HomeNewsLocalGukurahundi play scrapped in Gwanda

Gukurahundi play scrapped in Gwanda

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TWO highly politically charged plays 1963 — The Years Before and After and The Civil Servant have been struck off from this year’s Rainbow Arts Festival programme after organisers feared they would reopen old wounds.

Albert Ncube
Own Correspondent

The two plays by Jahunda Community Arts and Bambelela Arts Ensemble, which had been widely advertised, were struck off the programme at the 11th hour.

Sources said the organisers felt the plays would not go down well with invited guests from the ruling Zanu PF party.

Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs minister Abedinico Ncube will officially open this year’s festival.

Rainbow Arts Festival director Future Moyo confirmed the two plays would not be staged, but an alternative platform would be sought for the staging the two plays.

“Both plays will not be showcased, but I can assure you another platform will be sought for the staging of the two plays,” he said.

Sources said National Arts Council provincial manager Nokuthula Moyo instigated the cancellation of the two plays, as she feared they would brew political tension. However, Moyo denied the suggestions saying the plays had not been sanctioned, but had been brought forward only as a proposal.

“We no longer have influence at the Rainbow Arts Festival. You can contact them and hear what they have to say,”she said.

In September 2012, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights successfully challenged a police ban of a Gukurahundi play.

963 — The Years Before and After focuses on the Gukurahundi era during which an estimated 20 000 civilians from Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces were massacred by the North Korea-trained 5 Brigade in an operation that the government claimed was an assault on “dissidents”.

The operation started in 1982 and was only halted five years later.

Told through a young lady, the play takes the audience back to that dark era that President Robert Mugabe has only referred to as a “moment of madness”.

The young lady in the play looks for her parents when she grows up, only to discover that she was “a product of rape” during Gukurahundi.

Hundreds of women were raped during Gukurahundi.

The play features a cast of five seasoned actors.

The Civil Servant, written by Thabani Hillary Moyo, revolves around a soon-to-be-retired government worker, Elton, who is battling with failing to achieve his dreams. Elton becomes paranoid and irritable. All he can show for his 37 years of service are worthless insurance policies that expired due to the hyper-inflationary economic environment.

What compounds the situation is the fact that his two sons have also failed to make it in life.

Elton dreads the return of the Zimbabwe dollar, which is rumoured to be on its way back. He fears that his retirement package might come in the form of the worthless Zimbabwean dollars.

To save himself from this predicament, Elton decides to commit suicide so that his sons can get his retirement package in United States dollars.

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