BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
THE Health Research Unit Zimbabwe (Thru Zim) says it is committed to making a difference in society through arts.
To help fight drug abuse and raise awareness on mental health issues, Thru Zim is set to premiere a theatrical production titled Taura/Khuluma (Speak Out) which will run from June 2 to 4 at Reps Theatre in Harare.
After Harare, the play, directed by local firebrand physical theatre practitioner Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi, will be exported to the City of Kings and Queens for another showcase at Bulawayo Theatre on June 18.
The production is courtesy of The Art Of Health, an arts initiative aimed at promoting well-being and expression among the youths through the arts, while Thru Zim stands as the central organisation co-ordinating such programmes and many others in the advocacy for good health.
The Art of Health co-ordinator Tino Michelle Mavimba said the play interrogates issues affecting today’s youths from mental health, drug abuse, depression and trauma in the face of life’s challenges.
“The production Taura, which is a Shona word meaning speak out, details the lives of Zimbabwe’s young people, their views on health and journey towards finding their voice and reclaiming their well-being,” Mavimba said.
“Through the eyes of 12 young performers drawn from different communities around Zimbabwe, we get to follow the heartfelt stories of what it means to stand alone fighting depression and trauma, and how mental health and well-being are being threatened by the different foes of drug abuse and deferred dreams especially among the young people.”
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Mavimba added: “In all these twists, it’s not all gloom. The production also sets to the fore that there is hope to dream again and have a restored sense of belonging irrespective of the inner demons that might have threatened our well-being.”
Mutumbi combined song, dance, dialogue and poetry in this latest stage production which is a cocktail of critical issues and a fair dose of entertainment.
The Art of Health spokesperson Mandi Tembo said: “Theatre goes beyond recreating experiences on stage, but it is also an effective agent through which the young people in Zimbabwe can amplify and narrate their lived experiences and shed light on key health-related issues faced by fellow young people and in turn generate discussions and solutions on how best to manoeuvre around given predicaments.”
Tembo said The Art of Health initiative kicked off in 2020 and has so far afforded thousands of young people across Zimbabwe an opportunity to express themselves within the sphere of health-related themes through various mediums of art, ranging from music, film and visual arts.
Some of the promising youths, who have been part of the venture, have received mentorship from Zimbabwe’s greats who include veteran filmmaker Joe Njagu and songbird Gemma Griffiths.
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