Cremation of the Scarecrow by Dzikamayi Chando

Going from reading A Hole in the Air by Lazarus Panashe Nyagwambo to Cremation of the Scarecrow by Dzikamayi Chando has been a real pleasure. I continue to delight in reading the work of Zimbabwean writers that is so rooted in our country. I love knowing exactly what is being spoken of, that spark of recognition in my chest. I think I have found a new vice.


I’ve never read a poetry collection before (not including school-mandated reading) and Chando has officially convinced me that they are more than worth their time. I advise anyone reading this review to purchase Cremation of the Scarecrow and keep it on your person. When you have free moments, pull the book out and read a poem, it’ll give your mind some rich material to mull over.


I have to mention this line from the poem Old April:


“Ma untied the corner of her doek & took out a twenty dollar note,

That old one with an elephant, when money was still money.”


I don’t think a poem has ever made me chuckle before, but this line certainly did. A dark chuckle, equal parts amusement, and dismay because I barely remember the real money with the elephants on it. I didn’t have a chance to really use it because I was just a child in those days.


I highly recommend this poetry collection, and if you’ve never indulged in a collection of poems before, this is an excellent place to start.