Afro Poetry Times

Zimbabwean poet nominated for Jamaica award...


PROMINENT Norton-based (Zimbabwe) poet Takudzwa Chikepe is relishing what could be his big internatio­nal break after he was nominated in the 2021 Internatio­nal Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA). VaChikepe The Poet, as he is popularly known, has been in poetry for over 15 years now, with a number of performanc­es locally and abroad.

He has previously been recognised by the Bridgewate­r Internatio­nal Poetry Festival (BIPF) in Virginia, USA, finishing in the top 10 out of more than 50 internatio­nal poets in 2018 and 2019.

It is, however, the IRAWMA nomination that signals a new peak for the otherwise underrated multi-talented Zimbabwean.

“I am naturally excited. The profiles of performers being mentioned in the IRAWMAs can only add to that excitement. Being mentioned in the same light with Richie Innocent, Mutabaruka, Master KG and Chronixx is something to celebrate”, he told this reporter.

Now an establishe­d author, performer, musician, publisher and photo-journalist, Chikepe started writing in 2006. His first book, Mental Gymnastics, was published in 2020 and is available on

He had his debut live poetry performanc­e at the Book Café’s Open Mic sessions in Harare in 2010.

The IRAWMA are hosted by Martins Internatio­nal. The 2021 edition, dubbed “Reggae’s Biggest

Night”, will be held on Sunday, May 2 in the Jamaican capital, Kingston.

At last year’s edition, dancehall legends Buju Banton and Busy Signal were among the biggest winners, with Buju Banton winning seven categories, while Busy Signal was honoured “Artiste of the Decade”.

It is such company that makes Chikepe’s nomination worthwhile, coupled by the fact that he is one of the few Africa-based nominees this year. He is the only continenta­l representa­tive in the Mutabaruka Awards for the Best Poet/Spoken Word Entertaine­r category.

Zimdanceha­ll pioneer Winky D makes it two nominees from Zimbabwe with a nod in the Best African Dancehall Entertaine­r category.

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