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Artists reflect on Africa Day

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BY CHIEDZA MAZHANGARA
TODAY is that time of the year again when the nation joins other nations on the continent to celebrate Africa Day with this year‘s celebrations running under the theme Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent.

For some, the day reminds them that Africans need to celebrate their culture and origins.

In May 25, 1963, 30 leaders from the then 32 independent African States signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which gave birth to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

The OAU later changed its name to the African Union (AU) in 2002. And since inception, the AU has carried the spirit of unity every year through the May 25 celebrations.

And to celebrate the day, some local creatives have lined up free shows.

NewsDay Life & Style took time to interview some of the creatives about the day.

Afro-contemporary group Fusion 5 Mangwiro had this to say: “The day signifies a tough journey to independence and freedom and a common consciousness based on solidarity and unity of the continent. So we celebrate it with enthusiasm.

“The success story attained in the past decades in this spirit and the efforts of powerful and acclaimed African leaders attests to the bright future of the continent. And we think as artistes, it is always best to collaborate, showing our creativity, writing and composing African pieces in appreciation of the beauty of Africa.”

Mbira Dzenhaira’s Tendayi Gahamedze said: “Africa has been decimated, dissected and divided by barbaric colonial masters to such an extent that some Africans are seeking relevance from other continents outside Africa and yet all we need for our salvation is simply at our doorstep.”

He hailed Africa Day, stating that it should be a day for African people to desist from hurting each other through xenophobic attacks, but rather form one bond as a one family.

Jonathan Goredema Dube, also known as Samaita from Dzimbanhete Arts and Cultural Centre, said they would be celebrating the day with passion and love for the ancestors, while seeking to pronounce Africa’s identity.

As part of the day’s celebrations, Samaita will be hosting discussions on topics such as culture, tradition and the issues of matare (traditional courts).

“Africa Day is a day that we as Africans should remind ourselves that we own rich and powerful traditional aesthetics and should not abandon them,” he said.

“As Africans, we should take this seriously and engage one another for a unity of purpose and if we want a better future we have to use this influential set up, prop it up and build a future Africa.”

To keep the concept of Africanism intact, Dube suggested that the AU should go back to the founding principles, remake them and create a formal elected body to govern the continental policies that affect Africa, while striving to find the most effective ways to improve self-quality.

Choral group, Chitungwiza Harmony Singers have also uniquely honoured the day through a music video, with a medley cover of the song Joy of Africanism by Salif Keita and Tiwa Savage.

The choral group’s marketing and communications manager Judith Gwande said: “In Africa, music is a social activity in which almost everyone participates. Music highlights African values with various traditions accompanied by a melody. Many events of importance are celebrated with music.”

Sculptor Stanley Mutanga said: “To me, this is a day for us to look at where we are coming from and the future of Africa. As a sculptor, I will be expecting to hear about our culture and also teach the next generations about our values as a continent.”

Afro-jazz singer Victor Kunonga and Selmor Mtukudzi have also lined up a free concert to celebrate the day. Mwenje Mathole will also launch an EP Svingobgwe.

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