ASHLEY MAVOLWANE

– Poetry –

“I grew up in Bulawayo before relocating to Harare. I was first introduced to art by uncle, who gave me an advert for the Best New African Poets Anthology 2016 Volume and out of 3 poems.
One of them was selected into the anthology. Besides writing poems, I am currently studying for an Undergraduate Degree in Psychology at the Midlands State University”.

What inspires you?

Ashley Mavolwane
Location: Harare
Artwork statement: “This poem calls upon everyone on the African continent and the rest of the world to embrace women and ensure that they also contribute to the smooth transition to a green economy. This will require the training and development of technological skills that can help shape the planet.”

Q&A: 

  • What was your experience with art as a child and growing up?

I used to watch a lot of movies and music videos. I appreciated music videos for entertainment; I would dance and sing along to the music. As for movies, the main characters would inspire me to an extent I would pretend that I was that character. For example, I used to imitate Eddie Murphy’s voice in the movie Norbit where he played the character Rasputia. 

  • How did it evolve over time?

As I grew up, I watched people interact through their conversations and I would tell myself that this person should have said this and that in such a way. Without realizing it, the voices in my head were a slow manifestation of poetry. Since then, I have been writing and performing poetry and have tried many writing styles: sonnets, ballads, free verse, and unique rhyme schemes. I do not feel content with just writing poetry, so I have expanded my writing skills and ventured into article writing and screenwriting. 

  • Who or what influences your art? How would you like your art to influence others?

My art is influenced by the environment around me and my own feelings and perspectives on life. Everything that I write is a response to the environment, which may be in the form of climate change, human rights abuses, and relationships. My art seeks to correct and inspire change in some of the things that hinder us to fulfilling our potential as human beings. I would like my art to influence other people to create a better, more inclusive environment.

  • How do you define the following: Art? Sustainability? Zimbabwe?

Art: The outward projection of one’s conscious and subconscious emotions, aspirations and inspirations; a creative reaction that seeks to send a message about a certain issue
Sustainability: The capacity to cater for one’s needs with minimal assistance
Zimbabwe: A spectacle to the world; equitable to Mother Nature itself; a diverse country comprising cultures, religions, and beliefs that contribute to its colorful heritage

  • What is the best way for a viewer/reader to experience your art?

Keep an open mind. You should be in a position to be willing to experience or have knowledge of something new or something you have always run away from. Art is formless, like water, which is an added advantage as it is able to take any form depending on which container it is packaged in.

  • What do you think sets you apart from other artists in Zimbabwe?

My versatility and flexibility as an artist sets me apart from other artists in Zimbabwe. I am versatile as I am able to write or perform about any topic or theme. This is an important skill as I can be in sync with anything and everything that affects us as human beings. In terms of flexibility, I am able to spread my wings into anything that has to do with art. I may not be able to do everything in art, but I will always be eager to learn about the basis and origin of any art form.

Hakuna Matata

A soothing anthem is audible
Its lyrics bear a touch of bliss.
The descendants of the motherland inherited it.
But does their state qualify them to dance
To this harmonious melody?.

Existing amongst human beasts
The feminine struggle for equality
Rebuked and violated to never again rise.
Who said they do not possess the prowess
Of mastering politics and science?
Who said they are mere child bearers?

We dream of building a future
A future with a touch of tranquillity,
Zero discrimination and absolute equality.
How can you build a future without true nurturers?
Who will make sure the future is hate free?

The motherland is a land of serenity
Serenity that composed hakuna matata
“There are no worries for the rest of your days”
The chain of no worries oxidized
As the sound of the ancient anthem
Is an insult to the opprssed caregivers.

Hakuna Matata is slowly fading away.
A huge task lay at hand
A task to give meaning to the renowned African anthem.
Let us bring back the days
When everyone sang it from the heart.
Everyone including the smothered women
As we long to hear angelic voices
Confidently vocalize Hakuna Matata