“Rituals” perseveres in Mashonaland Central

RITUALS perseveres in MASHONALAND Central PROVINCE Rooftop team arrested and released with no charge.

The last province (Mashonaland Central) of the Rituals tour was forcefully suspended on the 18th February after only two performances owing to an objection by ZANU PF Muzarabani parliamentarian who made sure the entire Rituals team (including a NATIONAL Arts Council of Zimbabwe official and two nominees for the National Arts Merits Awards 2011) were thrown in police cells. As a result, the producer of the production, which was nominated for Outstanding Theatrical production and Mandla Moyo (nominated for Best Theatre Actor) and Joyce Mpofu (nominated for Outstanding Theatre Actress) could not attend the NAMA 2011 Awards Ceremony. The two artistes were part of the Rituals team that was arrested by Centenary POLICE Station just before 6pm, detained overnight and transferred to Bindura Police where they were released on Saturday soon after 7pm represented by human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama with no charge. Joyce Mpofu went on to win the award for Best Actress in Theatre in absentia as she was still in Bindura.

The team started the day with Mahuwe where the show went very well and people were given DVDs of Rituals, Waiting for Constitution and Heal the Wounds during a discussion forum. Then it moved to Chawarura where they performed for up to 100 people and left the same DVD titles in a discussion after the play. Having fulfilled their goal of two shows, they then headed straight for Harare only to be intercepted by gun wielding police officers as they entered the small town of Centenary, who took them to Centenary Police Station just before 6pm. Our charge was not mentioned until the arrival of Muzarabani MP, Raradza who supervised the interrogation process and made sure we were detained for a fictitious charge (undermining the authority of the president) says Rooftop Promotions Marketing and Sales Executive as well as incumbent tour manager Tafadzwa Muzondo in concurrence with the rest of the cast.

The ironic and funny part of it is that firstly, we were advancing objectives of the Zimbabwean society at large in line with the primary reason for existence and relevance of the artist (being mirrors of society) and secondly we were merely buttressing the intention of the Organ on national healing, reconciliation and integration which falls under the Office of the President and Cabinet and were actually acknowledging the commitment of the leadership of the 3 Principles in the inclusive government to non violent politics as per their own words in the end of last year message. We strongly believe there are people out there who still believe they are running fiefdoms and who do not want our communities to engage openly and map resolutions that advance their development. Police were duly notified of the program and did acknowledge receipt of such notifications but someone misinterpreted, deliberately or ignorantly, the program as campaigning for some party yet we are an apolitical organization that strives for freedom of expression and creativity and as such, these wayward, errant and intimidatory tactics only embolden our spirits as well as enhance our resolve to carry out our work says Daves Guzha the Producer of Rooftop Promotions.

This is the 3rd time this production has fallen under the spotlight of law enforcement agents despite the fact that it has all relevant clearance certificates as well as having won an interdict in Bulawayo Magistrate Court which gave it the green light to be performed without undue hindrance by any law enforcement agent(s).

The last four shows in the 100 performance tour which has seen the production consumed in all the ten provinces of Zimbabwe will be carried out today (22nd February) in Glendale, Nzvimbo, Bare and Centenary before it embarks on a regional and international tour.

Rituals is written by veteran writer Stephen Chifunyise, directed and produced by Daves Guzha and featuring: Mandla Moyo, Joyce Mpofu, Silvanos Mudzvova, Zenzo Nyathi, Rutendo Chigudu and Chipo Bizure, with Norman Kamena and Joshua Mwase providing live percussion (mbira, ngoma and hosho).

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