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Intwasa newsletter - July 2013
Intwasa
August 05, 2013

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My Zimbabwe Dialogue workshop series

A month ago the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust in partnership with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) hosted a workshop for Bulawayo’s creative sector at the National Art Gallery. The workshop was attended by Pathisa Nyathi, Jeys Marabini, William Nyandoro, Cliff Zulu, Priscilla Sithole Ncube, Tswalero Mothobe, Tomeki Dube and other artists. It was facilitated by Chipo Chikara and Heeten Bargat. The objective of the workshop was to encourage national dialogue and development through the arts.

In encouraging dialogue as a way of solving problems rather than resorting to violent means the workshop had participants asking themselves the following questions:

1. Is it possible to be Zimbabwean and proud?
2. What is the true Zimbabwean identity?
3. What is the rope that binds us together as Zimbabweans?
4. How and when do we fi-nd common ground?

It was quickly noted that the tragedy with Zimbabwe is that half the time we celebrate our differences instead of our similarities. These dialogue series are the beginning of that journey towards -finding and celebrating a shared history.

Interestingly the workshop started with participants using their creativity to interrogate their identities. Participants were placed in groups and asked to design t-shirts with messages about Zimbabwe or designing a national flag. Later in the day participants created jingles and performed them in front of everyone. The designs that came out and the thinking behind them were mind blowing. In the ensuing discussions the participants were encouraged to interrogate the past, present and future of Zimbabwe. Participants shared their different ideas and experiences freely. Participants were frank about Zimbabwe and the issues affecting the country. Commenting on the workshop Farai Mupfunya, the Executive Director of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, had this to say,” Lots of artist can play a critical role in being the country’s ambassadors as they tour other countries, they can pass on information about Zimbabwe.” In other words it is time for artists to stop being on the sidelines of national dialogue. Artists need to be in the centre. Watch out for My Zimbabwe Dialogue Series on the cyber space.

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