3 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Poetry Is My Life - Paradza

Painful moments in life can come as a blessing for one's life as one grows and discovers the potential they have and help in shaping one's future.

Losing both parents at an early age and growing up with his sister, 26-year-old Ngonidzashe Paradza was inspired by his childhood experiences and he decided to express his emotions through poetry, sending a certain message to the people.

He is known as Ngoni the Poet, yet some people prefer to call him "Nyanduri weNduri".

"My experiences as a child, the emotions l went through, made me express myself through poetry as l had to speak out everything l felt inside me. So, my life inspires the work l do and thus inspired me to be a poet," Paradza told Standard Style.

Paradza realised he was a poet at a later stage in life, but he believes he was born one. However, he said he had not yet reached his full potential in the arts industry and with the environment he grew in, no one ever fulfilled his talent.

"My career started when l had completed my O' Level in 2010, that is when l also realised l had the full potential and l started writing poems," he said.

"We were all born with different talents, but it only needs one to identify themselves and begin chasing their dreams as l am doing right now with mine. Now l can say poetry is my life.

"I do more than three or four poems a day, l do these poems for different people, churches, companies and politicians, to mention a few. l also have some companies and individuals from outside Zimbabwe who approach me to do poems for them. So, for me l am now fully employed as a poet and l am making a living, l am proud of it. l have become the person l always wanted to be."

Paradza said he does not compete with others to lose, but to win.

"All l do is win. l do not compete against others for me to fail, but to come out triumphant. Since 2011 when l started getting into competitions, l have never lost and that is why l now want to compete at national and international level. Two weeks ago, l got the first award at the Harare Lit Festival when they came to Masvingo," he said.

The youthful poet expressed his desire to modify poetry so that it relates to modern-day living.

"I want to re-invent poetry by introducing dance and music as a way of attracting most of the youths who think this form of art is archaic. For me, poetry is not just for fun, but for commercial gain so I want other youths to take poetry seriously as it has some form of financial gain," Paradza said.

"The greatest thing we are lacking as upcoming artistes is exposure. Poets do not have the platform to market their work, yet we need recognition too just like any other artists.

"People out there should know that poetry is the best -- everything revolves around poetry as it deals with the creation and rhyming of words. Artistes are of great importance in society."

Paradza's poems are in Shona.

"I prefer to do my poems in Shona because l will be able to express myself in a much better way. All l know is if you are good at whatever you do, you will go places despite the language you use," he said.

The Chiredzi-born poet urged artistes, especially upcoming ones, to consider developing their brands in order to effectively market themselves.

"In everything you do in society, shape the business side of it; utilise the opportunities. This is why in future I would want to teach and groom artistes," he said.

Paradza hails from Zimuto and did his education at Chikato Primary School and Mazambara High School. He is a student at Great Zimbabwe University, where he is studying for an education degree, but he says poetry is now part of his life.

He is also into acting, writing novels and he is also a musician.

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