Breaking the bias- The publisher and author

Who is Samantha Rumbidzai Vazhure?

I am a bilingual author, poet, editor and publisher. Outside of writing & literature, I work in the legal profession as a regulatory consultant.

I’m from Masvingo in Zimbabwe and I live in Wales with my husband and two children.

When did you know that there was a budding author in you?

I don’t think I ever knew there was a budding author in me until I started writing for fun. I had always written from when I was in school where I won a provincial prize for an essay competition, I wrote for the school magazine and drama club; then went on to write in the legal profession – reports, agreements, training content, policies and procedures, reviewing and approving other people’s written work.

I started writing poetry and prose more seriously around 2018 – 2019 as a cathartic process, until I showed my work to other writers, and they encouraged me to publish. Perhaps it was when I held my first book in June 2020 that I began to believe I was an author.

What has your experience as a Zimbabwean writer living in the Diaspora taught you?

It’s quite important to establish who you are, then decide who you’re writing for and why.

Being uprooted from home is part of the Zimbabwean history. It is our reality, and we need to embrace and accept it so that we can begin to heal from the traumas associated with the dispersion. I write to record this history and to heal from it.

How have you managed to advocate and raise awareness for different issues in your work?

Through stories in my poetry, novels and short stories and through amplifying the voices of others who’s works I’ve published, I have advocated:

• human equality, diversity and inclusion
• rights of women and children
• rights and welfare of immigrants
• mental health
• preservation of vernacular languages

I am raising awareness of:
• abuse and gender-based violence
• bullying and its effects

I am also empowering those weakened by:
• abuse and inequality
• static cultural and manipulative religious beliefs and practices
• systems designed to further the dominant ideology of patriarchy

I also see myself as a literary advocate who is paving the way for upcoming Zimbabwean writers. This will hopefully expand the reading culture in Zimbabwe, and readers can participate in such advocacy through buying books by non-mainstream authors.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

The matters I advocate inspire my writing.

Being at one with nature gets my creative juices flowing.

Being conscious of death is probably one of my biggest drivers. It keeps fresh my awareness that our time in this world is finite and helps to clarify my purpose, priorities and values.

How did Carnelian Heart Publishing come into existence?

I established Carnelian Heart to publish my own work in the first instance. Then I decided to use the organisation to drive my advocacy work through the publication of anthologies. Now, my doors are open to individual writers who would like their work published.

What are some of the lessons that you have learnt during the journey of establishing your publishing company?

To be patient and to never take communication for granted.

What can be done to improve the reading culture in Africa.

Authors need to write authentic stories so that Africans can read more about what resonates with them. Books by African authors need to be made available not only in bookstores, but in schools and libraries. And most importantly, children must be encouraged to read for fun.

Any advice to a female creative who is doubting her craft?

Be shamelessly intentional and your intentions must be aligned with your actions. Do whatever it takes to bring yourself in balance, because that is the only way creativity will flow through you. Eat well, exercise, meditate, don’t self-sabotage and be authentic in your creations.

Most importantly, do not fear judgement. No one is perfect and it’s ok if not everyone appreciates your art. But, there will always be someone who appreciates your craft.

Published by tcndangana

The girl with an overactive imagination

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