger have gone on to achieve international stature including Godobori, Cde Fatso, Outspoken, Flowchyld and Upmost. These poets have all made their mark locally, regionally and internationally, inspiring a new generation of poets who have now come to the fore. In recent times, a few poets have risen to prominence through their performances at the Poetry Slam including Tendekai Tati (known as Madzitatiguru), SoProfound (Arnold Chirimika), Dimitri Kwenda (The Scarecrow) and More Blessing Size (Momo Size).

22-year old SoProfound says "My inception to spoken word is House of Hunger Poetry Slam. It means a lot. It's a podium I've been loyal to and I can't imagine missing a slam. It's that space where it's really given me the time to be quick with my thoughts, to be articulate, to improve. Plus exposure. I am who I am now because I've been performing at House of Hunger". Deeply Christian, SoProfound's spoken word poetry has religion as its foundation. "I'm that guy who's taking principals, ideas and concepts- I'm talking about personal development. Basically I believe that if you can change the individual, you can change everything around them. Religion is the core. I believe in progress and continuity".

Poets compete in a slam or competition, culminating in a prize for the best performer and two runner-ups. Four-time House of Hunger Poetry slam winner Tendekai Tati, known as Madzitatiguru used to write rap verses, but found that he couldn't keep the rhythm. "I figured that with spoken word it is much easier for me to articulate what I want to say". The 23-year old whose poems mix Shona and English with delightful imagery and clever social commentary, often performs to rapturous applause. "I basically comment on the things that I see", he says. Madzitatiguru is one to watch, having also won the Afro Slam Poetry contest in Johannesburg in 2011.

The House of Hunger poets all have an evocative display of words and rhyming skill. The Poetry Slam is unique and has something for everyone interested in poetic expression. Ladies also compete at The House of Hunger slam. More Blessing Size (known as Momo Size), the self-proclaimed ‘Love Poet' says, "House of Hunger is a bit challenging. I had never done poetry as any sort of competitive thing but the first time I did it, I entered into the second round. So that was quite something." Momo Size says she admires well-known and established poets Xapa and Aura Kawanzaruva. One of the newest poets on the scene is Dimitri Kwenda, known as ‘The Scarecrow'. Kwenda started performing at The House of Hunger Poetry Slam in 2012, and has placed second and third in the last two slams at The Book Café. Fusing several modes of expression including Spoken word, poet and rapper, The Scarecrow says of House of Hunger, "It's a great platform for exposure, to come out of your shell. This is what it's done for me. It also allows for a lot more people to get involved." He adds, "What I talk about are things that are relevant to the society I live in. I target truths that I view and my own perception of things".

Audiences can expect a delightful array of poetry and spoken word on Saturday, February 2 at The Book Café, performed by this new generation of lyrical, spoken word poets. Anyone can participate (registration is before 2pm on Saturday) in this celebration of the art of poetry and spoken word. Don't miss out on this spectacular lyrical, poetic show!

Domestic violence is a sensitive, harrowing community issue that affects 1 in 3 women in Zimbabwe. It is a crime, and although legislation has been enacted to try and prevent it, many women find themselves in a position where they are vulnerable to physical, psychological, sexual and emotional abuse.

Statistics show that despite active campaigns from women's groups, government ministries and NGO's, domestic violence continues to be a major problem in Zimbabwe. From January to May 2012, a total of 3,141 domestic violence cases were reported to police, not taking into account all those victims too scared to make an official report and instead bear their wounds in silence. Most shockingly, 60% of the murder cases brought before the High Court are a direct result of domestic violence.

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