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Freakish theatre


One of the reasons why theatre is very potent is the sheer fact that it is a platform in which art imitates life.

We are, in the reported words of Facebook founder David Zuckerberg, “addicted” to each other.

How else can you explain the fascination of the media with Oscar Pistorius’ murder case? Or the with the Martin Gumbura case?

Need I mention the Metro tabloids? Speaking of theatre, there is not much theatre on local stages these days. Perhaps it is down to funding. How do you fund theatre productions? If only the cash barons could just toss a few green ones our way, something could well happen.

But Oscar Pistorius is filling that theatre gap alongside the local prophets. I am now wondering whether at this rate we will still be needing to stream to Bulawayo Theatre to watch a play. Oscar, stewing under Gerrie Nel’s cross examination, has taken to wailing and belching in court presumably to demonstrate his contrition over the “accidental” shooting and killing of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Oh how he milks the sympathy cow! It is as girly as it is now nauseating.

Some now believe Pistorius is now a serious Pistorius Movie Awards in the best actor category.

  • All the world is a stage
    I wonder who is actually buying his ridiculous act though. How do you explain that you could shoot at a so-called intruder without first securing the whereabouts of your beloved? Even in the ice of your fear? You would only do so if you are a cold, self-centred son of a gun who intended to kill. In law we have what we call the reasonable man test. In short, it’s an aggregation of how a person might reasonably act in a given situation. What would a reasonable person do? So far Oscar has flunked that test. I expect him to go down at least for culpable homicide though I am rooting for a murder convictio — act though he might. All the world is a stage indeed.
  • Rooftop Promotions
    Theatre in the Park is reportedly building a 500-seater arena in Harare Gardens via an agreement with Harare City Council. The original stage had been shut down owing to a fall out with ZIBF over contractual arrangements between the two parties after a 17 year run. The venue had played host to theatre productions from around the country including Bulawayo. Maybe theatre in Zimbabwe will experience resurgence because of this development.

    Mind your language : The language war!

    The Bulawayo Book Fair, running under high sounding theme : Indigenous Languages, Literature, Art and Knowledge Systems of Africa held last month came and passed just like a blur. I have been mulling over what occurred at the event in the Small City Hall.

    AmaBooks was launching its book of short stories translated into Ndebele by Thabisani Ndlovu from the University of Witswatersrand’s department of literature. During the workshop, the translator stood up to present his paper outlining his journey and process with the book. He was, however, not oblivious to the fact that the purists were quite miffed at his sentiments about the dynamism of language.

    On one hand there are those such as Felix Moyo who believe language must be maintained in its pure form. Ndlovu maintains that language cannot remain in stasis and that it must be relevant to time and setting etc. His position may have been misunderstood because all he was saying was that in everyday parlance, folk use words such as fly matshina and imoto borrowing from the English language.

    He says that the contemporary literature must reflect these adoptions for language to remain useful. Moyo in his own presentation unwittingly referred to young master Ndlovu as a “young man and boy”.

    This riled the good doc who asserted himself and raised a valid point that his doctorate in literature was not honorary, but earned and therefore deserving of respect.

    Moyo, after the blow, delivered a gentlemanly, but clever apology, probably startled at the vigorous reaction from the doctor. I understood Doctor Ndlovu’s vigourous retort because he makes a living out of analysing nuance and innuendo in language besides teaching language. So he may have “sensed” that Moyo was attempting to “reduce” as a senior in years.

    A reflection
    Nation states are being assailed by the march of globalisation and the attendant technological developments that are colluding to engender the so-called global village. Language becomes a rallying point and an identifying mark for members within a community.

    Zimbabwe has just produced a constitution that guarantees the importance of all the country’s eleven languages. Time will tell.

    I say that even the Queen’s language has mutated several times and this can’t be helped because of acculturation and enculturation.

    Looks those two terms up will you now ! I say mind not only your language but your tone as well.

    Babylon: The curse of language
    There are close to 7 000 thousand languages in the world today with Africa having about a third of that number according to the BBC which further reports that 90% of those languages are spoken by a mere 100 000 people. It is also noteworthy that according to some reports, half of those languages are in danger of extinction in this century.

    Language certainly has a chequered history if one were to follow the Biblical narrative carrying the explanation about its origins. Read the book of Genesis chapter eleven. The plurality of language is a mark of God’s displeasure ! There is chaos in our world today because we just don’t speak the same language.

    It takes a girl perhaps
    It’s not a good time to be a man right now when you read the papers.

    With all the looting happening in our world and all the violence, it’s clear to my mind that maybe women ought to be given a chance to rule. I mean, put a guy in power and he literally strips the coffers for his ego trips. Women tend to think family and therefore community.

    So I recommend all the men reading this column to stop the violence on women and children. I recommend that women begin to vie for public office.

    I recommend that we not be afraid of their power. Women’s power generally is about making positive change in society. Men think ego most of the time and sex.

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