BY PRECIOUS CHIDA
NATIONAL Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director Nicholas Moyo has said Zimbabwe should start a culture of recognising luminaries in the arts and theatre sector by naming key infrastructure after them to inspire young generations.
Moyo made the remarks in an interview with NewsDay Life & Style last week as the country gears for the launch of an international festival in honour of the late theatre guru Stephen Chifunyise (pictured), who passed away in August last year.
The Stephen J International festival has been slated for March 26-28 at Theatre in the Park courtesy of Rooftop Promotions, NACZ, National Arts Council, Children’s Performing Arts Workshop (Chipawo), Savanna Trust and the University of Zimbabwe.
Countries that have confirmed participation at the festival include Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa.
“There are many people who have contributed in the area of theatre, but we do not talk about them, we need to start this culture of naming our infrastructure and projects after our own heroes which will make their names live long” Moyo said.
He said there was need to document the life of Chifunyise outside theatre to inspire the younger generation.
“We also need to write about the man and not just his plays, but also about him outside theatre so that those children that come after us can also contextualise and know his history deeper,” he said.
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Chifunyise was dedicated to creative and cultural expression not only in Zimbabwe but Africa and the wider world that saw him starting Chipawo that has become a global brand after nurturing lots of local talent.
Addressing the media at the recent festival briefing, Rooftop Promotions producer Daves Guzha said the festival would focus primarily on the plays that were written by Chifunyise.
“This continent has a problem of not celebrating our own success stories and we can’t continue on this trajectory,” he said.
The three-day programme will be an eclectic mix of children, universities, practitioners, and filmmakers’ presentations looking into his plays, novels, films and dances.
Guzha said the royalties from the festival will be channelled towards the Stephen J Chifunyise Trust which is being administered by the family as per the wishes of the former Education Permanent Secretary.
Chifunyise has penned more than 80 known plays and some of the globally recognised titles are Rituals, Strange Bed Fellows, Medicine for Love, Lovers, Friends and Money and Indigenous.