#Intwasa17: Heritage, Religion & Xenophobia In Words
Despite the unexpected chilly weather (ironically Intwasa means Spring but the weather that night was in protest), in the grand garden of the National Gallery in Bulawayo, lovers of Spoken Word and the occasional glass of wine, showed up for the annual Women, Wine and Words evening. The show has been a part of Intwasa for roughly three years through its support from the British Council.
The Afro Queens, an all-girl band welcomed everyone rather seamlessly with Mbira Guitar and Drum. The mood they introduced combined with a glass of wine was a setup for the perfect night of flawless poetry as promised.
A Poetry medley was initiated Black Lily who from the second she held onto the mic, made us understand why they call her an ‘Angry Poet’. Tackling questions of blackness, beauty, she shared her desire soulful connections in a world more physical. Lady Tshawe was unapologetic about her Christian faith, her first poem was dedicated to the man above and how she loves and adores him. The performance merged song – a fusion which led the audience to hum along.
Petronella Nyirenda showed off her Zambian heritage, referring to the rights of her fellow women with issues of security, acceptance, and abuse in words that were seasoned with salt. Her words were from the abyss of her heart postulating past experiences she cried out for her female counterparts.
Katleho Shoro, a poet from South Africa, followed up with a poetic travel tour making reference to the landmarks in her country, giving them characters. Katleho, gripped the audience with Burning Men, a tale about xenophobia and the horrors it entailed. Silence engulfed the garden as she narrated and the persecution by mankind against its own kin. Tears trickled from her eye as she wove these words together.
Last but not the least was the British artist Indigo Williams whose Poetry narrated the childhood experience of growing up through the dual heritage of being Nigerian and British at the same time.
It’s not often that we get to hear the deepest sentiments of women based on their day-to-day experiences, thoughts, and philosophies. Women, Wine & Words contrary to its critics focused less on the presentation of the word but instead on the weight of it. Words that needed to be heard, subject matter that needed to be broached streaming all into flavourful calabash of food for thought – a perfect start to the poetry journey at #Intwasa17 and a well-deserved celebration of Women Wordsmiths!