BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
THEATRE in the Park has honoured deceased and living theatre legends and other entertainers for their contribution to the growth of the arts industry by having their portraits painted on the Wall of Fame.
The Wall of Fame was unveiled during the three-day International Theatre Festival at Harare Gardens last week.
The creatives honoured included the late Kenyan-Zimbabwean playwright Ngugi wa Mirii, musician Chiwoniso Maraire, comedian Simon “Mutirowafanza” Shumba, Walter Muparutsa, Pretty Xaba and Bart Wolffe.
The paintings were done by Nyasha Jeche and Marcus Zvinavashe using paint supplied by Nash Paints.
The duo also did the Tuku Mural in Highfield high-density suburb following music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi’s death in January this year.
Cont Mhlanga and Stephen Chifunyise were honoured with pictures on frames housed inside the theatre.
Theatre in the Park director Daves Guzha said anyone who contributed to the growth of theatre in Zimbabwe would qualify to be on the Wall of Fame.
“This wall is dedicated to any theatre person who has made a difference in the industry. It’s a Wall of Fame. If you’re passionate about theatre, this wall is for you. We have theatre gurus in Masvingo, Kwekwe and Bindura, among other towns around the country. Bring forward their names,” he said.
“We also felt the need to recognise those that are still with us. These (Mhlanga and Chifunyise) gentlemen have made significant contributions to theatre in Zimbabwe.”
Theatre practitioner Tafadzwa “Bob” Mutumbi described the gesture as noble, adding that it would help to preserve the artistes’ legacies.
“We need to start celebrating and honouring our own. This initiative will help preserve these great thespians’ legacies and that of the Zimbabwean theatre industry as a whole.
It’s a great initiative,” he said.
Wa Mirii, who died at the age of 57 in 2008, is well-known for founding the Zimbabwean Association of Community Theatre in 1985 after he was awarded funding by government.