Bulawayo based spoken word artist, writer and singer Chioniso was recently crowned first runner up at the 65th edition of Grand Slam Africa which was held on the 22nd of January 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Poetry Slam Africa, curated by Cre8ive Spills has been the forerunner since 2008, in providing performance poets a platform to showcase and express their art while nurturing a deep love for the growth of the spoken word craft on the continent.
Poets are availed the opportunity to share conscious works that cover a range of social issues and explore depth of emotion through raw talent. It’s through Poetry Slam Africa’s initiative that Chioniso was shortlisted for the Slam final after a successful preliminary audition held virtually in June of 2021. The final consisting of six guest poets and twelve slammers, infused with musical performances from various talents, was held at the Kenya Cultural Conference Centre.
This was preceded by a poetry workshop held the day before, outside of Nairobi, in the quiet, scenic town of Naivasha where the poets were given the chance to interact with and learn from each other, under the supervision of seasoned professionals during a one night stay at a guest resort.
Ema DeJesus from Mozambique and Chioniso, were the only non Kenyan slammers respectively with Ema only being able to participate virtually. The Grand Slam consisted of three rounds. The final round left five poets in the running for the title, Enigma Kreative, Muthoni ni Mimi, Nyash, Chioniso and Slim Shaka. With a cumulative score of 29, 73 points Chioniso was just 0.11 points shy of this year’s slam title winner Slim Shaka.
Previously, Chioniso has performed at the European Union Film Festival in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe as well as The PiChani; a Pan African lifestyle and networking event curated by Paperbagafrica. She was shortlisted for The Intwasa Short Story Competition in 2021 and placed third out of the five prize winners.
Her work has appeared in Isele Magazine, Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review, Doit4thekidz Magazine and Litro Magazine. Brittle Paper, a renowned African Literary Magazine featured her as their November Spotlight Artist of 2021 and called her poem “I Want to Fall Apart Quietly.” a breath of fresh air.