|Theatre outcry over play ban|
|Friday, 07 September 2012 21:45|
No Voice, No Choice, a play by Tafadzwa Muzondo’s Edzai Isu Theatre Group in collaboration with Mufakose-based Zvido Zvevanhu Arts Ensemble, recently toured Manicaland and Masvingo, and was in the process of going nationwide, covering all the country’s provinces.
According to Muzondo, the provisional order granted this year on July 23 came after the board had had the script for about two weeks, assuming that they would have read it and agreed that whatever problems the script might have had were not bad enough to warrant a complete ban.
The play went on to be staged in Jerera, Nyika, Rujeko and at the Youth Cultural Arts Festival. After that the play also toured Manicaland — going to such places as Nyazura, Nyanga, Dangamvura, Sakubva and the Meikles Park in the city centre.
Muzondo said his organisation, which has since managed to get help from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) to try and overturn the ban, is not interested in picking a fight.
Besides having been preparing to perform at Intwasa Festival and having produced publicity material for the show — No Voice, No Choice was set to be staged at the Bulawayo Theatre, Tshabalala, Matshobane, Gwanda and Plumtree. “We were looking forward to thrill audiences at Intwasa with this mature entertaining play with a crucial anti-violence and tolerance message. The Intwasa performances are special to us because this will be the first anniversary of this play, which had its first performance on the International Day of Peace commemorations on September 21 last year.
making an honest living as artistes,” added Muzondo.
The play, being a collaboration, created employment for about 10 artistes, all with families to feed, who for over a year have been living off it. Even the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director, Elvas Mari, who watched the play for the first time in Masvingo last month, expressed shock at the controversy surrounding it.
Daves Guzha, of Rooftop Promotions, who has had one of his plays, Super Patriots and Morons, banned from ever appearing on a stage on Zimbabwean soil, appealed to the courts and the responsible ministry to look into some of the material that is deemed unfit for consumption.
“If a play does not provoke or help change a person’s thinking about a certain subject, then that play is of no use. Everyday, material that is dangerous to our kids because of its pornographic nature is left to be watched in our theatres — but when one creates a play such as No Voice, No Choice, a play about political reconciliation, they get slapped,” moaned Guzha.
When contacted for comment, Isaac Simon Shumba Chiranganyika, the secretary for the Censorship Board, refused to comment on the issue, referring all questions to the Permanent Secretary of the parent ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs.
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