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dead take on the author of their misery in provocative play
Nqobizitha Khumalo, ZimOnline
October 09, 2007
Zimbabwean theatre producer
Cont Mhlanga is bracing for a fresh confrontation with President
Robert Mugabe's government over a controversial play that is set
to premiere in Bulawayo this weekend.
The play entitled "Overthrown,"
is a gripping story of Zimbabwe's eight-year political and economic
crisis that Western governments and the main opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party blame on repression and bad management
by President Robert Mugabe.
The story begins with
dead bodies lying in a mortuary. The bodies suddenly come alive
and accuse the President of being the author of their misery. The
ghosts eventually decide to walk to State House to assassinate the
The play, written by
Stanley Makuwe and directed by Mhlanga, is scheduled to run at Amakhosi
Theatre in Bulawayo from the 12th to the 13 of October 2007.
The provocative play
has already triggered shrills of protests from state agents and
other government supporters with for example, the state-controlled
Bulawayo daily, The Chronicle newspaper, allegedly refusing to carry
adverts publicising the play.
Mhlanga claimed that
editors at the Chronicle had refused to carry adverts and any promotional
material for the play in a move he said was tantamount to curtailing
"The Chronicle which
is the only daily paper in the Bulawayo region has informed us that
they are not allowed by their superiors to publish adverts for the
play. This is a blatant attempt to curtail freedom of expression,"
The editor of the Chronicle,
Brezhnev Malaba, could not be reached for comment on the matter
This is not the first
time that Mhlanga has had brushes with the Zimbabwean government.
Two months ago, state security agents violently stopped the premiere
of Mhlanga's political satire, The Good President.
The police said
the organisers had not sought permission to stage the play as required
under the country's Public
Order and Security Act (POSA). Under the tough Act, Zimbabweans
must first seek permission from the police before sitting down in
groups of more than three people to discuss politics.
An increasingly paranoid
Zimbabwean government has over the past seven years used the tough
security laws to ban cultural works that they say are meant to stir
the people to rise against the government.
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