Anna T Gowera; is an amazing Zimbabwean female writer; one can tell by the depth of her use of language that she grew up nurturing her talent. I started reading her Facebook notes in 2012 she was a mutual friend with Ernest Mackina. I believe they met while she was doing her degree at NUST (National University of Science and Technology). I also knew her brother Larnston, who was my senior at Dadaya High School back in the day.
Her art focuses on serious and non serious issues depending on her mood. She writes some poetry in Ndebele as well which is a think Zimlink applauds as we are in a mission to uphold local languages. She has contributed a number of works to Zimlink and has been entrusted with an editorial role. The motive of these articles about her is to let you know who Anna is before or after you read her work. Covey taught that we must seek to understand others first before we are understood. Since Miss Gowera is a very good author I decided to ask her about her relationship with words. This is what she had to say:
To me, words are, have proven to be, things. Alive. Tangible. Even sacred. When my peers in primary school would chant’ “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me!” I would wonder if they had heard what they just said. Surely it could not be true? Growing up, whenever I had been naughty (or presumed to be such), I would prefer to get a lashing to a “good talking-to”. With a lashing, I could scream my lungs out (even when it really wasn’t that sore), go to sleep, and sometimes get a hug and apology from the lasher if I pulled off the “I’m so sad” look well enough. But words? Words stuck. Words could just tap me on the shoulder at the most random moment and make me miserable all over again. And you best believe that there was no hug for suddenly being miserable when three seconds ago you were buzzing around like a bee.
People use words all the time, meaningfully, wantonly. Often times we forget what we say to others, what they say to us. But there are times when so much as a single word defines who we are, what we become.
Phrases I Remember
My family is a lover of words. Sounds. Laughter. A great deal of who I am can be attested to where I am from. I remember, for instance, words from some time in my O’ Level years. The background to this story is that sleep loves me. It savours me. Embraces me. Especially when I ought to be studying. So one afternoon when sleep had cast its spell on me, I woke up to find a proverb taped to my forehead. Literally. It said, in my older brother Larnston’s handwriting (and words): “Woe to you that loves sleep, for the wrath of ZIMSEC shall get you.” Thenceforth, sleep and I had to have a more, um, professional relationship! He taped it to my face, I taped the proverb to my wall.
My younger brother too said something profound one day. We had been building castles in the air, filling my house with all sorts of goodies and travelling to all kinds of places, when suddenly a wave of discouragement hit me. No sooner had I verbalised this did Brandon say to me, “You are never too small to dream big.” That shut me up, and I cling on to those words even now.
My mother sent me a text some four years ago that read, “I love you my princess, I’m so proud of you.” If you remember being struck by a heat wave on some random day four years ago, that was me, smiling. I still have that text, and those words ringing in my ears help to hold my head up high and keep going, even when quitting seems to be the only option.
Many, many phrases do I carry in my treasure chest, from relatives, teachers, friends, even from television. I shall not, however, make this installment exceedingly lengthy; there shall be other times. For now let it suffice to say that, among other things, I am a writer, a poet, an artist. I love words. Words are many things. Companions. Warriors. Swords. Daggers. Roses. You have a word. Be careful how you use it.
Finally, there is a phrase I coined, a principle I live by. “If it is to be done, then let it be done well.” I believe in excellence, and that excellence is within everybody’s grasp. Whatever you do, do it well.