- Category: PA 2001
Chirikure Chirikure was born in Gutu, Zimbabwe, in 1962. He is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe, an Honorary Fellow of Iowa University, USA, and until 2002 worked with College Press, one of Zimbabwe’s leading publishing houses, as an editor/publisher. A performance poet, Chirikure now also works as a cultural consultant and translator. He lives in Harare, Zimbabwe, with his son and daughter.
Chirikure has published three collections of poetry: Rukuvhute (1989), Chamupupuri (1994), and Hakurarwi – We Shall not Sleep (1998), all of which received first prizes at the annual Zimbabwean Writer of the Year Awards. He has also contributed poetry to a Shona poetry anthology, Zviri Muchinokoro (2005), and has written and translated a number of children’s stories and educational books.
Chirikure’s first collection, Rukuvhute, received an Honorable Mention in the Noma Awards (1990) whilst Hakurarwi – We Shall not Sleep, was selected as one of the 75 Best Zimbabwean Books of the 20th Century by the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in 2004. Hakurarwi was also awarded a prize for one of the five best Shona publications of the 20th century at the same fair.
Chirikure performs his poetry solo or with the DeteMbira mbira music ensemble, with whom he has also recorded an album of poetry and music entitled Napukeni (2002). He regularly performs and tours with musician Chiwoniso – also a participant at this year’s Poetry Africa – and has written lyrics for a number of leading Zimbabwean musicians, occasionally also performing with some of them.
He has also contributed lyrics, translations and voice-overs to films and documentaries, and has acted in some theatre productions. Chirikure has participated in several international festivals, fairs and symposiums, as a performer and speaker.
Mickias T. Musiyiwa writes: “Like Chinua Achebe, he wants to persuade his readers to “look back and see where the rains began to beat us… Satire is Chirikure’s clinical tool to dissect the illusion that was independence, the ephemeral euphoria that transformed into a profound and complex crisis of expectation on the part of the unsuspecting and gullible Zimbabwean people. Deep disillusionment now shatters the dreams of the new nation whose birth was so painful, protracted and bloody.”
Chirikure Chirikure forms part of the Hello Zimbabwe contingent.