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Update on Chipawo
R. Maclaren, CHIPAWO
October 27, 2008

I am back from South Africa. After attending the Umoja Camp in Johannesburg I took some time off for personal and family business. Was thrown into the deep end on my arrival home by the need to assist with a performance for the United Nations family on UN Day, Friday 24th. We are now trying to make as strong a case as we can to the Reserve Bank that we should be permitted sufficient cash to implement at least some of our most important programmes (see below). Ironically while the cash crisis is crippling our operations, another problematic factor, the power supply, has experienced an encouraging improvement. We also need to solve the problem of premises, which has been made worse by the landlord at our town office indicating that our operations are not compatible with his and asking us to move out as soon as possible. Though we are not running on full steam, we are trying to as much as we can in the circumstances, hoping that it will not be long before we can get back to full production. Meanwhile for an account of what is going on (and also what is not going on), see below.

Temporary closure of Chipawo

CHIPAWO is still closed for business except for essential services owing to the unavailability of cash for staff and children's fares. We are making an assessment of what more we can do and going to approach the Reserve Bank direct for permission to draw sufficient cash to make things happen. The following is a provisional list of what we hope to keep going:

  1. Implementation of European Union Girl Power and HIV/AIDS participatory theatre project
  2. The CHIPAWO Christmas Stage and Television Shows - by children's demand.
  3. Completion of the second series of deaf television in Sign Language, Action Power
  4. Meetings of the Children's Council and the Youth Council
  5. Performances
  6. Confirm our agreement with Rainbow for a CHIPAWO video rental and sale section in their outlets
  7. Completion of marking and examination results for Diploma in Performing Arts Part 1 and planning for Part 2
  8. Launch CHIPAWO@20

Visit to BAT centre/urban voices international arts festival.

I was lucky that my short visit to my birthplace, Durban, coincided with a festival at the BAT Centre. CHIPAWO Trustee and Zimbabwean performance and published poet, Titus Moetsabi, was our host and with him we attended a poetry evening featuring poets from Jamaica. I met again, Nise, the Director of the Centre, and was introduced to Bayanda, the Youth Development Officer. The Centre is organising youth and children's events for 2010 and they had already decided that CHIPAWO should be involved so it was a fortuitous meeting.

Chipawo impresses on UN day

CHIPAWO had been invited by the organizers of the official commemoration of UN Day, Friday, 24th October, to be held at the Rainbow Towers (formerly Sheraton). They requested a music and dance item as well as a play highlighting the family of UN bodies and the work they do. Steve Chifunyise, Chairman of CHIPAWO as well as Zimbabwe's most prolific playwright, knocked up a script in a very short time and the young members of the CHIPAWO Harare Youth Theatre with others from the Youth Programme, managed to get the rather difficult text memorized and with a little direction from Chipo Basopo, the Programme Officer, and myself, as CHIPAWO Acting Performances Director, they were able to come up with a lively and fun-filled Zimbabwean family performance for the international family of the United Nations. The performance was attended by the entire UN community as well as representatives from government ministries.

The best of onstage Chipawo

Media have been able to sustain the Best of Onstage television series featuring performances filmed for television. This will round off the Onstage series which has been on the box since the early part of last year.


The Launch of CHIPAWO@20 has had to be postponed. We shall be informing you of the new date as soon as we know.

Arts education for development and employment programme

The AEDE Programme which is where CHIPAWO works with children at centres all over Harare, Chitungwiza, Bindura, Norton and Domboshawa is a core CHIPAWO activity. Unfortunately owing to the unstable situation in most schools and the inability to get cash for fares so that arts educators can travel to the centres, the programme was suspended this term - for the very first time since 1989. It is hoped that it will resume in the New Year.

Visit the CHIPAWO fact sheet

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