The group’s director, Lloyd Mujuru, said the group was helping stir debate within the community on important issues.
“We don’t offer solutions to the problems. We identify the problems and provoke people into talking, so that solutions come from the community itself,” he says.
Their methodology is based on theatre for development and forum theatre. To maintain the authenticity of their work, Mujuru says their scripts come from research and interaction with the community.
“When we perform, we want to perform the issues as highlighted by the people. We don’t perform in theatres but prefer to go into the community, because that is where our message is needed the most,” he says.
They refer to the open space where they do most of their performances as “our own theatre of dreams”, but many times they have had to contend with conditions rather more nightmarish, including spilt sewage.
“The community theatre undertaken by Berina Community Arts is a theatre that speaks to the common man in his or her language, dealing with issues that have a direct relevance to the community,” Berina’s information officer George Mabwe elaborates.
Mabwe adds that the group’s main focus is human rights issues. He explains that this is important because to most people “human rights” is simply a political term.
“They are not aware that many of the issues that affect them in their day-to-day lives are human rights issues. Issues to do with decent accommodation and access to clean and adequate water are all human rights issues that the people need to be made aware of,” Mabwe says.
Founded in 2011, Berina was the name given to the first residential area for Africans in Kadoma during the colonial era. The group is made up of primary schoolchildren and young adults.
“We want also to give children a voice in advocating for their own rights, as they are the most vulnerable to poor sanitary conditions, and their development is hampered by overcrowded and inhuman living conditions,” Mujuru says.
The children form an integral part of the group’s performances. Their energetic and enthusiastic performances are the group’s mobilising tool. When a performance is about to begin, it is the children’s traditional performances that draw in the crowds.
Their joy and energetic dances belie the problems they have had to face in their young lives. Mujuru says the kids are undeterred and he hopes that one day they will be able to realise their dreams and hold onto the enthusiasm of their youth.Post published in: Arts