As part of the Self-Publishing Africa initiative, today at It’s My Footprint (IMFP) we are joined by Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse (SSM) a writer, voice over artist ,poet and businesswoman whose love for humanitarian issues knows no bounds. She uses her voice to inspire others and spread love to the marginalized society’s .She is passionate about talent development as well as women empowerment.
(IMFP) Welcome Sympathy, and thank you for spending time with use at It’s My Footprint.
(SSM) It’s a great pleasure to be here.
(IMFP) Can you start by giving our followers a brief background of yourself and where you are coming from?
(SSM) I am a woman who loves life, travelling and family. I am the eldest in a family of three girls and a boy. My father trained us (the girls) from a very early age to be independent women who could do anything by ourselves, we were taught to be united and love each other. This healthy family background has really had a positive impact in my life. I was fortunate enough to marry a man whose interests match mine. We love writing; human development and making people achieve their dreams.
(IMFP) Where do you get your ideas from?
(SSM) Life is my greatest inspiration. My ideas come from watching people with a keen interest to understand what they feel, what makes them tick and what exactly makes them who they are.
I am a poet whose talent dates back to my childhood. I look at myself as a multi-talented woman. I love writing from what I observe people going through as well as what I experience.
(IMFP) Why do you write?
(SSM) I love documenting events as they happen so on one hand writing is my legacy to the unborn while on the other hand writing is my therapy and catharsis to let out steam.
(IMFP) What do you find most appealing about your chosen genre?
(SSM) Poetry fits every situation; I love this genre because I can experiment with it in so many ways. For example I have written social poetry, there was a time I wrote poems that were transformed into songs; in my new book I have written Christian poems. I just love poetry so much.
(IMFP) How do you deal with bad reviews, rejection and criticism?
(SSM) I learn from them. Naturally, I get disappointed but I then come back to myself and try to understand what needs to be changed. If it’s just ‘hate talk’ I ignore, but if it’s something I really need to learn, I then change accordingly. Criticism in whatever forms helps our brands to be known. Rejection has never broken me; I keep pushing till I reach my goals.
(IMFP) Sympathy, you surely have developed in your writing. Have you published yet? What are you busy with now in terms of writing?
(SSM) Yes I have two books published in my name. One titled ‘Matters of Life”(2009) and the recent one is a 2 in 1 anthology composed of 2 books ‘On His Bosom vs Celestial Sympathy’. I have also published a book in collaboration with my friend Catherine Magodo-Mutukwa, under my pen name Awande Ngwenya in 2015.
Currently I am busy holding school outreach programmes where I go to schools, hold mentorship talks and donate my book. I am appealing to any authors and well wishers who would like to come on board to get in touch so we can make an impact on the future generation.
(IMFP) What do you find difficult about book writing?
(SSM) When writer’s block hits! I feel so sullen when the inspiration finds a gap to escape. I’m glad for me it never lasts long, there is bound to be something that shakes me back in shape.
(IMFP) What is your opinion on self-publishing vs traditional publishing?
(SSM) Self publishing has provided an opportunity to hear so many voices that would have been choked were they to try traditional publishing. The latter trusts the names it knows yet self publishing brings with it the independence to let everyone’s voice known. We just have to guard against producing half baked cakes (cliché as it may sound), there is discipline to be practiced through getting assistance from professionals.
(IMFP) What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
(SSM) A good reader makes a good writer, so challenge yourself to read widely and train your mind to observe beyond what everyone else sees.
(IMFP) If you could go back in time 12 months, what would you advise yourself?
(SSM) Diaspora based publishers or printers are not always the best. We have talent in Zimbabwe. I would never have wasted money and time trying to get my books printed in the UK.
(IMFP) Who is your favourite author and why?
(SSM)Well…I am a wide reader and have several favourites. I would spend the whole day tring to list them here. Every book gives me a lesson different from the others, I appreciate every author.
(IMFP) Do you do book reviews? What type of books do you review?
(SSM) Yes I do…mostly poetry because it’s the area I’m comfortable with.
(IMFP) Which email lists are you subscribed to?
(IMFP) How do you interact with other authors? Are you a member of a book club?
(SSM) I belong to the writer’s clinic, a brain child of renowned author Phillip Chidavaenzi and also Writers international network Zimbabwe, brainchild of talent developer Beaven Tapureta. These as well as many other social media platforms do the trick.
(IMFP) What types of books do you normally recommend to your friends?
(SSM) I encourage my friends to read widely and we share those books. We love digging out books written in n different styles but more so we love books written by Zimbabweans.
(IMFP) Let’s talk about Sympathy the lady! Give us a bit of your social and family life.
(SSM) I’m a lady who loves life and people. I am also a hopeless romantic whose choice of movies and novels mainly centers on ‘happy endings.’ I am married to a man created just for me; Takemore Mazuruse my perfect mirror. We are journalists, humanitarian workers and we run some businesses together. Some even say we look alike (laughs).
God is the center of my life and I always love to share his promises with the hopeless and downtrodden.
I love being around old people as I have learned that their wisdom is very rich and they have all these funny stories that make me so curious to keep digging about what it was like living in the past. Oh my word, I love travelling! When I travel I always carry my pen, paper and camera to capture everything as it happens.
(SSM) Life is never a rehearsal so live it purposefully.
(IMFP) Many thanks for this interview, Sympathy. Good luck with your writing.
(SSM) It was a pleasure, thank you so much.
Sympathy Sibanda Mazuruse Links and Contacts