INDEPENDENCE(Nyasha Mapuvire)

(1)Critically analyse the following poem
‘INDEPENDENCE’ written by Nyasha
Mapuvire extracted from the book ‘The
Return From Exile Poems & Other
Stories’ by Wilson Chipangura paying
particular attention to form and

Hopes still saturated in the sky,
Rats and beasts eager to endure,
The wit-wit of the lions.
And what came next?
They had toiled days and nights,
Struggling to attain their free jungle.
On success,it had been in vain,
Their hopes were shattered,instead,
They had excerbated their burdens,
Voices no longer existed,silence being
A small squeak attracted a guillotine.
Lions fighting each other.
In the end mourning,regret,starvation
and suffering.
So what was the use of fighting at all?

POET: Nyasha Mapuvire is an 18
years author-cum-poet and is currently
in Sanyati, Zimbabwe.
The above poem was extracted from
the book ‘The Return From Exile
Poems & Other Stories’ by Wilson
Chipangura and is due for publish


The poem “Independence” by Nyasha Mapuvire is most probably about the events and the actions taken by liberators in an effort to win their freedom or uhuru.

To begin with, the poem which qualifies to be a sonnet points out to the theme of despair.
This is well elaborated in the sonnet “Hopes still saturated in the sky” which clearly shows that hope has been lost by the people who are trying to persue their way to a free society. The poem is a reminscent of the liberation struggles in Africa during the era of colonial rule by the white settlers.

In addition, “rats and beasts eager to endure” might imply survival of the fittest or jingoism. The theme of jingoism is portrayed through the fact that those deemed ‘weak’ and those seen as ‘physically’ strong all are ready to fight for a cause for their own survival and are ready to tussle the repression of the authorities that be “the lions” even though the lion is considered ‘the king or ruler of the jungle’

Furthermore, the struggle for a way out of tyranny seems illusive. As much as the readers would have thought that the fighters have only taken to fight for their grievances only, they would be bemused to see that the situation does not end there but spills over to ‘blooding and sweating’. Thus the use of the rhetoric question “And what came next?” invites the reader to think of the brutality of the struggle for ‘Uhuru’ by the gallant warriors or fighters while at the same time it brings desparation in the consciousness of the reader, hence, in this case one feels sad towards the toiling or suffering freedom seekers.
Thus the poet’s tone is a dull and angry one to the repressive measures taken by the imperialists or faced by the freedom seekers.

The first six lines which are called sestev thus shows the direction of the poem and gives a hint of what the poet thinks about his theme which in this case might be that the struggle for independence is not a “free ticket to the moon by a rocket” but ‘a journey to the sun aboard a witch’s broom stick’.

After the sestev there is a volta which is a point where the poet diverts his attention from the issues aforementioned to new ideas and thus the pace of the poem is accelerated.

The octave(last 8 lines) brings out the issue of success and hope being illusive or being a mirage that is they appear to be there when actually they do not exist.Thus the diction “shattered” and “exacerbated” might imply to be acting as metaphors that is they are showing the loss of hope for the attainment of independence in a more ‘harsh’ thus arousing feelings of anger and a sombre tone.

Moreover, the attainment of independence might not be the enjoyment of freedom of speech as is true of many countries be it former colonies or imperial. As a result this has caused people to be prone to brutal and unruthless measures once they try to utter their own point of view or their resentment thus “A small squeak attracted a guillotine”. An image of a guillotine is therefore pictured and this has an effect on the reader to bear with the poet on the situation under discussion and in this case that is brutality of nationals by nationals “lions fighting against each other” after defeat of the infiltrating external enemy thus raising an issue of questioning the reason for staging the armed struggle at the very onset.

“Guillotine” also might act as an historical allusion as the reader also recollects memories of its brutality in the French state during the years of the National Convention ,Jacobin Terror or the Reign of Terror which where all the brain child of the one Maximilien-Jacques Robespierre and therefore this evokes or arouse feelings of anger over the brutal purging of countrymen for voicing certain aspects of the rule of law.

In a postmortem review, the sonnet “Independence” by Nyasha Mapuvire is probably an ‘allegory’ of the events in erstwhile colonial countries where the intepretation of the word freedom or independence during imperialism and after de-colonisation seems to points towards despair and hence stalemate.

Wilson Chipangura is a versatile
character who is of no fixed aboard but
currently is attached in Sanyati.
He can be contacted via: or
twitter: @wils_chipangura
Instagram: @wilsonchipangura
Facebook page: Wilson Chipangura Online


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