Britomart is proud to present new poetry all over the precinct to celebrate the Auckland Writers Festival Waituhi o Tāmaki, rendered in posters by Inhouse Design. The posters are presented as text fragments, but you can read each work in full here on our website. This one is A Missionary Falls in Love with a Coloniser by Takunda Muzvondiwa. 

A Missionary Falls in Love with a Coloniser


The year is 1888

In the Republic of Zimbabwe 

Where a missionary 

Falls in love with a coloniser 

So, they bind themselves in holy matrimony 

Vowing to evangelise a colonial testimony 

To leave this motherland baptised neck-deep in holy water

And I wonder 

If their first daughter is



And Christian

What values will they teach her to stand on? 

Which parts of herself will they teach her to spit damnation on?   

And they say love is blind 

So when this little girl 

Decides to paint on the walls for the first time

I imagine they’ll make a woman out of her 

Tell her

Get on her knees and getting to scrubbing

Tell her to turn all that Picasso into peroxide 

Erase all that colour 

Until those four walls fence looks like milk 

And I suppose it’s funny

How white reflects all colours 

Scattering them to places they can no longer be seen 

Be remembered 

While black absorbs all colours

Like they are something to be held close

To be ashamed of 

To be afraid of 

Because when you are made a target for both who you love 

And where you come from

The body 

Turns into a minefield of dichotomies  

How can you learn to love your body 

When it is housing something so desperate to kill you?

For Queer Black girls 

Whose Blackness

Has grown so dark it is the very thing that haunts them 

We suckle on prayers now 

Cry hallowed be His name 

And hollowed be our souls   

Reaching arms to a Father in heaven 

Knees broken over the altar while we pray to be altered 

Hailing to a white Saviour 

Blue-eyed and fair-skinned 

He preaches sculpt a temple from body

We were racialised and it was legitimised

By a white man’s self-glorifying gospel  

Before God, these arms lift themselves on high 

What do Black hands know  

But to be raised in the air?

Be it on the cross 

Or the borders of Matebele

We have always so peaceful in our surrender 

Before being 

Captured and conquered

If Jesus had two fathers 

And we are made in His image 

Will they crucify us too? 

Hang us up like billboards 

And call it renaissance art 

Because making profits off Black livelihoods is a historical pastime 

We are tired of hacking off pieces of ourselves 

To give to you like communion bread



And Christian 

We are tired of building bodies into apologies 

Binding bibles in our skin 

Breathing incense and coughing up our spines 

All marrow and cartilage 

Used to build these pews 

Our christenings begin in the womb

So when a coloniser falls in love with a missionary

And their children are birthed from rupturing waters 

It’s no wonder 

The original values of the motherland start drowning 

Belief systems abandoned in ruin 

Now the riches of Zimbabwe 

That once belonged in the hands of a black pot 

Lay shipwrecked somewhere 

Beyond a rainbow

There is a lot of power in spoken word, and even more so coming through the lived experience of young creative, Takunda Muzvondiwa. Takunda is a performance artist, speaker and poet from Zimbabwe, Southern Afrika. Coming from a theatre and musical background, she combines voice, drama and movement to tell stories of the heart, of her motherland and offer social commentary. Through spoken word, Takunda expresses the importance of identity and culture as a tool for both self-empowerment for strengthening communities. Belonging to various global communities, in a similar nature to her social identities her artistry is an intersection of both art and activism.