Creating epilepsy awareness through arts

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A GROUP of youths in Harare is on a campaign to raise public awareness for the neurological disease known as epilepsy.

By Elia Ntali

The campaign is the brainchild of Epilepsy Arts (Epi-Arts) and seeks to educate the public on the little-understood brain disorder through music, dance and poetry.

The campaign, according to Tineyi Mavhunga who is the national director, will start with talent identification in three Harare suburbs.

“We want to create epilepsy awareness through arts in order to demystify issues related to the disease and we are going to start by identifying talent in three suburbs — Mbare, Sunningdale and Hatcliffe,” said Mavhunga

The talent identification will target two groups — young people between 10 to 14 years and 15 to 25 years irrespective of their condition and in each category 30 young people will be selected.

“We are incorporating everyone and our target is 30 young people from each category. We are targeting those with the potential in music, dance and poetry,” he said.

According to Chido Nyabinde, the groups’ communications officer, the talent identification will be done with the help of Jibilika Dance Trust, Afro-jam and Smart points.

“We are going to identify talent with the help of Jibilika Dance Trust (dance), Afro-jam (music) and also Smart Points as we seek to interact with the public and make them comfortable when dealing with affected people,” Chido said.

Jibilika

Epilepsy is a condition in which a person has repeated seizures or convulsions over time. Seizures are episodes of disturbed brain activity that cause changes in attention of behaviour.

The condition is surrounded by a myriad of myths and misconceptions: From witchcraft, to family curses and many others. These often prevent people with epilepsy from seeking proper medical treatment or their families from assisting them for fear of stigma or being ostracised.

“We are incorporating everyone and our target is 30 young people from each category. We are targeting those with the potential in music, dance and poetry.”