A moment with The Word Weaver: Nathan Chinake

A moment with The Word Weaver: Nathan Chinake

The process of self-discovery rides on the initial idea of your childhood dream. What you wanted to become when you grew older. Collating every passion, preference and strength are steps forward towards building a firm foundation of the person you were created to be.

For some it is not a walk in the park but worth the adventure when you can finally do the work you love and be rewarded for it. One’s purpose and passion may sometimes seem like worlds apart. Therefore, with time it can be neatly inter-twined to become a completely perfect brand initiating positive change and bringing great impact on people’s lives.

From the first moment I met Nathan, at a poetry contest, I was convinced that he possessed a deep understanding of life. When I learnt that he is studying Law at Midlands State University, I became more curious about him being a writer, poet and lawyer. At the end of the day his performance stood out and he came first place in the contest. To that effect he was awarded this interesting and detailed interview.

Nathan said his artistic journey was a little different since he initially had no interest in poetry.

“I would listen to poems and not pay much attention to detail or the messages they carried, I would only pay attention to the articulation. It was around four years ago when l actually started loving poetry, when l had discovered its power and what one can actually accomplish through poetry and l learnt from that experience. If l am to be honest, my first poem was a piece about love. I think l was still naïve, you know how everyone starts thinking they are Shakespeare when they write their first piece. So at first l wrote three love poems, which l would be lying if l say I actually knew the meaning of the things l wrote about.

“I wasn’t always in love with poetry, at first l was just more into speeches and all public speaking related things, in fact l hated poetry. I used to think or rather believe poetry is all complicated, all about making sure your sentences rhyme and they carry strong vocabulary and all until l started paying attention to it. I then realized that poetry was not as complicated as l would put it, it was actually the best way to express myself. I was able to put out the big issues on the table, issues that most people barely talk about,” he said.

Nathan added he rediscovered himself to find out where his passion was.

“Maybe one day l will show you the most embarrassing stage of my poetry journey, but what l can say is that it was not what l was really passionate about. You know how every poet has their own place in terms of the themes that work for them, love wasn’t mine so l had to rediscover what l was actually passionate about, what it is that drove me, what got me out of bed every morning and the things l wanted to see different. So with time l rediscovered myself and started following that path,” said Nathan.

Nathan’s writing grew because of his love for politics. He is convinced that the youth have not been given the platform that they deserve in the political arena, they have been side-lined in the decision making process. This pushed him to inspiration on use of poetry to voice out concerns, to be part of the movement and to try and bring visibility to the most ignored issues. So, current events and the social issues, issues of political unrest, youth advocacy, redefining women, matters of climate change and environmental disasters, humanitarian crisis, issues of crimes, poverty, homelessness and educational issues inspire his writing.

“These are all issues that most people turn a deaf ear to and they do not realize the impact that these issues have on our communities and they do not realize that all these are political in their own different ways. So I wanted to be part of the civil rights movement and make a difference, if not much but at least by an inch, to be to someone what no one was to me and to make waves. I know some people consider every nerd to be boring, but l know I’m not. Sometimes my friends even call me a walking contradiction. I have always been a lover of reading, it can be a novel or any random book for as long as it has themes that align with my goals. I am always ready to learn new things.”

Nathan is a passionate and young self-driven individual who was born and raised in Gweru who is aware that he hasn’t reached his final potential. He is a trained Child Human Rights defender under New Hope Foundation, a child Human Rights individual under the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and has been part of great movements such as the World Youth Forum, the National Association of Youth Organization, Saywhat, Fight in Inequality Zimbabwe, and Hibiscus Dotage among other great movements.

Every individual was created for a specific purpose and with it a message of the moment. The Word Weaver’s message is that of:

“Hope, love and loss, setbacks and glorious comebacks, a message of change. My themes are around civil rights women emancipation, social change, environmental issues and motivation. The greatest thing that l seek to achieve is to see positive change even if it’s by an inch. I always show it in each of my poems that matters of human rights, of youth advocacy, of the freedom of women are not matter to take lightly. There are matters that need everyone’s hands on deck to rebuild all that has been burnt down especially in our justice legal system.”

Tomorrow is not promised but we can’t help it but dream of a fulfilled goals. Who knows what we will be in five years? No one. But we plan the possibilities of the future.

Nathan added that: “I see myself in a place where l can be able to make far greater change that am right now. A place of hope to those people out there that feel like they have no hope, a place where l can be able to bring visibility to the most vulnerable, to bring freedom to the people in our cities who those who are not given a choice and a place where l can be able to amplify the voice of those that dare use their voice. Life is unpredictable so l can’t say where exactly but l know it’s a place of change because that’s all l live for, it’s what l hope to accomplish and to instil in other people out there.”

When I asked Nathan whether it is easy for him to link creativity and his studies, he said:

“I find it very easy to link the two, I think it’s because the two are largely related. Most of my poetry work is all on advocacy so it aligns with my field of study in every way. Another thing is that both these fields require careful analysis, attention to detail and a strong command of language and poetry on its own explores concepts of justice and morality through metaphors, through symbolism and all. So you’d get to realize that while l am in the middle of my studies l can have the craziest ideas of a poetry piece, it might come from anger formed by a flaw in the legal system or l can get the inspiration when I’m on case law. So I’d say l get most of my poetry ideas when I’m actually in the middle of my studies.”

The word weaver’s greatest inspiration and role model is his mother and the second is Amanda Gorman.

“With my mother l think it’s always been because of how much she’s a driving force, she’s one person who will not back down from any challenge. She knows what she wants and she will always make sure she gets it. All the principles that l carry are from her. Her nurturing and constant reminders to stay true to myself and my goals. She always believes in me even when l didn’t believe in myself. Hence, when it comes to Amanda Gorman l think it’s because she is a talented and accomplished poet, the first ever youth poet Laureate in the United States. Her ground breaking titles are accompanied by the fact that she is a strong advocate for social justice and her work has managed to inspire people around the world because of her inspirational story of a girl who battled her way through speech impediment to becoming one of the best poets.”

Some principles that l live by include honesty, integrity, compassion, and gratitude. To me it means being truthful, keeping my word, and treating others with kindness and respect. Honesty to me encompasses being truthful to myself as well as to others and having the courage to speak up when l see something that is wrong. I take Integrity as acting according to my values, even when it’s difficult. Compassion and gratitude are all about having empathy for others and trying to see things from their perspective. It’s about appreciating the good things in life and being thankful for what l have. However, above all l am a go getter, whenever l see an opportunity l take it and l run with it, l make sure l do everything with every fibre in my being so as to provide results that are pleasing to me more than to anyone else.

The economic environment in the country is not favourable to the graduates due to increasing levels of unemployment. Many people question the need of having a qualification if they cannot earn a living or at least live a fulfilling life. It is my thought that a degree on the wall gives a sense of accomplishment to its holder. However, Nathan feels that a qualification would provide a source of income and financial security and it gives a sense of identity and purpose. It also allows one to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

Nathan said after his law degree he is prepared to study psychology because he had always been fascinated by the human mind, how it functions, why we do the things that we do and everything around it.

Above all, it’s important to celebrate every single one of your successes. By taking care of yourself and setting realistic goals, you can stay motivated and make progress in your life goals. One shouldn’t also forget to have fun. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so make sure to fill yours with things that bring you joy.

Nathan believes that having a good support system is crucial for any artist’s success and creativity. Fortunately, his friends and family provide feedback on his work, offers encouragement, and helps to keep him motivated. They provide a sounding board for ideas and help him to stay grounded. Being part of a community of poets; whether a local group or an online community, can be incredibly beneficial. These people offer valuable feedback, critique and encouragement.

“In some cases, mentors can offer one-on-one guidance and support. It is a great privilege when you have been in an environment that has not exposed you to the world of art. Mentors help you with your steps and l feel it’s always good when you find one who actually understands the demons of your passion. I was privileged to have a great mentor myself and Kudakwashe Chetse has been there to guide me, to find my voice. You know how you can always have the talent or the passion but you need something to ignite it or you need one person to give you that final push. I felt like l was like a young bird, comfortable in my naive state and he came at the right time, gave me that push that l needed and made sure l knew how to flap my wings and stand on my own feet.”

Lingiwe Gumbo

Lingiwe Patience Gumbo aka Miss PatienceZw is an Administrative Secretary by profession and a creative artist: singer-songwriter, poet, writer and voice over artist. She is the Arts & Entertainment Columnist for My Afrika Magazine.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *