BAMBELELA Arts Ensemble — a Bulawayo-based community theatre outfit — has produced a provocative theatre piece titled Civil Servant meant to rekindle debate on the plight of civil servants in Zimbabwe.
Workers unions have in the past been pushing for salary increment for civil servants, but the government has been unable to meet their demands leading to several campaigns being launched so that the underpaid workers’ demands are met.
Written by gifted playwright Thabani Moyo, the tragic yet witty piece vividly explores the plight of one civil servant who has served under the country’s suppressed public service for over 37 years yet lives in abject poverty.
Faced by imminent retirement, he is struck by the anxiety of receiving his package in the Zimbabwean dollar which is rumoured to be on its way back.
Therefore, in a bid to avoid receiving the “dead currency” and at least to leave something for his unemployed children, the man commits suicide so that his package is processed before the return of the valueless Zimbabwean dollar.
“Maybe this is what happens when a man doesn’t have a grip over life circumstances,” said director of Bambelela Witness Tavarwisa.
“The play is aimed at provoking positive discussions on the plight of civil servants to pave way for a dialogue which would propose the best way forward in regard to the plight of civil servants.”
The playwright, Moyo said: “The Civil Servant, generally explores the trials and tribulations of civil servants who have gone through trying times in the last two decades.
“It is about their failed dreams and fears as they face retirement. It also dwells on the economic uncertainty that faces Zimbabwe which has a high unemployment rate. It is a call for individuals to do self-searching and face the world in a realistic way,” he added.
Tavarwisa said rehearsals for the play were underway and the final production will be showcased in March and beyond.