Calling on Ndebele poets in Diaspora


ZIMBABWEANS in the Diaspora are putting together a Ndebele anthology meant to promote the language and culture where they are based.


The project was mooted during the King Mzilikazi celebrations held in 2011 in the United States.

Phithizela Ngcobo, born in Tsholotsho and now a high school Mathematics teacher in Washington DC and a lecturer at Rhodes University Dion Nkomo who hails from Nkayi are co-ordinating the project.

Ngcobo said they were using the Internet as the mode of communication and submission.

“Poetry co-ordination is not easy as we will get submissions from all corners of the world,” he said.

“I will have the honour to select the poems, but I will need others who can edit, proofread and design the finished product. The anthology to be published in November this year is being done with the assistance of well known and respectable Ndebele writer and publisher, Barbara Nkala (nee Makhalisa). Our current challenge is that female poets have submitted nothing,” Ngcobo said.

“The project is primarily funded by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora on a voluntary basis. Most of the resources are already available.”

He said the themes had been left open-ended to allow poets to fully express themselves.

“I will leave it to individuals to write their poetry in the best way that they can present. It can be nostalgic, that is, life in Zimbabwe before we migrated,” Ngcobo added.

“However, we are encouraged to write about life in our current environment-acculturation, blending into the majority, holding to our identities/values, the pains of Diaspora — sleepless nights and tears, home sickness, politics, love, social media (Facebook and Twitter) and the joys of diaspora — efficient transport, ever present electricity and water, opportunities, power of the consumer etc.”