Wadzanai Tadhuvana

– Poetry –

“We stand at a crossroads. Ignore the distress calls or develop smarter working ways that give us green dollars,
fuelling the green economy leading us to enjoy the art piece that is our planet”

Wadzanai Tadhuvana
Location: Norton
Artwork statement: “This poem celebrates the journey that I and many others have traveled to become the first in many generations to be formally employed and to have good jobs. It also celebrates the hard work that we put in to get these jobs and how we contribute to the development of our country, in our own way, through our work. The future of work seems to be under threat from the advances being made. However, the advances signal a new day, a new beginning, and endless possibilities for mankind.”

Q&A: 

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

I grew up reading lots of English and Shona books. My parents and grandparents vividly narrated stories during my childhood which, in my mind, would come alive! They created the fertile grounds for my active imagination. In primary school, I doodled as a way of telling my stories and I had many books of my scripted stories. I wrote a play for Prize Giving Day in grade five, acted in plays at church, and would role play as a teacher at home. I would teach the maize stalks in the yard.

  • How did it evolve over time?

Age drew me toward poetry and short stories. I have submitted many to competitions and received equally as many rejections for those submissions (in fact, I still receive them). I constantly ask myself: Is my work good enough? And yet, I will never question my love of writing. It keeps me going.

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

My art is mostly influenced by society. When my society is going through hardships, as it is now, my art reflects that. I believe that I am the eyes and ears of my society and I express what I see and hear through my art.

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

Art: When one expresses their thoughts, ideas, and feelings in different forms (visual, literary, and audio)
Sustainability: Ensuring that we live today with our needs met whilst ensuring that future generations have their needs met
Zimbabwe: The land of my ancestors, the land of my birth, my home

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

I would want readers to activate their imaginations when they read my poems and stories. That way, they can be part of the story and feel the emotions that I had when I was writing. 

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

My empathy is the bedrock of my creativity.

A new day new possibilities

Finally, I had what even those before me could not dream of
Those tillers and hunters of the land
Never would they have thought that one of their own would be in such a place

I had fought to break the yokes of the status quo
To break the chains of poverty that entangled us for generations
It had not come easy
Blood and sweat
Prayers and offerings
But still I knew where I wanted to be
The barriers I wanted to break
So, I never relented

Rising at the crack of dawn each day
I contribute to my country’s GDP, in my own way
The sweat of my brow driving forward the economy
Giving me the means to provide

But his shadow loomed over me
Casting its darkness over my future
What would I be?
What would my future be?

He threatened to take everything away from me
Reducing my hard work to dust
Rendering me useless
As a statistic

He was a silent assassin
His arrival unannounced
But his effects were like a ripple
Starting off small
Growing ever more pervasive with time
As unrelenting and unstoppable as time

If he had his way,
I would have nowhere to go
Nothing else to do
Nowhere to turn to
All my efforts gone down the drain
What would I be?
What would my future be?

But what if his presence marked a turn of events in my favour?
In the past, my grandmother had been side-lined when seasons changed
Leaving only her hard hands as testament of her hard work
But this time, I would be in the centre of the changing seasons

I would be at the forefront of innovation
I, like nature could be recycled, would be repurposed too
Breaking new ground
Drones surveying farms identifying where pesticides were needed
A clean bumper harvest feeding the nations
A feat that even those who came before me could not have dreamed of
They used to walk and survey the land themselves
But now there is a helper

I would be at the forefront of innovation
3D x-rays showing broken limbs
An extra set of detailed eyes to see what is hidden
Making diagnosis easier
An extra pair of hands to give tailor made limbs to those without
3D printing, making prosthetics more comfortable
Drones delivering medication in rural areas
In the past miles had to walked to access medication
But now there is a helper

Perhaps his arrival signals a new day
I know it signals a new day
Where there is development, inclusiveness and collaboration
A new beginning
Endless possibilities
In a world and future, I can help forge