Gifford tops talent search

BULAWAYO’S Gifford High School emerged the winner of the fifth edition of the Isiphiwo Sami Talent Search targeting Matabeleland schools held on Friday, going away with a cash prize and a trophy.

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The talent search was hosted at the Bulawayo Theatre courtesy of Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (Iyasa) and the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe. Gifford High School shrugged off fierce competition from 29 secondary and high schools which participated.

Njube High School came second followed by Evelyn High School settling for the third spot. The schools were each given 15 minutes to perform plays on stage. Some of the drama showcased on Friday could make Broadway scouts green with envy in which different acts by participating schools portrayed city life and rural life, poverty, crime and the lives of street children among other aspects of society.

Iyasa founder and director Nkululeko Dube, who is on tour with the group in Austria, said the fifth edition of Isiphiwo Sami Talent Search ran under the theme “Destiny”.

“We are driving towards new themes and every year we try and come up with themes that do not limit creativity,” Dube said.

“Over the past five years we have realised obvious growth in the standard of performances, there is a great future for theatre, music, dance and it begins right in the schools. It is slowly becoming a myth that schools shun the arts,” he added.

Founders’ High School scooped first price last year in the competition which ran under the theme “Celebrating life”.

Mercy Kuyumba, Iyasa spokesperson, said the various schools undertook training and supervision by experts in the arts industry.

“Two teachers and four students from each school were trained by well-established actors and musicians such as Cont Mhlanga, Richard Ndlovu, Memory Kumbota and Matesu Dube to name a few. With the skills they acquired, they went back to their schools to teach the other students interested in theatre,” she said.

Culture Fund of Zimbabwe projects manager Simbarashe Mudhokwani said since its establishment in 2006, the organisation had supported over 500 projects in Zimbabwe, including Isiphiwo Sami Talent Search.

Culture Fund an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation which supports the arts industry in the country and is largely donor funded.

The fund provides grants and technical support to individuals, registered companies, artistes, work groups, cultural organisations and institutions interested in the arts.

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