Makomborero Nhau’s debut cements plight of women

Wilson T. Waison

Contemporary poetry has since evolved from pre-independence writing which was characterized by a strong protest voice against the minority rule to a tranquil echo in the post independence era.

Conversations shifted from liberational coercion to more social concerns like the plight of women in post independence.

Writers like Dambudzo Marechera, Freedom Nyamubaya, Chenjerai Hove, Stanlake Samkange, Musaemura Zimunya, John Eppel and others devoted into solemn themes of regime change and that was the order of the day. With the progression of time, feminine voices like Yvonne Vera, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Valerie Tagwirei and others brought into effect and evoked literature discussions about the plight of women in society.

Like many other literature works, the aforementioned writers primarily explored the hardships of the people, in a pain-staking, artful way that required deep meditation to disentangle the lumps of meaning inside their poems, prose passages and drama extracts.

Fast forward to present day, a new bred of poetry claims space in the post colonial era with enlightening themes that paint bliss and jolly. Makombororero Nhau’s debut, “Profused feelings ” a contemporary anthology of poems dwells much on the plight of women as a dominant theme in her collection.

Nhau, a feminine voice exposes readers to a plethora of takeaways from her anthology “Profused feelings”. The book title preempts the gist of the major thematic aspect of the compilation as it evokes an element of growth in abundance.

Nhau is a poet with great simplicity and humility in her observation of people and society at large. Unlike Marechera, the most self- conscious of all Zimbabwean poets, She does not strive for special literary effects and her poetry is not verbose or classified as an echo of voices from other poetic traditions such as  acrostics,  limerick ballads or  couplets.

She uses blank and free verses to air her concerns to the audience which are much simpler to denote the meaning.

There is no attempt to use grand gestures and no effort to impress in her book “Profused feelings”. Even when the subject matter is tragic, solemn, foreboding or gloomy, Nhau consistently avoids the use of hyperboles.

Her collection shows her concern for the lives of ordinary teenagers in Zimbabwe and reflects the anomie and disappointment that characterize teens during adolescence. The poems revolves around the plight of women through the first person narrative point of view of a girl child.

She however implores simple diction and stylistic devices such as similes and rhetoric questions more often to keep the engagement with the reader lively. Most of the poems are written in first point narrative point of view that suggests a strong involvement of the poet and the subject matter.

Through the use of “I” in her book, the reader is exposed to immediate and personal experiences of the writer through the reflection of themes.

Of interest is the most prevalent theme of Child marriages.

The writer’s approach on this subject matter impacts audiences with a genuine experience of teenage pregnancies. In titles like, Date rape, Arranged rape and Abortion the only alternative: teenage pregnancy is a predominant theme characterized by elements of the boy child taking advantage of the feminine gender.  In this trio, the reader is exposed to matters of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual consent for both man and female. The writer here strikes a balance on victims and do away with a stereotype that only view girls and women as victims in relative stream of consciousness. In the poem Arranged rape she exposes the responsibility of a young man at the disposal of an early marriage.

In another dimension, Nhau explore the element of patriarchal cultures within the contemporary Zimbabwean societies. Her last poem in the collection, Negligent father and Then who’s the father figure among others pose rhetorics to man.

In her poems she inquire justice from a broken patriarchal society which allows negligence in man and infringe on women’s rights. She further condemn broken and far cordial relations that are woven from patriarchy.

Despite the attack on man, Nhau is no sadistic or bitter about the good deeds man also does. Her poem EX is saturated with a conversation about lovers who breaks.

Here she expose the reader to women’s resilience. The poem portrays women as strong, courageous and independent from man. The plight of women is cemented through a bold courage to move on and the poem captures an emancipated young woman who is not broken.

She also takes a sharp turn into the topical element of drug and substance abuse, in her poem Not to drugs the audiences are exposed to a solemn atmosphere satirized with a somber mood as the writer despises the use of illicit substance and abuse of solvents.

Nhau paint a black and white picture on how drugs can destroy teens in contemporary Zimbabwe, her offering is juxtaposed to a sad reality where young people are drowned in solvents like crystal methamphetamine (Guka, Mutoriro or Dombo), cough syrup (Bronclea, Histalix, Codeine), cannabis (Mbanje, Skunk, leaves) and many other solvents abused in the street corners of the country at large.

Titles like When I’m gone and corona virus revolves around death and bares a foreboding atmosphere. Here, she births a conception that there is an afterlife and finds a soothing stream of consciousness. Apart from death as a sub theme, Nhau also brings on board dark themes like depression, paranoia and deceit to cement the gloomy atmosphere that prevails in her collection.

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