Book Review – Swimming Emotions

Swimming Emotions is an anthology of poems compiled by Zimbabwean poet Valentine Tusai who is affectionately known as St Valz by many. It is the third offering of its kind, after Frabjous Fling and Strangers Encounter; poets from all over Africa are featured in the book. It is however his fourth anthology as Da Valz Code was his first. His last three anthologies have revealed Tusai’s undeniable gravitation towards women’s predicaments in Africa as evidenced by the involvement of women as they tell their stories in their own words.


The poems are set in the present day; addressing a social issue that is still very debatable even though we are in the “21st century”. The theme of the book is having a working woman as the bread winner and the husband being domesticated. A wide range of scenarios are played out such as office affairs as depicted in the poem Unjust Tolerations where the wife pleads with her husband as she explains how she ended up in her boss’s arms, and tales of a wife’s lost respect – respect she once had for her husband as vividly illustrated in the lines of the poem Balls of Steel , in line 19 the poet says, “I contrive to see his better man in him” as she hopes he becomes a better man.

My personal favourite in the book, Do Yourself, tells an enticing story of how a once perfect life of us against the world quickly turns into a prison for the hard working wife as her husband turns to the maid while she toils for his plush life.


The collection gives the reader an insight on the different matters that arise as a result of this unusual setup. Echoes of society’s negative outlook on such relationships and the unfaithfulness of both parties are evident through – out the collection.


Very little rhyme is used, yet vivid pictures are painted to tell a story. It is very relatable; you don’t have to be a diehard poetry junkie to understand the dynamics to the poems.


Swimming Emotions is a definite must read. It will be dropping on the 28th of June in celebration of Tusai’s birthaday and will be available for free download, you must definitely keep an eye out for it.



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