Zimbabwe: Two Bulawayo based artists for Malawi Arts Festival

By Jeffrey Muvundusi in Bulawayo – TWO Bulawayo based artists Bhekumusa Moyo and Mgcini Nyoni are set to represent Zimbabwe at one of Malawi’s major arts showcase, Mwezi Wawala International Arts and Theatre Festival.

The 2012 edition of the multi-discipline arts jamboree in the neighbouring country is scheduled to run for three days thus from August 31 to September 2. Moyo, famous for his controversial Gukurahundi play, the years before and after, 1983 will however not be taking his playwright skills to the festival but his other talent as a poet.

On spoken word, Moyo who calls himself the Protest poet has performed at various events both national and international. He has graced the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) on a number of occasions and has shared the stage with some of Zimbabwe’s top poets including the likes of Chirikure Chirikure and Albert Nyathi and Mbizvo Chirasha.

Speaking to this reporter Moyo could not hide his delight: “I am very excited because this simply shows that art in Zimbabwe is also being recognised in other parts of Africa. I hope this will enhance our experience in the industry as we meet other artists from different cultural backgrounds,” Moyo explained.

However, Nyoni who recently received the good news said about the invitation, “Well this is very motivating. The fact that only the two of us from Bulawayo were chosen out of a pool of interested artists in the country indicates that Bulawayo is still the hub of arts in Zimbabwe.”

For the festival, he will be taking his one hour long play called The Button Box. The play written and directed by Nyoni is a thrilling piece that talks of a woman’s courage, survival, and standing tall after selling one’s body to survive, after going through politically motivated rape and more.

To the unnamed woman a button symbolises pain and confusion in her life. But before it is taken to the neighbouring country, the play which was recently showcased at Amakhosi Arts Theatre in the city will from 19 to 21 June showcase in Harare at Alliance Francaise de Harare theatre stage.

In 2009 Nyoni had his debut plat Poetic Journey premiered in the city before it was taken to the 2010 Protest Arts Festival in Harare. The playwright also a poet in his own right and a teacher by profession was also part of the just ended HIFA.

According to the festival website, Mwezi Wawala is a Chichewa phrase meaning „the moon is out and shining. Traditionally in Malawi, it is under the moonlight where people sing, dance or sit around a fire to listen to stories usually from the elders. This will be a form of
passing on tradition and culture through folklore narratives, song and dance.

During the three day event, the audiences will have a chance to watch all performances that will be taking place one after another at one big venue, the Arts Café at Nanzikambe Arts premises in the capital, Blantyre.

In a way that suggests how big the event will be, a myriad of performances will come from artists as far as Germany, United States of America, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Ghana and many others. With a huge number of local artists taking part, the festival is billed to be one of the biggest in its history.