Dube quits poetry to focus on personal projects Obert Dube

Valerie Mpundu, Arts Reporter

Victoria Falls-based poet and three-time National Arts Merit Award winner Obert Dube is quitting poetry to focus on humanitarian work and other personal ventures.

A philanthropist, Dube has won the Amaqhawanentaba Music Awards three times, Bulawayo Arts Awards two times, SATMA once, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa award not once, but four times.

In an interview, Dube said; “I can’t say I am tired, but I want to focus more on some of my projects. Poetry is not paying, that is another major setback.

“I am retiring, but I aim to restore the legacy of poetry by resuscitating and revamping it. The art has so many people who love it, yet no one supports it.

“I want to change that trajectory now and beyond.”

Dube narrated how he was proud to be born and bred in Dandanda Ward, Mthenjwa Village.

“I was born and bred in Lupane District Dandanda Ward, Mtenjwa Village, Mazakhela homestead. I grew up there and left home when I was 19.”

Dube attended Kenyandavu Primary School and proceeded to Secondary School for O Levels and Mosi oa Tunya High School for his A-level studies. He grew up singing imbube/isicathamiya after being inspired by South African group  Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

He later developed a passion for poetry, emulating South African artists.

“I started emulating South African Maskandi musicians. Something was intriguing about the late Bhekumuzi Luthuli’s performance that resonated with me. That’s how I picked poetry,”

Dube said the awards he had won were proof that he would leave a legacy on the Zimbabwean poetry scene.

Focusing on inclusivity, Dube has transitioned from focusing more on Matabeleland to African issues, to addressing the world at large as his target audience.

He reckons there is still ground to be covered in poetry but,  however, urged people to pay attention and understand it.

“There are few poets and few people who support it. Just like every other poet, the support is minimal. I am encouraging people to explore poetry and understand it as it carries it is educational and informatiive.”

Dube, who is also as an author, is a cultural activist involved in various research projects. He also supports a campaign to provide sanitary wear for disadvantaged schoolgirls.

“I want to help reduce school drop outs, absenteeism, and low pass rates. I want to empower the future generation who will carry on the torch and light the path towards nation-building by creating an avenue for team players locally and regionally,” he said.

The artiste who recently celebrated his birthday took to social media to humorously interact with his fans.

“I forgot a special announcement guys for my birthday, presents such as anointing oil, EcoCash, ZiG, US, pounds, euro, rand, kwacha, pula, stationery, livestock, and many more, I take,” he posted.

Art might not be the main tourist attraction in Victoria Falls, but it is not generating as much as it should.

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