Cosmas Mairosi
(Mudzi, 1977)   
Cosmas Mairosi

I was born Cosmas Mairosi on 8th February, 1977 in Mudzi. My parents divorced when I was six and my father died when I was seven. I was raised in the custody of an uncle, my father’s brother, who lived in Rusape.  I went to Chinhenga Primary School from 1984-89. Then I went to Tsikada Secondary School from 1990-93. In 2000 I graduated from Seke Teachers’ College with a diploma in primary school teaching and received a distinction in English.

I have always been a victim of tragedy. My uncle died when I was in Form 2, so I finished school in the custody of my widowed aunt. I have now been teaching for seven years but the financial returns have been so low that I have not been able to do anything for my aunt and mother. This provides the root of my protest poetry. I have, however, also had occasion to write praise poems.

My father was a wood-carver. I see myself as a word-carver. My first experience of poetry was at primary school when a senior boy, Linos Mashongera, used to recite a poem ‘Father, I Have a Gun of Iron’ whenever we were gathered together for an event. I was also an avid follower of Paul Matavire. I would recite his dub-poetry while herding cattle or working in the fields. I wrote my first poem when I was in Form 3 and presented it at assembly. One of my teachers, Mr Ndati, exclaimed “here is a small Ngugi”. The poem, in fact, was a collage of plagiarised phrases taken from novels and plastered together to make sense. From time to time my teachers would ask me to prepare poems for forthcoming events at school.

In college I was much loved by my principal, Mr Munodawafa, who awarded me with a Certificate of Recognition in Arts. I read my poems at assembly and also pasted them on the bulletin board for others to read.

I have written over 150 poems. Some of them have been published in local magazines. I perform some of my poems at public gatherings of social, academic and cultural nature. I have appeared on ZBC-TV and Radio, BBC-TV and Radio. I have been performing at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair since 2003. This year I performed at the HIFA-Spoken Word programme. In September 2003, I scooped second prize in a Sunday Mail Magazine Poetry Competition. In April 2007 I won first prize in the House of Hunger Poetry Slam at the Book Cafe.

I have taught my pupils performance poetry and they have caught onto it like fire. Through the Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe I have managed to attend workshops on writing. I write poems, short stories, biographies and playscripts for my pupils. I am also a dance trainer and chess master.

© Cosmas Mairosi


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