rikure read two of his poems: Hakurarwi (We shall not sleep) and Chimanimani. The readings and music formed part of Amnesty International’s series of Book Festival events supporting Imprisoned Writers, and was a highlight of their event on Africa.
This event also provided an opportunity to publicise the well-known Zimbabwean Rooftop Theatre Company in which Chirikure is appearing. Rooftop presented two plays in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival on alternate nights, both produced by Daves Guzha: Super Patriots and Morons, a political satire banned in Zimbabwe but whose film launch has just taken place in Harare, and Pregnant with Emotion, a poetic and innovative story of a woman whose baby refuses to be born until the country’s immense problems are solved.
Although competing with literally hundreds of other events which make up the biggest festival in the world Edinburgh audiences appreciated the strong themes both plays illustrate so vibrantly and warmly welcomed these six professional performers. The group will continue its tour to northern Europe after a short visit to Leicester.
More Zimbabwean talent was showcased both at another Amnesty event and as a key part of the Festival of Peace and Spirituality, the latest addition to the range of Edinburgh festivals. Two asylum seekers from Zimbabwe now living in Scotland contributed their work as part of the Write to Life and All Write groups. These groups were set up by the Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture not just a therapeutic tool but as a means of getting the writers’ voices heard.
At the Book Festival event the writers were introduced and their work was read by a group of international authors thus drawing the attention of a wider audience to injustices throughout the world. Through their humour and sensitivity both Zimbabwean writers displayed what it takes to be survivors – not victims – of torture.
BY JOAN WEIR
Chirikure Chirikure, accompanied by Chiwoniso Maraire on mbira, gave a short but very moving performance reading at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, just ended.