Meet The Healer Poet Tirivashe Marandure
Tirivashe Marandure is a Zimbabwean writer, published author, poet, photographer, and an MD with a focus on sports and exercise medicine.
Who are the rocks in your life?
My wife and a few close friends. My sister and my mother too. They’ve really kept me grounded this whole pandemic. It’s not surprising to feel like this pandemic has been my whole life.
Where did your passion for writing come from?
It’s been there for a long time. I had a teacher in high school, we used to call her Miss B, she did a lot to encourage me to write a bit here and there and got me to do English Literature even though I was doing sciences in O Level. Eventually writing became a way to work through a lot of emotions I was experiencing but couldn’t really talk about.
B.ridge Over Waters was inspired by the relationship I have with my now wife. She came into my life after a bit of a shaky period, and she brought with her a new understanding and experience of love. So that book tells a story of the end of one stage and the transition into that better, truer love experience.
Scar Tissue is a vocalisation of a lot of hurts that have lingered beneath my surface over the years. Most of it being the grief and the handling thereof surrounding my father’s death and other heartache along the way. It was also inspired by some stories about sexual assaults shared with me by people I know.
How would you like people to feel when they read your work?
Where intended I want to inspire hope in the presence and abundance of love in the world we encounter. I also want people to read the heavier stuff and relate to it and be comfortable with that heaviness. Especially men. Comfortable enough to know that they are never alone with the different things they carry, the stuff they’re reluctant to put down, and to know that sharing that weight lightens the journey of living.
Where did your passion for photography come from?
It was always there really, but I only started consciously building on this natural desire to capture moments in 2016 when I got a Nikon DSLR and started taking photos of the world around me. So, I started with street photography and then my then classmate accepted my invitation to be my model for a studio shoot and then there I got hooked on portrait photography and I’ve just been shooting since.
What would you say sets you apart from other photographers out there?
I’ve been told I have an eye for detail. The small things matter to me and I feel like I spend a lot of time on a set of photos to make sure they appear as I envisioned them when I clicked the shutter button. This is a passion for me, so I’m meticulous.
What is your process when writing?
My process is to just start. I blog things in the moment. But lately my approach has been to sit with a project and the motions within me that align with the message I’m trying to put across, and to write from that mental place. So, I’ll prepare prompts that come to mind and organise them according to the project I feel it contributes to and when I’m mentally in that headspace I’ll go back to the prompt and flesh it out. I want my writing to tell a story.
How important has been your writing to your mental health?
Essential. In this pandemic and with being a frontline worker I have really struggled with loss and the constant reminder of my mortality. Writing has been a way to organise my feelings and thoughts into something I can understand and process. I laid a lot of my own trauma, so to speak, in my second book Scar Tissue. And that’s helped me face myself.
What is your favourite thing about writing and what is your worst?
Favourite thing – is how easy it is to put words together into something that can touch someone when you’re in the zone. Worst thing – is how hard it can be sometimes to find those words. And trying to avoid “over sharing” – feeling like you’ve betrayed a weakness in your writing.
Who are your favourite writers, and which work of theirs do you enjoy the most?
Taiye Selasi immediately comes to mind. ‘Ghana Must Go’ was such a layered story, it’s been hard to forget. Kopano Matlwa’s books and how she ties stories together are also high on the list for me. Other writers include Chigozie Obioma through ‘The Fishermen’, Yaa Gyasi with ‘Homegoing’. The raw storytelling of Jackie Phamotse. So many others. Writers are readers.
What are the top 5 songs in your playlist right now?
Craters – Channtae Cann & PJ Morton
Mountains – Sean C Johnson
Be ok – Samhot
Free mind – Tems
Don’t forget to breathe – Stormzy
What are you most fond of about being Zimbabwean?
Always the people. There’s just something that clicks when I get to speak with or interact with Zimbabweans across different mediums, and even in person. It feels like coming home, belonging. Especially important now that home/Zim isn’t always something you can go back to.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do more of what you enjoy and put yourself out there.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who tried in the face of everything that was happening. There’s so much going on behind the scenes of my life, like with everyone else, and I’m still working towards my idea of a beautiful life. And I hope with every ounce of talent and service I have, to touch as many lives as I possibly can.
I’m @thehealerpoet on all my social media and https://linktr.ee/thehealerpoet
has links to everything from my books to my YouTube channel.
Thank you for reading, please browse through the blog for more interviews.