Ipikai Poetry Journal
The Story of Zimbabwe in Poetry
ISSUE 3 | DECEMBER 2022www.ipikai.org
The Ipikai Poetry Journal
is a project of the
Zimbabwe Poets Society.
FROM THE EDITOR
The Meaning of Fridays
According to Greek mythology, the Ephyrian king Sisyphus, was damned to eternal labour in the afterlife for his transgressions in life.
What epic punishment meted out to him? Sisyphus had to push a large rock to the top of a hill and when he completed this task, the rock rolled back down the mountain and Sisyphus had to start again, for eternity.
Similarly, in the first few chapters of the Bible, God punishes Adam and Eve’s disobedience by decreeing “vachadya cheziya” or to translate it directly, Man shall eat his sweat.
In Ipikai’s third issue, Zimbabwe’s poets engage with issues of work, rest, and the meaning of Fridays. After all, we have reached the end of the year and it is customary to break from the rigours of nine to five living. Many of our poets have described the hopeless monotony of the hustle and some even shed light on their working conditions.
Hilton Chironga describes the “ramshackles of purring/oils, files and greases…/sly fumes and whizzing engines” of a mechanic’s world while Portia Ndlovu “curses the bald” from her vantage point outside a hair salon, as she goes to look for clients in busy city streets. However, it is Tina Chiwashira who truly captures the sentiment of futility in her poem, “For What?”:
‘Hope slowly disintegrating to fine lines on skin…
Wrinkles writing testaments of failure
Grapplings of what should have been…
We are dying—
This futility probably explains the abundance of poems mentioning alcoholism, from Mbonisi Zikhali’s poems on sobriety to the “beckon[ing]” of David Phiri’s “downtown bar”, Friday seems to evoke a ritual of social drinking and in some instances, awaking in a stranger’s bed. This issue also includes Chief K. Masimba’s touching elegy to the young Tynwald high School learners who lost their lives in the recent vehicular tragedy that occurred on the 14 of October, learners he describes as “six young blossoms ripped apart”.
Yet, Ipikai III is not all doom and gloom, here and there, we have instances of humour and artistic playfulness: Memory Chirere amuses the reader by observing young children at play. In keeping with the FIFA World Cup euphoria, Bekilizwe Ndlovu likens life to a soccer match and, not to be outdone, Steven Mandipaka takes inspiration from the Chevron’s recent T20 glory and weaves the game of cricket into his own writing:
Just as Sikandar Raza bowls, aiming for a wicket
So are the left and right stumps of my ventricles
Crushed by the oozing pain of my weekdays
In keeping with one of our core values of promoting literature in Indigenous languages, I would like to thank Thabani Moyo and Tinashe Muchuri for reading our Ndebele and Shona submissions and also acknowledge Stuart Moyo for keeping our website running since our first issue.
And we live to do it over again—
Sisyphus always finds his rock.
Thank God It's Friday
From time immemorial, people have been defined by their vocations, whether these vocations are the hobbies or nine to five jobs.
Hate it or love it, your graft is where you spend most of your time. From The Office type workplace shenanigans to work spouses and board room takeovers, the workplace is a home away from home and as such, has its own cultures and values that either inspire the loyalty of employees or drive uninspired workers to quiet quitting.
Click on a title to read the poem, or on a name to see all the poems by that poet…