Ethel Irene Kabwato is a mother, teacher and writer. In 2004-05, she participated in the Crossing Borders Project, an online mentoring project with Lancaster University and the British Council. She has been invited to read her work at the Hay Festival, UK and institutions such as Rhodes University and University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She was also a guest of ‘Cinema without Borders’ at the Amnesty International Film Festival, Amsterdam in 2008. Currently, she is working in a project called Slum Cinema, a voluntary initiative that seeks to empower disadvantaged communities through multi-media work. Her inspiration is derived from her two daughters, Nadia and Wynona.
Kabwato was born in Mutare near Zimbabwe’s eastern border with Mozambique. She comes from a creative family with most of her siblings involved in some way or other with the fine arts. She attended secondary school at Mutare Girls High, where she won several prizes for her prose writing and poetry. Later she enrolled at Hillside Teachers College in the city of Bulawayo where she obtained a teaching diploma with English and History majors. Significantly, Hillside is the college that was also attended by Yvonne Vera and Nancy Mahachi-Harper.
Ethel is a founding member of the Zimbabwe Women Writers (Mutare branch) and is still an active member of the association. She is also a member of the Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe.
Always keen to upgrade the quality of her writing, Ethel was a participant in the British Council’s Crossing Borders Writing Project (Zimbabwe) during which she worked on an anthology of poems. She also works as a freelance, part-time creative writing consultant and regularly takes part the Book Cafe Flame Project for the promotion of women poets. Currently she is reading a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Studies with Zimbabwe Open University.
For Ethel, poetry is a soul-searching exercise. Her interrogation of poetry as a literary genre allows her to explore and to depict personal experiences imaginatively and with reflective depth and she finds this invigorating. Her two daughters, Wynona and Nadia, also provide a constant source of inspiration to her.
‘The Breadwinner’ in Writing Now ed. Irene Staunton, Weaver Press, Harare, 2005
‘Remember me’ in Light a Candle ed. Erisina Hwebe, Zimbabwe Women Writers, Harare, 2006
‘Time to let go’ in Creatures Great and Small ed. Jairos Gonye, Mambo Press, Gweru, 2006