NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

Mtatabikwa uses poetry to fight social ills

- BY KIMBERLY KARIATI • Follow Kimberly on Twitter @lizellekim­kari

RENOWNED poet Ronald Mtatabikwa (pictured) says he uses poetry in a comic way to bring social change and address issues affecting the youth.

“Poetry is an effective way to communicat­e serious issues.

“All I want is to spread good news, to empower young people and fight issues that affect them through my poems as I seek to create a better world, not only for myself, but also for generation­s to come,” he said.

“I believe arts is an effective channel of communicat­ing topical issues affecting the youth.

“It also leaves a mark where people can listen over and over again until it means something to them.

“My poetry is inspired by daily happenings in the society and seeks to entertain, preach and fight social ills in the community.”

Last week, Mtatabikwa released a poem titled Baba Vake that talks about abuse of women at a time when there are reports of a spike in gender-based violence cases due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown. “The poem speaks about abuse of women and children.

“I wrote this piece as I imagined the struggles that young girls and women face. Women face a lot of things in their day-to-day lives,” he said.

“Women are abused from timeto-time, so I was imagining how it would look like in a lockdown setup where no one knows what is happening.” Mtatabikwa said he aspires to follow in the footsteps of outstandin­g poets such as Chirikure Chirikure, Batsirai Chigama and Albert Nyathi. “What I see happening around are the things that I talk about. I also get inspiratio­n from listening to other poets and reading books of excellent writers. “Spoken word is an expression of art which I want to take to a higher level and one day be recognised as the best,” he said.

Mtatabikwa’s other poems include Dai Wakandida, Gone Are The Days, Zvandombog­aya and Ndokuda Eve. He has performed on different platforms such as Kanyanisa Poetry Slam (2019), High Level Meeting in Southern Africa, The African Diaspora Theatre Guild Festival and Africa Amazing Talent Search (2020).

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