Tafadzwa Muchenje


Forgotten Poem.

Encounters in the city.
A meeting, especially one that happens by chance.
So, luck. Or not, depending on how you look at it.

You came at an unexpected time.
Into my life and turned it upside down, inside out.
You were hostile, brash, unfair, and unjust. You stole my youth. You stole my joy. You stole my life. You stole my time.
You were an encounter that broke me. You were a moment that lasted three years.
There was no hiding. Just surviving.
You took me to rock bottom. Made me invisible, made me half.
You shaped me, moulded me. Changed my perspective on life.
Pain. Loss. Happiness. Anger. Joy. Growth.
All this and so much more.


An encounter I must not forget.
I can not forget.

That feeling.
That was my reality.
That reality. Is the reality of countless others who have come to the UK and have encountered its hostile environment. By chance. By design.
So, luck, or not depending on how you look at it.


Locations. Locations. Locations.
Here. There. Everywhere. Nowhere.
These locations have my heart.
They have my soul.
Here. There. Everywhere. Nowhere.
Each with their own compartment.
A moment in time stamped. Forever.
They will be there.
Here. There. Everywhere. Nowhere.
They gave me so much.
So, I honour them. I cherish them.
Lewisham High Street, Granville Park, River Mill Two, Bridge Cottage, Troutbeck Road, and Dayton Grove.
7 years of my life spent across you.
In which I have experienced all.
Love. Limbo. Happiness. Sadness. Pain. Joy.
All within your walls.
Here. There. Everywhere. Nowhere.
Locations. Locations. Locations.
Thank you for all you gave me.


They can try and break you and make you lose hope and yourself.
They will never win. You are not alone. We are unique and special.

Overcome the challenges and hurdles. They will try to take you from you.
Have hope because you don’t know what your next encounter will be.
What it will be? Where it will be? Who it will be?

You have value and you have purpose, don’t forget that. There is nothing that can take that away from you. Have hope because there is nothing stronger than a small hope that doesn’t give up.

This is a collection of poems that are my response to the work created by the young artists who are young refugee and asylum seekers' as they shared their experience, connection, and identity of their city.

Forgotten explores my own encounters since moving to this country, the good and the bad. It explores limbo, the hostile environment, belonging, home, and most importantly hope.

These stories and our encounters can’t be forgotten. These poems, tales, and voices will be heard loud and clear. We are more than labels, news articles, random data points. We are humans. We won’t be forgotten.

Tafadzwa Muchenje is 26-year-old actor and writer based in South East London. Born in Zimbabwe, migrated to South Africa at the age of 6 months then to the UK at 12 with his family where he has now lived for 14 years.

Tafadzwa as a migrant has unfortunately encountered the hostile environment in 2015 when his right to remain was denied, due to an admin error. Nevertheless, he was stripped of his right and threatened with deportation. It took 3 years before he was able to be heard in a tribunal to prove his right to remain in the UK. Which he won in 2017.

During this period of limbo, Tafadzwa couldn’t work or study. However, from this experience and with the collaboration from SBC Theatre. Tafadzwa and SBC created the play Where We Began (2018), which explored his experiences and the themes of home, identity, and belonging in a fictional world where every citizen is ordered to return to their place of birth.

This was followed with the documentary, Where We Are (2020) that further explored these themes and delved deeper into the impact of the hostile environment on those that encounter it.