Poetry as an art form predates literacy. In preliterate societies poetry was frequently employed as a means of recording oral history, storytelling and other forms of expression that modern societies would expect to be handled in prose. Young Tanaka Ects Chuma has managed to take this old art form and give it a modern twist through his use of carefully weaved Shona verses and modern musical beats, and he always ensures that his poetry carries in it a positive message. I got the opportunity to have a conversation with him.
J.J; Tells us a little bit about yourself. Who is Tanaka Ects Chuma?
Ects; Tanaka Effort Chuma, was born and raised in Marondera went to Ruware Primary School and did his O’level at Cherutombo, then went to Harare Polytechnic.
J.J; When did you start doing spoken word? And what drew you to spoken word given the many art forms out there?
Ects; I started writing in 2012 when I was in form 3, then I started performing in 2014 at Book Cafe when it was still open. I started writing poetry as a way of escaping my emotions.
J.J; What inspires Tanaka Ects Chuma. What makes you pick up the pen and start writing?
Ects; My inspiration is from the old me, life itself and everything that surrounds it. Inspiration “inobva yaibva kumakomo nenzizi nezvinofema zvakatitenderedza chedu kubatanidza mashoko kunge zbc” so in a nutshell inspiration comes from life.
J.J; In starting out what where some of the challenges you faced?
Ects; When I started performing my biggest challenge was trying to make my parents understand me. It’s hard being an artist and coming from parents that believe in academics. I am glad they understand me well now.
J.J; You were once a part of the Starbrite talent search how was that experience for you. What sort of impact did it have on you? What key takeaways did you leave with?
Ects; Starbrite was a very good experience, that was my early experience rising as a spoken word artist. It moulded my character, stage presence and who I am, I appreciate the time I had at Starbrite.
J.J; You recently got a special mention from NAMA. What was your reaction to that mention? And has that special mention opened any doors for you?
Ects; When I got the news, I wasn’t aware I had gotten a special mention I had to confirm online. I did not even know what special mention meant considering this year’s NAMA’s only has 3 special mentions. So far I have been linked to some deals because of this special mention and I am glad because this was my 1st album and I already have a special mention from the NAMA’s, we don’t know what my second album is going to bring. So I am grateful it’s all God’s plan.
J.J; In 2018 you released your debut project Ndabuda mugaba how was that journey for you. From writing, recording to releasing the album?
Ects; The experience of Ndabuda Mugaba was adventurous. We spent a lot of time in the studio we even slept there sometimes. We didn’t have a studio at the time so we would hire it for a day or a weekend it was real adventure. It was so adventurous to the point where when people compliment you that you worked you don’t see it that way.
J.J; What do you have lined up for 2019?
Ects; 2019 I have a lot of projects coming up. I also have a solo show coming up called Ndochoko Neshoko which is taking place on the 28th of April in Harare at Eastpoint.
J.J What are some of the plans you have for the future? In which direction do you want to take your artistry?
Ects; Ects is here to build a legacy, a sound, to give what people have been missing. I believe I have something that the world is missing. I have been working on the foundation, 3 to 4 years from now my legacy will have a picture. There will be another picture of black excellency.
J.J; What words of encouragement do you have for young people out there who have dreams that they haven’t realized?
Ects; The best advice I can give to young people is go get it. If it is life to you as it is life to me then you can achieve it. If they have done it, they are human and you are human you can do it as well. So don’t sleep on your dream wake and work.
You can follow and or get in touch with Tanaka Ects Chuma on his social media pages;
Facebook; Tanaka Ects Chuma