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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Women in Film

Film Production in Africa has long been viewed as a field specifically meant for men with very few women involved in the technical aspect of film production. This has led to the industry being dominated by men, marginalizing women in the process.
IBhayiskopo means Film/Movie. The word is township lingo for Bioscope. The word was popular during the 60’s and early 90’s in Zimbabwe.

IBhayiskopo Film Project is a program biased towards young women. The project is based in Bulawayo and strives to capacitate and empower young women who wish to pursue a career in film production. It is a development meant to address the sex divide that had seen the film industry in Zimbabwe for years being considered a single sex domain.
Ibhayiskopo Project is operating on Zero Budget. The project is in the process of looking for funding to produce short films and documentaries as part of students’ practical assignments.  Facilitators have been helping the project on a voluntary basis.
The training program started in March 2011. The first 15 students will graduate in November. The students are from different backgrounds. Many are not able to pay fees and are only buying stationery and catering for their own transport.

The project will be running film workshops during Intwasa festival koBulawayo. Aspiring filmmakers can register for the workshops at Intwasa offices. 403 LAPF House.
8th Avenue/Jason Moyo St

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Festivals and Schools

Arts festivals are platforms for showcasing various artistic performances and arts products. Most works brought to festivals are top of the shelf products from local and international artistes. Through art we come to see reflections of our aspirations and fears and we interface with ourselves from various angles as perceived and interpreted by artists. Art is about our humanity in all its complexity, helping us to make sense of the world around us. We see the role of art in learning as a central one, and one which also relates to the holistic growth and development of the child. Art is a crucial part of social, emotional, and cognitive development. Children continuously reorganize and integrate their experience through art, to form their sense of self and worldview.

As humans, children tend to find ways to help themselves through their inherent struggles. They often do this through aesthetic productions such as art and drawing, music, storytelling, poetry, and dance/movement. Through these creative expressive arts, they find a way to release their emotions, divert themselves from their problems, relax their minds and bodies, and get in touch with themselves and others. A few examples of creative/expressive arts therapies follow. The creative art process responds to the created products as reflections of an individual’s development, abilities, personality, interests, concerns, and conflicts. While painting or drawing, one can express him/herself nonverbally, become more self-conscious, and reconcile emotional conflicts.

All mankind shares the ability to be imaginatively creative but children find themselves cut off from their creative selves and denied spaces where they can showcase their creativity. Adults, both at school and home tend to take over children’s creative spaces. It is in this light that I realise how crucial it is for young people to be exposed to festival performances and exhibitions.

Exposing school pupils to artwork may not just enrich their cognitive, social, and emotional abilities but is also therapeutic. It is upon this finding that I believe festivals must have spaces within their programming specifically for children and young people. It is good that young people be afforded an opportunity to be part of festivals and develop a sense of belonging and ownership. Children and young people are tomorrow’s adult audiences which we are missing at many a performance today. These should not be lost but should be nurtured. 
All children should be offered equal opportunities to progress and develop, and should have equal access to that provision. Not only are these young people to be seen at festivals as consumers but they should be encouraged to be exhibitors, performers and technical assistants and volunteers. This will help boost confidence in them while giving them the necessary skills and experience for the future. School authorities are hence urged to support pupils and make sure that they respond positively to invitations that are sent out by festival organizers for events.
For instance, they are specific plays that are in school syllabi and these can be showcased in theatre performances to help students consume a relevant product, and stimulate discussions around particular themes and topics. This year Intwasa Arts Festival will be running some of the plays which are part of the ZIMSEC English syllabi. It will be interesting to see how pupils respond to these performances.

Schools that are within the area particular festivals take place and have facilities should be partners with these festivals. This will make sure that performances are at the doorsteps of their pupils who are keen to be part of these festivals. Intwasa Arts Festival 2011 promises to be a feast for the young ones. A number of competitions and workshops in writing, drama and dance have been lined up. I personally can’t wait to see young people fret and strut on stage during this year’s edition. Okhekhe abaze ngobunengi.
Thabani H. Moyo is a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Zimbabwe and works creatively with children and young people.


Habitat Afrika Safaris investing in the future of Arts and Culture

A local tourist company, Habitat Afrika Safaris, operating from the tourist resort town of Victoria Falls has come in to support the arts by partnering Intwasa Arts Festival koBukawayo in hosting the inaugural primary schools traditional dance competition. Many a times arts organisations have publicly complained about the reluctance of the corporate sector to invest in the arts but Habitat Afrika Safaris’ coming in proves that there are indeed local companies prepared to invest in the arts sector and provide opportunities for talent discovery and nurturing. The competition dubbed Habitat Afrika Safaris Dance Competition is open to all primary schools and focuses on traditional indigenous dances found in all four corners of Zimbabwe.

“We are excited about this partnership. Habitat Afrika Safaris has shown confidence in us. They have put their money where their mouth is. Now it is up Intwasa to make sure this partnership adds more value to the festival. Slowly, the corporate sector is coming to the dance. We are indeed excited about this development,” said Raisedon Baya, the Director of Intwasa Festival.  Obviously the dance competition is another opportunity and platform for young people to come out and showcase their talents. Habitat Afrika Safaris and Intwasa are giving this opportunity to young people and hopefully the opportunity will not go unnoticed. With more corporate support the festival can reach its full potential within a few years.

“Habitat Afrika Safaris is proud to be associated with this event. In investing in the children’s arts and culture, we are investing in the future of our country. There is a thin line separating art, culture, and tourism. Investing in the arts for children means the culture is preserved for future generations and surely, people from all the corners of the world will still visit the country to see and learn more of our unique culture. We are looking forward to a successful Intwasa and also a future partnership that will go beyond this festival.” said Rodwell Masotsha Sibanda, the C.E.O of Habitat Afrika Safaris. 

The Habitat Afrika Dance Competition is part of an exciting and comprehensive Intwasa schools programme for 2011. The schools programme includes poetry competitions, a drama competition, debate, and performances. Catch the competition at Intwasa 2011