Calling all women in performing arts

dudu_manhengaHARARE All female performing artists are invited to attend the inaugural general meeting of a new association to represent Zimbabwean women artists the Association of Women in Performing Arts in Zimbabwe (AWIPAZ), at The Mannenberg, Fife Ave Mall/6th Street, Harare, on Friday 26 February from 9am.

Born out of a workshop for women artists from the disciplines of music, poetry, theatre and dance in 2007, the establishment of AWIPAZ is in response to a call for a national representative body. The workshop identified a lack of knowledge of the performing arts industry beyond the stage, but also revealed the capacity and determination of women artists to survive and succeed.

Since then, Harare arts organisation Pamberi Trust, through its gender programme FLAME (Female Literary, Arts & Music Enterprise), has taken responsibility for nurturing this vital development. Pamberi Trust has facilitated consultative meetings with 134 women artists from all ten provinces of the country, in cooperation with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, inviting their input and participation to develop a constitution which will serve their needs.

The primary objective of AWIPAZ is to develop the capacity of Zimbabwean women in performing arts and enhance their true participation in the building of an arts industry which provides enough space and support for them to grow and succeed. In pursuance of its objectives, AWIPAZ will recognize and uphold principles of gender equity and equality, support and commitment, equitable distribution of responsibilities, continuous learning, respect for womens rights, and respect for every persons dignity.

Harare artists who have already shown their commitment by reaching out to their provincial counterparts, include Dudu Manhenga, Selmor Mtukudzi, Edith Katiji, ERS Muchemwa, Theresa Muchemwa, Kessia Magosha, Batsirai Chigama, Aura Kawanzaruwa, Tariro Ruzvidzo Carmen Hwarari, Clare Nyakujara and Penny Yon. Women artists in each province have already met to select representatives and 40 women from around Zimbabwe will converge in Harare to attend the Friday 26 February meeting, to plot the way forward for the emerging association.

Pamberi Trust operations manager Ian White, said: It is groundbreaking work which will go down in the history of the arts in Zimbabwe, and we invite all women artists to support the new development.

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