Interviews — July 15
Addicted to the feeling of feelings: Interview with Thabani Tshuma
What does your name
Thabani means “be happy”.
What makes you happy?
Connecting with people. I enjoy consuming art in all its
forms. Art is one of the most connective things in which we can participate.
What made you leave
Zimbabwe and come to Melbourne? Is Melbourne home now or is there more to your
I left to study in the US and South Africa and finally Melbourne
because I have family here. I just thought it would be beaches and people in
swimsuits all day but had a rude awakening!
There is so much more to the journey. The project I’m working
on now is about the sense of identity displacement. Even in Zimbabwe, I was not
culturally accepted because I went to a lot of “white” schools. I’m still
searching for a sense of belonging.
Do you know what this
place looks like?
No, that’s why it’s so hard to find. But it’s not about the
finding, it’s about the journey towards finding. In fact, I’m content to
continuously search and not find it because it’s in the search that the most
meaningful interactions are to be found.
You’re a Wheeler
Centre Hot Desk Fellow. What that does mean to you?
It is a great opportunity. Connecting to other writers and becoming
a part of the literary world – that is the most valuable aspect. The biggest
growth for me is the discipline – working on one full body of work thematically
linked, where the content needs coherent narrative. I’m usually very sporadic
and volatile in writing, so it’s been an interesting challenge to get into the
frame of mind where I’m still authentically expressing myself but it’s a
controlled expressing. Not writing to the feeling, but bringing the feeling and
writing to it.
You’re part of the Slamalamadingong
National Poetry Slam Team. How do you feel and what are you expecting at the
A lot of poetry! It’s great to see people workin