SAVANNAH Trust, producers of the Protest Arts International Festival, held their road show in an intimidating atmosphere in Gutu following threats from unidentified State security agents who wanted to stop the event.
REPORT BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER
According to the organisers, the agents wanted to start by vetting all the Savannah Trust staff present at the show.
During performances, a group of suspected State security agents could be seen roaming around the venue and constantly engaging the organisers of the event.
The road show was part of a national campaign for the Protest Arts International Festival educating the public about the festival and the function of the arts in governance.
Savannah Trust director Daniel Maphosa said he was saddened by State security agents’ continued harassment of artists.
“The State security agents have become so much interested in monitoring arts activities taking place in Zimbabwe. We had to tone down some of our stage messages for fear of the unknown,” he said.
“This monitoring has increased more and more even during this tenure of the inclusive government when the atmosphere should be relaxed. This is a sure sign that the democratic space is continuously being closed.”
He said it is becoming more difficult for people to access information freely.
However, performers at the event defied the scorching heat and the threats to put up sterling performances.
First on stage was Explosion Dance Group who presented a well-choreographed act.
The outfit’s nimbleness and flexibility won the hearts of many as they went through their paces.
Rising chanter Munashe Tanjani aka Spiderman was not to be outdone as he endeared himself with Gutu folks.
Numerous youngsters and elderly women flocked to his car after his act trying to get handshakes and photos taken while others gave him money.
Spiderman collaborated with his equally energetic uncle, Jiggaz.
Blessing Shumba, who was fighting fatigue after travelling all the way from the Unity Gala in Gokwe also put up a good act.
Ba Shupi got youths dancing with his stage antics while King Shaddy’s performance was spoiled by sound hitches.