Tanyaradzwa

Chitunhu

ABOUT THE WORK

 

“The African timecapsule in holographic and spoken word form was created to express and record what is going on in the continent and in the diaspora from a millennial’s perspective. In particular, the four spoken word poems look at issues of African identity and pride, African innovation, political activism and technology and finally migration and displacement. The time capsule is traditionally to give a snapshot of a period of time or age for the purpose of posterity and communicate with people in the future. In this project, it is to help people to examine what is happening on the continent and in the diaspora for African millennials and how that is shaping them for the future.  “

Work & Process

Collaborators

 

I was able to collaborate with fellow participants, Andrew Munuwa from Tanzania and Hakeem Adam from Ghana, to shoot the videos that were the basis of the time capsule. Further,  I also collaborated with Nemesto, a Mozambican architect and creative who had created his own time capsule a year earlier and had exhibited the work in Maputo. His talent and support on this project was invaluable as he guided us practically on how to create the holographic effect from the video work.  In addition, I worked closely with Helio, a talented creative and facilitator who introduced us to Nemesto and the idea of the hologram for the time capsule as a way of presenting the poems digitally. In addition, he assisted us greatly in sourcing local materials and other practical help for the project. Many thanks to all involved!

 

 

The Four spoken word poems:

Afrinnovation
_

 

Our innovation is
another world.
Rooted in
our ubuntu.
Oneness.

 

We are
tribes
and tongues.
Connecting to generations before us
as we gather by night,
to seek solutions in
unexpected places.

 

Ever heard of electricity
coaxed out of cassava
or waste?

 

This is our African innovation

 

Unbound imagination
leaping up
in waves of unbridled passion
in real time
refreshing our real lives

 

The world may scoff
yet we rise,
to do life,
business,
on mobiles with no cash.
Apps that alert to the earth’s acidity,
so cash crops become
ripened dreams
bursting forth in harvest
for our children’s
children.

 

We turn trash
to treasured windmills.
Empowering our own communities,
piercing night
with our burning.

 

Not just book smart
We self-start.
We fire builders.
We land tillers.
Sooth sayers singing,
until the dryness of this earth
is no more.

 

She weeps with joy,
surrendering,
to our beautiful,
beautiful
genius.

 

 

 

A chorus (of skylarks)
_

 

We are piercing melody
Symphonic as the
fire shut up
in our skin

 

We die and resurrect
die and resurrect
die and resurrect
An unending chorus

 

To the sound
Of slave ships on rhythmic seas
Our memories
forever seared

 

We are skylarks.
Singing in the darkness.
Migrating always
on a lyric
of home.

Rebellion
_

 

The ancestors chanted,
prayed,
screamed out the dark
through the longest nights;
This is the rebellion.

 

Our minds unshackled.
We declare the dangerous beauty
our black skin,
the colour of black gold
in a pale
pale world.
Now we dance.

 

Liberation as the rhythm
To our bold African life,
our own light.

 

 

 

The Rules of Engagement:
A Millennial’s guide to revolution
_

 

1.
Catch the fire

but don’t let it burn in your
chest, exhale online.

 

2.
A hashtag is an open

palm rolled into a fist.
Use precisely and
on purpose.

 

3.
Unravel political lies with

a touch of the keys, till
truth bleeds out.

 

4.
You are the struggle. You

are your grandmother and
grandfather united. Never
underestimate yourself
even behind a screen.

 

5.
WhatsApp is a sharp

blade against corruption.
Use often with memes.

 

6.
Tag everyone you know

about protests, sit-ins and
meetings. Unity is
resistance.

 

7.
Ignore threats of

government shutdowns.
Secure Wi-fi and do not
retreat.

 

8.
Create a new world with

your words. Speak up and
speak out.

 

9.
Do not let anyone look

down on you because you
are young. Take up your
weapons- twitter,
facebook, Instagram,
youtube and every social
platform you can. Fight for
your future.

 

10.
The revolution will

not be televised, will not
be televised, will not be
televised. The revolution
will be live – click, click.

About the Artist

Tanyaradzwa Chitunhu is a Zimbabwean born performance poet based in the UK. She recently released a debut collection of spoken word poetry – a book titled “On Praise & Protest” which celebrates unheard African stories and confronts their marginalisation. Her work is influenced by African storytelling, Christian preaching, hip hop & spoken word. She aims to celebrate African identities through her poetry with passionate words and a powerful delivery. She has been on various stages including, as a selected guest poet, at the Bloom Arts Festival London. She has also been featured on British radio stations Newstyle radio & Brum radio. Tanyaradzwa headlined and led the poetry show and workshop for a summer festival called Catalyst.

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