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Street theatre returns with new style

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Street theatre that was once popular along First Street Mall, Harare before disappearing into thin air has returned with a new style.

Comedians on the streets used to depend on tokens from their audience, but they now record their acts and sell the videos.

The actors said the new venture is more profitable and a number of groups that had disappeared due to economic challenges had since resurfaced. They sell the videos for $1 each.

The open space along Speke Avenue near Copa Cabana bus terminus has become a hive of activity as the comedians take turns to entertain passersby every evening.

Daniel Kamwaza popularly known as Nyimo in street theatre circles, said the new practice was sustainable.

“We have resorted to Copa Cabana because at First Street Mall there is limited space and time because we had to compete with street preachers who also use the same spot to do their work,” said Nyimo.

“Here we usually do our business in the late hours so that we don’t disturb people that occupy surrounding buildings.

“Things are now different, we are no longer waiting for the audience to donate to us instead we perform for a few minutes and start selling our videos.”

He said they can sell more than 50 copies per day and share the money.

“It doesn’t end there; selling continues everywhere, be it in a kombi, salons or even in our neighbourhood. Most people know us and they buy our discs,” he said.

Few years back comedians at First Street Mall were so good and attracted a lot of attention, but the returns were not lucrative.

Street theatre then disappeared paving way for street preachers who have turned the venue into a praise and worship centre.

Comedians like Freddy ‘’Kapfupi” Manjalima, Charles “Marabha” Mirisi and Jeffrey “Aphiri” Chikwesere gained fame through street theatre.

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