17-year-old writer to publish collection of poems


By Romeo Umali

A 17-year-old writer plans to publish a collection of poems on the theme of gender-based violence.

Lilongwe based writer, Bertha Chimphonda, has announced that she will be releasing a book titled “Walking on thorns”, containing short poems that articulate acts of gender-based violence women face in the country.

The collection has twenty-six poems, four of which tackle what she went through at her tender age.

In an interview Bertha said: “I was driven by the pain I feel when I see people abusing females. I am one of them and I have experienced it so I thought of using my poems to help females and kids out there struggling in silence to find relief from their pain.”

She added that the malpractice draws from cultural values that soft pedal women, creating a panic situation for them to speak out.

“The cultural advantages the society gives to men, they often misuse that,” said Bertha.

The first stanza of Helpless broken heart, one of the poems in “Walking in thorns” says:

“It breaks our hearts

to not be granted a voice

to air out what break our hearts

Our temples are vulnerable

A pain that burns like fire in our shattered pieces”.

Other poems include Don’t force me, A different type of sweat, The beginning, Changes and Chocked.

According to Bertha, her team is working tirelessly to identify a donor and has already written proposals to organisations, looking for help.

She expressed hope that she will get sponsorship to publish the book.

This will be Bertha’s first book since she started writing in 2018.