SCORES of talented hopefuls auditioned to participate in the grand opening and closing ceremony of the sixth edition of the African Union Sports Council Region V Youth Games to be held in the city from December 5 to 14 at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre on Monday.
The auditions were aimed at selecting 100 artistes, 72 dancers, 10 drummers, three poets, deejays, singers, comedians and actors.
Addressing the crowd, programme director Simon Mambazo Phiri alluded to the importance of the games being held in Zimbabwe, particularly in Bulawayo.
“This is our baby as the City of Bulawayo,” he said.
“We must be proud of what we have achieved. I believe that this is the first of many opportunities of great magnitude for the City of Kings.
“Some stakeholders were lobbying for the games to be held in Harare, but His Excellency President Robert Mugabe gave a directive that they should be held in Bulawayo.”
The programme kicked off on a high note as it saw the joined ensemble of Iyasa, Umkhathi, Siyaya and Hloseni performing the choreographed work of Richard Ndlovu setting a standard for the auditions.
Chairman of the organising committee Dan Moyo told journalists that there was great work which needed to be done.
“There is great work ahead,” he said. “However, if all of us work together it will be a small job. Let us pull together at the same time.”
He said the games would have a huge bearing on the reputation of the city.
“A lot of people did not want these games to be held in Bulawayo, but in Harare,” Moyo said.
“If we prepare successfully and diligently, the games will be a success as they have been in the previous five countries that have hosted them.
“Whatever impression we create, through behaviour, artistic creativity will bury or build the reputation of Bulawayo.”
One of the aspiring singers Melusi Moyo said: “I am grateful for such an opportunity to audition. I know that Bulawayo will never be the same again even after the youth games.”
Eleven countries will be coming to Zimbabwe to participate in the games.