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November 02, 2006
There is exciting progress towards getting the Children's EXPO off
the ground. CHIPAWO has now brought Chipo Mashingaidze and her team
at 40:7 Blue Print (formerly 4th Dimension) on board and they are
already coming up with some very exciting ideas, including a real
brainwave for the name. It would be premature to unveil these now
but it means the Expo is on course for its inauguration , probably
in June next year. When the Action Plan and other preparations are
in place, the Expo will be duly launched.
Collaborative Platform for Arts Education
Since the end of last year representatives of the major arts education
institutions in the country have been meeting to plan for the consolidation
and enhancement of arts education in the country. At a recent one-day
workshop at the National Gallery, the following organisations constituted
their representatives as a Project Action Team, agreed on a Strategy
Document as first steps towards seeking support for the establishment
of a National Institute of Arts Education: Amakhosi CHIPAWO Dance
Trust of Zimbabwe National Art Gallery Zimbabwe Academy of Arts
Education Zimbabwe College of Music Zimbabwe International Film
As a result of the impossible financial situation CHIPAWO found
itself in in June this year, the organisation opted for a Basic
Survival Strategy. One of the aspects of this plan was the reduction
of CHIPAWO units and consequently programmes. Arts Education for
Development and Employment (AEDE), Performances, Media and Youth
survived - all of which have the capacity to sustain themselves
- and the organisation as a whole.
The AEDE programme
For CHIPAWO the slogan has been 'Back to the Centres!'. This has
been quite a refreshing development for after all that is where
CHIPAWO started and it has always remained the core activity of
CHIPAWO though in recent years somewhat neglected. This where the
interface with children takes place. ? Recently the administration
and operations of the programme have been allowed to run down or
simply collapse as a result of there being no money for the basics.?Long-serving
CHIPAWO stalwart, Darlington Saungweme, who had been the AEDE Programme
Officer, did not return to the organisation after leading the delegation
to the 9th Children's Theatre Festival in Lingen, Germany. Chipo
Basopo, a CHIPAWO graduate who was already handling the Performance
Programme, stepped into the breach as Acting AEDE Officer.
the programme included the withdrawal of SIDA funding from the Disadvantaged
Rural Children the Bursary Scheme and the Challenged centres. These
centres were going either to be abandoned to their fate or sustain
themselves. Another was the disastrous events of the first two terms
of this year when there were inadequate funds to pay the allowances
and transport of the Arts Educators or attend to the poor state
of the equipment. Then there was the almost impossible communications
situation. All CHIPAWO's phones had been disconnected owing to inability
to pay the enormous bills inherited from the very active first half
of the year. We now have to rely on cellphones. Then fuel disappeared.
Communicating with teachers at schools is difficult at the best
of times but these were not the best of times. On top of it all,
most of our best arts educators were tied up for three weeks at
the Reps Theatre for the season of professional youth theatre there
at the end of September and beginning of October.
A strength was
that despite CHIPAWO's poor showing in the first part of the year,
CHIPAWO's reputation and the need for arts education in schools
and other institutions made for a record demand for its services.
Fourteen new centres expressed interest in CHIPAWO bringing its
AEDE programme to them. Administration was tightened as was the
collection of fees. A special Team was created of the most experienced
or best qualified arts educators and these have been given special
training and encouraged by higher allowances.
This year has
seen a dramatic increase in centres in Bindura - from the original
2 to 5. A centre was opened in Norton. The National Arts Council,
assisted by Delta Corporation, also made it possible to award 15
bursaries for one term at Shiriyedenga Primary School. Currently
the CHIPAWO AEDE programme boasts of 32 centres. Plans are there
to increase these by another ten for the beginning of next year.
There is still lots of potential in this unit. Very little marketing
is being done but still a steady stream of prestigious contracts
keeps coming in. Recent clients have included Zimbabwe Sugar Refiners,
the Zimbabwe Open University and the Zimbabwe Tourism Agency (ZTA).
Following on from the visit to Indonesia of a delegation led by
Minister Nhema, including a CHIPAWO performing troupe, a group of
Indonesian performers will be coming to Zimbabwe in mid-November.
They will be giving 3 performances in Harare and 2 in Bulawayo.
CHIPAWO will be sharing the stage with them in Harare. In another
development a group of 6 CHIPAWO performers will be accompanying
another ZTA delegation to China.
As part of its restructuring for basic survival CHIPAWO hired out
the Media Centre to Top Shatta Productions, a recording company
that is developing a video and television unit in which CHIPAWO
graduate and ex-Media Centre technician, Tafadzwa 'Jake' Chimbetete,
is currently employed. The Media Unit moved into what had been the
library at the Zimbabwe Academy of Arts Education and since doing
so, it has seen a steady income derived from services such as hire
of equipment and dubbing. Farai Kuzvidza returned last month after
completing his Youth Trainee stint with an attachment at Tatu, where
one of the things he trained in was animation.
for 2007 include Onstage, a 13-episode series of CHIPAWO plays,
including those that were staged at the annual Reps Theatre season,
such as: The Little Man of Murewa (based on a Hans Christian Andersen
story), Vicious, Steve Chifunyise's classic depiction of middle-class
poverty in Zimbabwe, the stage version of Charles Mungoshi's Waiting
for the Rain and the adaptation of Ibsen's Peer Gynt, A Journey
to Yourself. There will also be the deaf play, Cry Thinking, and
the Afro-Indian fusion, Shinda, the Sacred Thread, which went to
Delhi last year. There will also be a co-production with Zimbabwe
Television's Kidznet featuring children and young people - not to
mention the annual Christmas show this year.
The Season of Professional Youth Theatre at the Reps Theatre, featuring
A Journey to Yourself and Waiting for the Rain, was a great success
in terms of training and exposure but the new audience that we know
is out there that will one day come to plays at the Reps, has not
yet heard the call - or if they have heard it, they still don't
believe enough to come.
opening nights, the first hosted by the Embassy of Norway and the
second by Mungoshi's publishers, the Zimbabwe Publishing House,
were stimulating occasions and many ideas and possibilities of co-operation
emerged. Now the International Images Film Festival for Women is
due to begin in a few days and one of the films being presented
is based on Ibsen's A Doll's House. 16 youth from the CHIPAWO Youth
Programme will be attending a 5-day film workshop on A Doll's House
and the extract that CHIPAWO presented at the Main Ibsen Centenary
Event at the National Gallery in May this year will be staged at
the closing ceremony.
- a tough year, which has seen CHIPAWO on the ropes but come back
again to fight another day - will end with a revival of the annual
CHIPAWO Christmas Stage Show. Open to all children in CHIPAWO, performances
will take place on Friday. 15th December, at 6pm and on Saturday,
16th December at 2.30pm. Venue to be announced.
of the annual Christmas Show is not only to provide an entertaining
and enjoyable Christmas experience for its audience but to do so
by presenting the Christmas material with a difference - a Zimbabwean
difference. Christmas and its stories are presented in an African
and Zimbabwean idiom. For CHIPAWO this is a very important responsibility
- to ensure that Zimbabwean children do not accustom themselves
to always looking up to foreign models and idioms but instead relate
to international and national events like Christmas in their own
languages and in the context of their own lives.
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