Gukurahundi play gets Nama nomination

1983 The Dark Years cast
1983 The Dark Years cast


GWANDA-based Jahunda Community arts group is on cloud nine after its production, 1983: The Dark Years was nominated for the prestigious National Arts Merit Awards (Nama), whose ceremony is set for the Harare International Conference Centre on Saturday.

The play that focuses on the Gukurahundi era was nominated under the outstanding theatrical production category, making it the first time a Gwanda arts group has been nominated in that category.

During the then President Robert Mugabe-era, the play was never staged and only made its debut appearance at Theatre in The Park in Harare last year.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, the group’s director Adrian “Drivo” Musa said the creativity evident in the play had led to its recognition and appreciation in the arts industry.

“As a creative, we sometimes live in a world where we imagine things and we try to link them with reality. In this case,1983: The Dark Years is not just a mere play; it took a lot of commitment to come up with the final production and the research on the subject matter,” he said.

“The use of theatre skills and techniques, together with the fusion of percussions, the music and physical theatre movements and most importantly the flexibility in terms of use of language (Shona, Ndebele and English), added a lot of value in coming up with this production.”

Musa praised his cast for the success of the production and urged the Matabeleland community and the nation at large to rally behind and vote for them.

“It takes a great script writer, great cast and a creative director to produce great works and most importantly, team work and hard work help in the creation of our works. Young artists should look upon our rise in the theatre industry from the dusty streets of Phakama suburb in Gwanda,” he said.

“The nomination should inspire the young and upcoming artists to fully realise their potentials and work hard. This also applies to the business sector, the general community to support and appreciate local talent (as encouragement).”

The group is expected to tour Africa and Europe, having been invited for some festivals.

“We are working flat out with several partners who are willing to support us so as to make this intended tour a success. We are in the process of producing the 1983 The Dark Years DVD that will be available to the public soon,” he said.