Mambo Guramatunhu "The Whistle-blower Poet" Earns Another NAMA Nomination
Mambo Guramatunhu, known as “The Whistle-blower Poet,” has been nominated for the esteemed 22nd National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA).
The emerging poet, born Ngonidzashe Paradza, has taken poetry seriously to the extent of producing a 10-track album titled ‘Zvombo,’ which earned him a nomination for the 22 NAMA in the Spoken Word category as an Outstanding Poet.
He started his poetry journey in 2010 and continues to address societal issues through his poetic expressions. Guramatunhu spoke to journalist Shingirai Manyengavana:
I began doing poetry in high school, and my teachers nurtured me when they realized my ability to use words to address societal problems.
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He describes himself as a whistle-blower and loves writing about service delivery, culture and heritage, good morals, and humour.
Hailing from Masvingo, Guramatunhu expressed his excitement about the NAMA nomination, which is themed ‘Kwan22.’ He said:
The nomination signifies growth, perfection, and relevance to me. It’s a response from my audience, my family, validating my work.
Edward Bhara, Guramatunhu’s manager, added:
This second NAMA nomination confirms that Mambo Guramatunhu is on the right track and among the top league. NAMA is a prestigious stage, and securing a nomination spot twice is a significant stride towards earning greater recognition.’
The NAMA award ceremony is set to take place on February 24 at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre (ZEIC). Among the contenders in the Spoken Word Awards category are Mambo Guramatunhu, Chioniso Tsikisayi, and Shanay Wood.
Poetry holds a special place in Zimbabwean culture. It has long been valued as a means to honour and celebrate leaders, showcasing their remarkable qualities and bravery. This type of poetry, called praise poetry, aims to preserve the ruler’s legacy through rhythmic and expressive verses.
In addition to praising leaders, poetry in Zimbabwe has also been used to express gratitude during times of prosperity. Poets would write verses to thank ancestral spirits and higher powers for blessings like a bountiful harvest.
Although poetry has played a significant role in Zimbabwean culture, only a few poets have achieved widespread recognition. Some notable names in the field include Abert Nyathi, Chirikure Chirikure, Abel Mauchi, Tinotenda ‘Dhege’ Chinoda, and Batsirai Chigama.