Tafataona Mahoso: A man of many hats

Tafataona Mahoso: A man of many hats
Published: 17 February 2019 (232 Views)
Rupise: Poetry of Love, Separation and Reunion 1977-2017; By Tafataona Mahoso; Mutare, Samwasika Heritage Products.

136 Pages

ISBN: 978-1-7706-070-9 (Paperback)

INDEED Tafataona Mahoso, an academic in his own right, is a man who wears so many hats, with many not even aware of the artist in him.

Says Mahoso to the Daily News on Sunday; "I was in the same class at St Augustine's with (the late) Dambudzo Marechera. We crossed paths at Oxford in the 1970s but never met again."

Marechera is, without doubt, one of Zimbabwe's best known artists, but one who left the scene too early but perhaps the Oxford interaction for Mahoso may have apprenticed him into a refinement of the Romantic and Victorian epochs of verse.

Rupise: Poetry of Love, Separation and Reunion 1977-2017 - which is available at Innov8 and National Gallery bookshops in Harare and Sleek Media - reflects an accomplishment of how tone and feeling in poetry can help create meaning.

For Mahoso - an accomplished poet whose first anthology Footprints About the Bantustan was published in 1989 - elements of form and structure combine with stylistic devices to communicate meaning.

The symbolism of Rupise - hot spring or geyser - is something drawn from Manicaland, where Mahoso hails from. Because of the geographical reality of Rupise, placed "variously at Chakohwa, Nyanyadzi, Save and Lower Odzi, all in Chimanimani", according to the preface, there an element of realism that sets in the poetry.

Something very striking comes to the mind of the reader; the water that is found in the hot springs is hot but is always there in the very same form. Water, in most cases, is seen as nourishing, giving life and living. Water in the poetry of Rupise is not different; it is life-giving.

In the poetry anthology, Rupise symbolises the ideal love relationship that is "deep, enduring, faithful, inexhaustible" in the same way we see the heat in the water from the hotspring - forever hot and forever there - whose energy source is not "rationed by meter or subject to load-shedding".

In one of the poems "Before You Appeared in My life" the persona says:

Before you appeared I was not sure

What I wanted in or with a woman:

The allure of your dark dreamy eyes

Rooted in ancient memory and primordial passion,

Like the charged aftermath of lightning

Just earthed and disappeared in dark deep soil. (p2)

It appears there is an admission that there now is a change after meeting this woman. He says "I feared my own imagination

Like a child surprised by its own giant shadow

At sunrise and sunset." (p2)

The comparison with the "surprised child" carried in the simile "like a child surprised…" is effective in giving a vivid picture of the timidity hitherto evident in the persona before. The visual image of the giant shadow appeals to the sense of sight and gets the reader visualising how huge the threat was.

Although not widespread, the use of alliteration as in "Deep and dark mud stuck" creates interesting rhythm.

As opposed to prose, poetry usually expresses the inner self, conversations that may be taking place within the self on a variety of issues and experiences.

Rupise therefore becomes Mahoso's expression of his feelings on the subject of love.

Poetry is divided into distinct sections - each standing for a unique set of poems - making it easy for the reader to follow through. There are five sections: Unlit Lanterns, Separation, Rupise: Where, When Does Love Stay?, Lifefolds and Gleanings.

Traditionally, in the writer's own admission and consistent with older generations boys and girls could actually swim together, undressed in the same pool without arousing the other sexually. No one would be raped or molested, a striking difference with what we see today. A girl dressed in a tight mini catches the attention of everyone around and there are whistles from all directions as people hurl obscenities at her.

Mainini Rupise is said to have been older than the writer and others and "remained selfless and disciplined enough not to take advantage of our sexual vulnerabilities".

Most readers still need to be reminded that poetry is best read quietly, aloud for one to understand the various technical aspects that add to the ultimate and overall enjoyment of the art genre.

Poetic devices like the simile, imagery, comparison, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration and other obscure ones like metre among others have the best impact when poetry is read so.

In other words, they become optimally effective when the reader interacts with the art form quietly, aloud.

Ideally, it is the spoken word and as such is best heard.

The poem "Waiting" in the section titled Separation is an example of those that show distance between the lovers.

"Your absence lingers, a series of El Nino droughts;

But my love is a miracle seed, life's selfless desire

To thrive with little outside driver except your returns in kind." (p19)

The image of the El Nino just to show the sense of loneliness caused by the lover's absence combines well with the "miracle seed" just to show the determination in the persona to continue loving despite the distance between them.

"My Love, My Beauty" in the third section, Rupise: Where, when, does love stay?

"Your beauty exudes from the molten core

Of your substance,

Moisturising every pore of your skin,

Radiant skin so provocative to view by day

And to touch by night." (p38)

The imagery used in this poetry is very powerful as seen in "the molten core", "moisturising every pore of your skin" and "radiant skin".

Throughout the poetry, Mahoso makes extensive use of imagery that helps to make the poetry understood better.

A comprehensive analysis of the poetry in Rupise may not be possible here. This is not to suggest that interpretations proffered herein are cast in stone.

Every reader is bound to react differently to the poetry but there is one thing no one can take away from the anthology - the fact that it carries real poetry, in short it is a manifestation of master craftsmanship.

The anthology is a must for any bookshelf and could have been a choice for a Valentine's Day gift for any lovers, at least those who love reading about love.

Mahoso is the current chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Media Commission, regular columnist in the Sunday Mail and visiting lecturer at the Zimbabwe Film and Television School for southern Africa.

He holds a BA degree in Literature and History from Roberts Wesleyan College in the United States, an MA degree in Literature from Ohio University (USA) as well as a PhD in African Studies and History from Temple University, again in the US.  Formerly director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe until 1992, Mahoso also served as principal lecturer and head of the Division of Mass Communication until 2001.

He has another poetry anthology Footprints About the Bantustan, published in 1989.

- dailynews

Tags: Mahoso, Book, Talent,

You May Like These Videos


There are no comments.

Latest stories

Mugabe Aeroplanes sold for $12.5 million

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 175 Views

Chamisa opens up on his visit to Manicaland

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 164 Views

NetOne outpaces competitors, active subscriber base balloons

by Ndou Paul | 20 March 2019 | 118 Views

South Africa send support to Cyclone Idai-hit Manicaland

by ZimLive | 20 March 2019 | 121 Views

How to choose the right powder welding machine

by Tech Reporter | 20 March 2019 | 80 Views

No one will die of hunger, Mnangagwa tells cyclone victims

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 96 Views

Mnangagwa off to affected areas

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 83 Views

Mohadi opens tobacco selling season

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 97 Views

This is not it Mr Mnangagwa!

by Editorial - Daily News | 20 March 2019 | 121 Views

Obert Mpofu to appear before Bulawayo court

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 96 Views

Mnangagwa, Chamisa cannot lead dialogue

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 89 Views

Uproar over illiterate councillor

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 85 Views

Kwekwe VID receiving bribes in exchange for drivers' licences

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 88 Views

Lupane school forced to close over goblins

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 82 Views

Mnangagwa plans to stop using army in demos

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 105 Views

Government sells NetOne and TelOne

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 144 Views

How Prophet Isaiah Sovi foretold Cyclone Idai

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 174 Views

'Joshua Nkomo made Mugabe the leader of ZANU in 1975'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 147 Views

Water shortage to increase in Harare

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 110 Views

#Cyclone Idai: Mnangagwa on the ground

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 110 Views

Zesa gets new board

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 99 Views

Chamisa wants MPs to push for Department of Civil Protection reform

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 107 Views

Heavyweights vie for ZACC posts

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 86 Views

Leyland eyes Zimbabwe bus plant

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 106 Views

Potraz summons Liquid over tariff hike

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 87 Views

ZCTU bosses' freedom bid quashed

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 52 Views

Over 100 trucks transporting Zimbabwe wheat stuck in Mozambique

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 88 Views

Ex-Zanu-PF Senator sued over $368k power debt

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 104 Views

Bulilima West MP bemoans absence of referral hospital

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 90 Views

MP takes council to task over floods

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 80 Views

Men jailed 2 years for defacing Mnangagwa banner

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 88 Views

Man (21) kills brother (15) over food

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 92 Views

Headman leaves behind 35 children

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 101 Views

Mash Central MDC youth leader out on bail

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 47 Views