Renowned Zimbabwean poet, Albert Nyathi, last Tuesday performed for all of Sadc’s heads of State at the 30th Anniversary of the regional body in Windhoek, Namibia.
He is the sole artist who was brought in from outside the country, in a landmark arrangement between the Sadc Secretariat and Artists Trust of Southern Africa (ARTSA).
Nyathi, who started writing plays and poetry while at high school, went on to become the poetic voice of the Students Representative Council at the University of Zimbabwe in the 80s where he recited militant poetry at student rallies.
After university he worked with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, before leaving to take up performance poetry full time.
With his group, Imbongi, he travelled to various parts of Africa and Europe where they met with positive responses for their performances.
He is now one of Zimbabwe’s most respected poets and still travels regularly, performing and facilitating workshops for students and other upcoming poets.
He is well known for his poems I Will Not Speak and My Daughter and his rendition of the song Senzeni Na?
ARTSA is a network of artists from the 15 member Southern African Development Community (Sadc), operating in various artistic disciplines whose main function is to coordinate the development and promotion of varied cultural interventions at all levels targeted at artists.
In particular, ARTSA is involved in the organising of the rotational Sadc Artists Aids Festival which is held on an annual basis.
ARTSA was formed during the Malawi edition of the Sadc Artists Aids Festival by stakeholders present as well as through a direct push from the Sadc secretariat who felt that it was imperative to have an organisation that could be a conduit between themselves (Sadc secretariat) and artists as well as to push for the implementation of the Sadc Culture Trust Fund.
Recently, ARTSA in partnership with Sadc, GTZ and the South African government’s department of sports, coordinated cultural events from the region at KeNako Plaza in the heart of the International Football Village during the 2010 World Cup.
This platform afforded visual artists and performing artists from the Sadc region an opportunity to share their spell-binding cultural and artistically rich wealth to an appreciative foreign market. – www.zimbojam.com