Literature and the Battle against Covid-19 in Zimbabwe: A Study of Flight Mlambo’s Digital Verse




Covid-19, digital poetry, Zimbabwe, ChiNdau, coronavirus, pandemic, existence-as-war theory


This article evaluates the contribution of digital literature in the struggle against the novel coronavirus contagion, focusing on Flight Rufaro Mlambo’s poetry of ChiNdau and English expression. Since the outbreak of the disease in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in November 2019, and its declaration as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020, various efforts to combat the disease have been implemented at global, regional, national and institutional levels. Notable in this struggle has been the use of cyberspace to complement other non-digital fronts in fighting the seemingly elusive pathogen. Written texts, audio recordings, songs, drama and verse videos are among the multiple artistic forms posted online as anti-Covid-19 weaponry. Employing the “existence-as-war” theory, Mlambo’s verse is evaluated against this context in which the efforts to suppress the virus are theoretically interpreted in real war terms. The war’s antagonists pit governments and all local, regional and international partners on one hand and the virus, sceptics and denialists on the other. The article seeks to answer the following question: To what extent does Zimbabwe’s anti-Covid-19 digital literature serve as effective weaponry against the stubbornly mutating lethal virus?


Hierdie artikel evalueer die bydrae van digitale literatuur in die stryd teen die nuwe aansteeklike siekte, die coronavirus, met die fokus op Flight Rufaro Mlambo se digkuns van ChiNdau en Engelse uitdrukking. Sedert die siekte in November 2019 in die stad Wuhan in die Hubei-provinsie van China uitgebreek het, en die Wêreldgesondheidsorganisasie (WGO) dit op 11 Maart 2020 as ’n pandemie verklaar het, word verskeie pogings op globale, streeks-, nasionale en institusionele vlakke aangewend om die siekte hok te slaan. Die gebruik van die kuberruimte om ander, nie-digitale fronte aan te vul om hierdie skynbaar ontwykende patogeen te beveg, is opvallend. Geskrewe tekste, oudio-opnames, liedjies, drama- en versvideo’s is van die vele kunsvorme wat aanlyn geplaas word as wapens teen Covid-19. Die “bestaan-as-oorlog”-teorie word toegepas om Mlambo se poësie te evalueer aan die hand van hierdie konteks waarbinne die pogings om die virus te onderdruk, teoreties geïnterpreteer word in werklike oorlogsterme. Die oorlog se antagoniste durf regerings en alle plaaslike, streeks- en internasionale vennote aan die een kant aan, en die virus, skeptici en ontkenners aan die ander kant. Die artikel poog om die volgende vraag te beantwoord: In watter mate dien Zimbabwe se digitale literatuur teen Covid-19 as doeltreffende bewapening teen die dodelike virus wat onversetlik muteer?


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How to Cite

Musiyiwa, M. (2022). Literature and the Battle against Covid-19 in Zimbabwe: A Study of Flight Mlambo’s Digital Verse. Journal of Literary Studies, 38(1), 17 pages.