Theatre promotes freedom of expression in society: Hivos

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

THE Hivos interim regional director for southern Africa Kennedy Mugochi said theatre should be taken seriously as it played an important role in enabling people to express themselves.

Mugochi told NewsDay Life & Style on the sidelines of the launch of a 13-week episode women empowerment radio drama titled Shelea on Friday at Jason Mphepho Little Theatre in Harare.

The drama, produced by Patsimeredu Edutainment Trust, will be aired on local radio stations as part of the She-Leads project which is being spearheaded by Hivos in partnership with the Irish embassy in Pretoria.

“As Hivos, we strongly believe in free expression, so art plays an important role for people to freely express themselves in terms of commenting on what is happening in their societies, where things need to be highlighted or corrected. So drama is an important tool to advance freedom of expression,” he said.

“What will be coming from the drama is not necessarily created by the people, but is tapped from the society.”

Mugochi said people should be allowed to express themselves and their creativity as art was an important tool that built a society.

“What is critical for us is the message that comes through in terms of building society. So if you look at it from the view that arts can build a society it shows its value,” he said.

Mugochi said they had been supporting different players, not only in the arts sector, that are aligned to their vision, value and thematic areas.

“As Hivos, we are an international organisation and our work spans across the southern Africa. We operate in the field of open society,” he said.

Written by Sitshengisiwe Olinda Siziba, the drama chronicles the struggles and triumphs of women in contemporary society.

The drama follows the story of a young female politician, Shelea, who faces huddles as she tries to balance being a wife, mother at the same time rising to power while making a difference in her community. The drama’s cast includes award-winning actress Caroline Mashingaidze, veteran actor Nash Mphepo, Sitshengisiwe Siziba, Nobert Makoche, Caroline Magenga, Shahmaine Mukutirwa and Farirai Mhuru.

Patsimeredu Edutainment Trust director Jasen Mphepo said they were committed to use theatre to create dialogue on different platforms of engagement on diverse societal issues.

“Theatre plays an important role in people’s lives, by not only providing entertainment, but also creating a platform for engagement, debates and questions critical issues affecting the society,” he said.

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