Godfather of Zimbabwean Spoken Word, Chirikure Named UNESCO RILA Affiliate Artist
Chirikure Chirikure is the makings of a Poetry legend to Zimbabwe’s Arts Scene. A well travelled graduate of the University of Zimbabwe and an Honorary Fellow of Iowa University, USA. He has a history in Publishing that spans as far as 17 years which translated to a number of published works such as Rukuvhute (1989, College Press, Harare); Chamupupuri (1994, College Press, Harare) and Hakurarwi – We Shall not Sleep (1998, Baobab Books, Harare) to mention a handful. Chirikure has multiple accolades to his name, his works have been published in multiple languages such as German and Chinese.
This month representatives of the University of Glasgow confirmed that Chirikure Chirulure has indeed acquired Affiliate artists status. An honour that sees an Artist generate work towards refugee integration through languages and creative expression.
In a brief chat with Chirikure he commented,
This is a great honour for me and a wonderful opportunity to contribute in the processes of addressing refugee issues. This is a global challenge affecting most societies and multitudes of individuals. Language and Art are essential vehicles in tackling the challenges. As the old saying goes: a river is made up of small drops of rain.
The network brings together artists from various backgrounds, who work with and reflect on the role Arts and Languages play in bringing people together and strengthening social cohesion.
By matching Refugees, Artists and the Host Countries, the project is strongly focused on cultural and linguistic exchange as indicated on their website;
Affiliate Artists all use these themes in their work and we encourage them to find partners within the network, to set up international projects and partnerships.
A lyricist, Writer, conceptualist, playwright and performing Artist, Chirikure has regularly performed and toured with the late musician Chiwoniso Maraire, with whom he recorded a duet album of poetry with mbira music, ‘Chimanimani‘ (recorded 2007, to be released 2018); he has also recorded an album of his poetry with contemporary music, ‘Chisina Basa’ (2011, Metro Studios Harare/Inyasha Studios UK). Not forgetting the album of poetry and music, in collaboration with fellow poet Albert Nyathi titled ‘Connected’, which was released in May 2014.
Over the years, Chirikure has participated in several international festivals, fairs, conferences and symposiums, as a performer, speaker or resource person. Based in Harare, he works as a performance poet, artist and cultural consultant. With colleagues, he has also established LitFest Harare, an international literature festival, of which he is the Director.
When we asked the decorated Artisan how this new responsibility impacted his journey in the Arts he concluded,
I will do my best to ensure that my art and other interventions will be a significant contribution to the UNESCO endeavours, locally and internationally.
Updates on Chirikure Chirikure’s work as UNESCO RILA Artist Affiliate will be posted on the University of Glasgow managed GRAMNet Blog alongside fellow affiliates.