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Umkhathi Theatre Works Workshop in Mutare
Umkhathi Theatre Works
August 05, 2003

Umkhathi Theatre Works is a Drama and Dance troupe based in the city of Bulawayo. The troupe was established in 1997 and to date has grown to be one of the best performing troupes in this country. Umkhathi specializes in Community theatre and African traditional dancing. Umkhathi also conducts theatre and dance workshops for interested organizations and individuals. Umkhathi is affiliated to the Zimbabwe Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ZATCYP). The troupe comprises of sixteen members, all doing theatre on fulltime basis.

From the 20th to the 26th of July four members of Umkhathi Theatre Works carried out a Theatre and Dance workshop with street children in Mutare. The workshop was held after receiving an invitation from Simukai Street Children Programme, a Non Governmental Organization based in the city of Mutare. In the mornings the workshop was held at the Simukai Contact Centre with young people aged between eight and twenty two years, living in the streets of Mutare. Everyone seemed to enjoy the workshop as some of these young people have good talents in music, acting and dance. The problem was that some of them suffer from the effects of sniffing glue and taking drugs as they are not going to school anymore.

In the afternoon the workshops were held at Dangare primary School with children that were taken from the streets by Simukai and reunited with their families, these children are now going to school. They meet at Dangare for feeding and then they do different activities. Their ages range from six years old to seventeen year olds. We enjoyed working with these children as they would take instructions from resource persons and do what is expected form them, at one time you would forget that they used to sleep and do bad things in the streets.

In a period of five days we managed to come up with a ten minute dance package and a short play that were presented at the last day of the workshop by these children. These children showed potential that if they got more workshops of this nature, some of them can create good careers for themselves. As a team of resource persons from Umkhathi Theatre Works, we managed to learn raga and rap from these children that we are still enjoying to sing here in Bulawayo.

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