Featured Artist: Samantha Vazhure

I was born in the district of Barking and Dagenham (London) in 1981, to Zimbabwean parents who were studying in the United Kingdom and returned to Zimbabwe a couple of years after independence. I spent my childhood in Masvingo, Zimbabwe where I completed my education at Victoria Primary School and Victoria High Boarding School respectively. I returned to the United Kingdom in 1999 after completing my A levels. I studied Law and Business Administration at the University of Kent in Canterbury and proceeded to study a Postgraduate Diploma in European Politics, Business and Law at the University of Surrey. I work as a regulatory consultant within financial services in the United Kingdom. I am married to my childhood sweetheart, who lives with me and our two children in South Wales.


Author website: https://www.samantharumbidzai.co.uk



What does poetry mean to you?


Poetry is a product of deep consciousness. It’s a form of candid storytelling, written like a song but without the gluing words that lengthen a story. The ability to produce a meaningful story without gluing words is a poet’s challenge and joy, because they must come up with a few powerful words that leave the reader fulfilled.



What inspires your poetry?


I advocate human equality, diversity and inclusion, mainly the rights of women and children, the rights and welfare of immigrants, and mental health.


I raise awareness of abuse, with emphasis on hidden and narcissistic abuse, bullying and its effects. I love to empower those weakened by abuse and inequality, static cultural and manipulative religious beliefs and practices, such as systems designed to further the dominant ideology of patriarchy. I (and many people I know) have lived through and survived these issues, and those experiences inspire my poetry.


I also champion preservation of vernacular languages, so I sometimes write in Shona then translate my writing to English, as I did with my first poetry collection which I self-published in Shona, “Zvadzugwa Musango” then translated it to “Uprooted”. This collection explores the experiences of immigrants living in the diaspora, and empowers women, children and victims of abuse. It also explores love and relationships, amongst other things.



Which are most important to you: (1) joy, (2) peace, (3) patience, (4) kindness, (5) self-control, (6) faithfulness, (7) gentleness, (8) love, or (9) goodness? If you can, explain why.


Love is the most important to me, starting with self-love. Everything else is a result of, or an extension of love and is interconnected. Joy comes only when a solid enmeshment of all of the above is realised.


Peace, particularly peace of mind is also very important to me, as a person who has experienced an identity crisis resulting from being born in the first world, growing up in the third world and returning to live in the first world as an adult. In addition to this crisis, I have to tackle human inequality on a daily basis. As a mother, I have a responsibility to invest in my mental health to enable myself to consciously nurture empowered children who know how to navigate hate, biases, discrimination and other issues I have experienced as a first-generation immigrant living in the UK. This includes encouraging them to freely express themselves and to challenge what they experience, in a kind, peaceful and loving manner, while staying connected to their authentic selves, without feeling shame or fear. This is a challenging process for me because I am having to unlearn behaviours programmed in my mind growing up in a society which encouraged or rewarded submissiveness and punished women who challenged the status quo, in order to break the cycle.



What sort of things are you looking forward to improving this year?


I am working on 2 English novels and hope to publish at least one of them by year end.



What is one big dream you have?


To never stop writing. I find writing immensely therapeutic, so the opportunity to entertain, educate and empower others through my writing while I concurrently heal, is priceless.



From the collection “Uprooted” / “Zvadzugwa Musango”:

Release the chains (English) / Sunungura ngetani (Shona) …


Release the chains


Your mind is a prison

Barricading your way like spokes

Clenching your feet like compression socks


Pay attention, I am your teacher

Preaching what your preacher won’t teach you

Sharpen your ears, or you might miss the point


Only you can release the shackles

You can unlock the chains that gaol you

Do so by scrutinising your mind


Do you love yourself truly?

This is your life purpose

And worry not what others think


Know that mistakes are common

If you fail, you’re still human

Stop being too eager to please


Let go of whatever hinders your progress

Erase thoughts that leave you feeling helpless

Like being brought up to think you’re useless


Have some self-respect

Bitter pills have blessed effects

There is nothing else, don’t self-neglect


The only thing tying you down are chains

A negative energy that seems devilish

They’re all in your head, they’re imaginary chains


You can do it, release the chains!



Sunungura ngetani


Fungwa dzako chitokisi

Chakakuvharira zhira sema sipokisi

Chakakudzvinya shoka semasvokisi


Chiteerera ini mudzidzisi

Ndikuvudze zvausingafundisiwi nevafundisi

Ukasateya zheve haundihwisisi


Iwe woga ndiwe ungarikiinura

Ngetani rakakusunga sunungura

Fungwa dzako ita dzokupenengura


Zvide nomoyo wose

Iri ndiro basa rako mazuva ose

Usakendenga zvinofungwa navanhu vose


Ziva kuti kukanganisa kuri muvanhu

Ukakanganisa uchiri munhu pavanhu

Rega raramo yokufadza vanhu


Rega zvinhu zvisingakubetseri

Dzima fungwa dzisingakubetseri

Sekukura uchinzi haubetseri


Ziva kuti kuipa kwezvimwe

Kunaka kwezvimwe

Hakuchina zvimwe


Chinhu choga chakakusunga ingetani

Rinoita serakatumwa nasatani

Riri mumusoro mako ngetani


Sunungura ngetani!



Find Sam here:

Author website: https://www.samantharumbidzai.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/samanthavazhure

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Personal-Blog/Samantha-Rumbidzai-Vazhure-103918008006173/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samantharumbidzaivazhure/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Samantha-Rumbidzai-Vazhure/e/B08BG7FB7C/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1



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