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Rituals team meets Zambia's founding President - A proponent of peace
Rooftop Promotions
April 22, 2011

"What a blessed, humble and humorous man the founding Zambian president is"

"When people have been colonized for ages and fight to break that, there comes a point when they start to differ on their own and in some cases not just verbally but violently hence the need to have artists promoting peace and reconciliation like you are doing. Reconciliation is an extremely important factor of human life and cannot just come about by accident but by genuine love as God teaches us that we should not only love our neighbors but our enemies as well. If we love one another, regardless of our tribal, racial or political differences, we will be able to forgive one another, reconcile and work together in peace. We need peace and unity in Africa so I am honored to meet young people who are helping us to achieve that and it's not just about Zimbabwe but even as Zambia heads towards an election, we have heard concerns about violence so we are watching and praying that nothing gets terrible", said Dr Kenneth Kaunda Zambia's founding president in a meeting with the Rituals team, during a courtesy meeting at his office on Thursday 21 April 2011 as they rounded up their Zambian tour.

Dr Kaunda was one of the people invited to attend the performance at Lusaka Playhouse but due to his busy schedule, he could not make it hence the idea of paying a courtesy call was muted and granted through his aide Mr. Gabriel Banda and "it was indeed an inspiring experience" for the team to be meeting one of Africa's revered statesman in person. The inspirational experience with Dr Kaunda is just what the doctor prescribed for the "Rituals" team which was persecuted in some parts of the country for staging this play that advocates for healing and reconciliation of communities affected by the violence that broke out in the run up to the presidential run-off of 2008.

In his remarks during the meeting, which lasted 40 minutes, an elated Daves Guzha, producer of Rooftop Promotions said, "It is heart-warming that one of Africa's founding fathers could find time off his busy schedule to seat and share with us and appreciate the role of culture, specifically theatre, in conflict resolution. This makes us more confident that we are doing the right thing and wish other African leaders can take a cue from this. In most times, there is a wrong conception that liberation leaders do not tolerate any different opinions and this meeting has just proved to us that it is possible to be a revolutionary leader, cede power and still keep your people united and be appreciative of the common shared ground between politics and art".

Dr Kaunda has been an iconic African statesman who ceded power in a bloodless transition and has mediated in a lot of conflicts in Africa. He took time to explain why he carries the handkerchief saying, "When I got released from prison by the colonial government on 7 January 1960, I asked myself how I would go around the country to greet my people and said let me find a white handkerchief which I will be waving to my people as a way of saying peace be unto you, we need to move on and not continue living in the past.

"We arrived around 12.30pm, were told by his aide that he had rushed to see a sick colleague and assured that he would be with us shortly. Just after 10 minutes he arrived in a government vehicle, announced his arrival, and told us he will be with us shortly then jogged into the office with his aide following behind him. This left us wondering how old the man is and we were later told that he is turning 87 on the 28th of April 2011. As we were ushered into the boardroom, his aide explained to us that peace has always been on Dr KK's mouth and this is evidenced by the white handkerchief that he always carries in his left hand. He is not just a humble but humorous man as well, no wonder he still remains an esteemed personality in Zambia", says Tafadzwa Muzondo Rooftop Promotions Marketing & Sales Executive giving his impression of the former president of Zambia after the meeting.

NAMA 2010 Outstanding Theatre Actress Joyce Mpofu for her role in "Rituals" wished Dr Kaunda many more years. Dr. Kaunda then led us into a song by the late Kwame Nkurumah which encourages Africa to fight so many ills among them violence, poverty, Aids and crime as he bid us farewell and encouraged us to continue the anti-violence crusade for the betterment of not only our country but Africa at large. Samuel Kasanka, a Zambian playwright who works with the Human Rights Commission said this meeting was opportune at a time Zambia is about to go into elections and there are already incidents of politically motivated violence in the country. Others present at the meeting include Zenzo Nyathi, Chipo Bizure, Gibson Sarare, Joshua Mwase and Rutendo Chigudu, and as the team left, they presented a DVD of "Rituals" which he promised to watch then pass his comments for posting on the Rooftop website.

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