KWELAKITHI ARTS, a performing outfit, will this year run a schools arts festival aimed at empowering grassroots communities through art as well as promoting indigenous languages.
The ensemble is part of the Bulawayo-based Victory Siyanqoba Trust, a non-governmental arts organisation involved in theatre for development.
The festival was initiated by Desire Moyo, who is the brains behind Victory Siyanqoba Trust, in 2005 while he was still teaching.
However, the project ceased to exist in 2007 when Moyo, a passionate theatre activist, left teaching following the country’s economic meltdown.
At its peak the then annual festival saw schools such as Selonga, Thekwane, Cyrene, Minda, Manama, Ntepe, Ntalale, Bethel, Stanmore, Buvuma, Kafusi and Tshanyaugwe, among others, taking part.
The winners of the 2005, 2006 and 2007 fiesta were Silonga High School tied with Stanmore Secondary, Bethel Secondary and Selonga High School respectively.
Moyo told Southern Eye Lifestyle that the main objective of the festival was to promote and support young women and girls in the rural Matabeleland as well as to advance previously marginalised indigenous languages which were granted official status in the new Constitution.
“The festival shall be strictly in local languages: Kalanga, Venda, Sotho and Ndebele,” he said.
Moyo decried the stoppage of the programme saying it stunted the growth of the arts industry which should be promoted at schools.
“It is challenging to note that after three years in existence, the schools festival had to then stop in 2008 and still has no sustainable system in place, no equipment and source of funding despite the magnanimous work within the arts industry and grassroots communities in Matabeleland South,” he said.
He added that they were in the process of mobilising funds for the programme – set to make its grand return by mid-year.