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!
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
Chinhu choga chakakusunga ingetani
Rinoita serakatumwa nasatani
Riri mumusoro mako ngetani
Find Sam here:
Author website: https://www.samantharumbidzai.co.uk