A poetic journey turned political

HARARE - Poetic Journey, a play written and directed by Mgcini Nyoni, was prevented from going on stage by political bullying.

The play is the story of Zimbabwe told through poetry and mbira music. A young man refuses to celebrate the GNU because he can’t afford electricity, water and a host of other necessities. He realises that while he lives in poverty; the leaders of his country are living in the lap of luxury. The play was scheduled to premiere on November 25 and run from 26-27 November at Amakhosi Theatre Upstairs. The premier went well, with the audience interacting with the writer/director and the cast after the show. But trouble began for Nyoni after the performance on the 26th.

After the show I walked into town with two members of the cast. As I was standing by a fridge in one of the supermarkets, a guy in his late thirties approached me and asked a seemingly innocent question, said Nyoni. The same man started to follow me when I left the shop and when I got into a combi he shouted, Youre getting too clever in Shona.

The young artist related how she received phone calls the following morning from people who had been advised not to attend her show.

On November 27 I met the cast for our final show at Amakhosi. Two guys showed up around 6.30 pm. They pulled me aside and said my show wasn’t in the spirit of the GNU and I needed to stop the nonsense or else. They refused to identify themselves, but I recognised one as a police officer based at Queenspark. I wanted the show to go on since it had not been officially banned, but the cast members, except one, were too scared to perform. We had to turn people away and close the show.

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