Zanu supporters take over theatre

A group of mostly Zanu (PF) supporters have taken over the Masvingo Charles Austin theatre, elbowing out a consortium of white Zimbabweans who had been operating the premises for decades.

The group, made up of wives of soldiers and senior government workers, effectively took over the property on New year’s Eve, claiming that they were acting in line with the government indigenisation policy, which stipulates that all foreign-owned companies have to cede 51 per cent of their shares to local black people.

Sources privy to the events said the white theatre organisers left the premises following threats from Zanu (PF) supporters that they were racists who needed to be punished.

One of the people who took over and has since assumed the post of bar manager, Robson Mashiri, confirmed to The Zimbabwean that they were now in full control of the premises.

“We are now running this place and people should understand that we did not chase anyone away but we held elections and all the whites lost,” said Mashiri.

“We then co-opted other members and everything seems to be going on well and we hope things will continue as usual,” he added. Jabulani Mzinyathi, who has since assumed the post of treasurer, had no kind words for the white community in the country. “These people (whites) exploited our forefathers for years and they do not deserve any mercy,” said Mzinyathi, who is also a magistrate in Masvingo.

“We are not going back in our crusade to make sure that blacks get the share of the economic cake,” he added. “We are going to set our own standards and no-one should measure our ability to run these premises based on the standards that were set by these whites,” he said.

“As Zimbabweans and Africans, we are able to run our things more efficiently than whites and those who think whites are superior have a slave-master mentality.”

Former mayor of the city Doug Hill, who was the treasurer of the Masvingo Drama Circle, confirmed he was no longer running the premises.

“I am no longer part of the set-up at the theatre,” said Hill. “I have decided to retire and we are communicating well with those who have taken over.” Sources, however, said the whites were threatened with being beaten up.

The theatre used to host functions run by whites resident in Masvingo province. Entry was by invitation, prompting the Masvingo community to think that the premises were only reserved for whites. In fact, blacks were entitled to host their own functions at the theatre too.

Sources said Masvingo Drama Circle had a 100-year-lease, allowing them to use the theatre.

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  1. farai zhou

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