Chinotimba not given Book Cafe guest slot

Joseph Chinotimba was not invited to give a guest performance at the Book Café’s International Carnival Comedy Night last week, as reported in various online media. He attended a cultural performance there and spoke to the artists from Simuka who agreed that he could tell a few jokes, says the director Paul Brickhill.

Joseph Chinotimba
Joseph Chinotimba

He said Zimbabweans should value and appreciate cultural inclusivity and development considering that there is increasing cultural fragmentation, and called on journalists to be fair in their reportage of news rather than focusing on personalities.

“From Book Café and Pamberi Trust perspective, the series of events was about Relinking Communities through Culture, where we had 50 acts and over 250 artists in three locations over eight days,” said Brickhill. “The venue never interferes with artists’ expression or content. As the Book Café, we are dedicated to freedom of expression and without question, all this was spontaneous.”

He revealed that on the day in question, the Book Café was packed and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority confirmed to management at around 7:30 pm for the 8 pm comedy show.

Brickhill said they were advised that all the Miss Carnival finalists were expected with a number of Carnival guests, some 40 or more on the guest list, including visitors to Zimbabwe.

“A table was prepared, all quite last minute and it turned out that one of the guests was Chinotimba, who had accompanied the ladies from Miss Carnival under the auspices of ZTA,” he said.

“From the Book Café’s perspective, this was impromptu, but to be fair, quite properly done.”

He said although it is true that at some point, Chinotimba told some jokes, it was important to stress the diversity of all cultures in Zimbabwe instead of focusing on personalities.

“The issue here is one of addressing cultural fragmentation that has occurred over the last decade and more. Our program was that of cultural inclusivity, tolerance and celebration of all home-grown cultural products,” said Brickhill.

“Emphasis should be placed on the fast-rising culture of stand-up comedy considering that it is a cultural phenomenon of importance, which is somewhat more relevant than who was there.”

The Book Café is a community arts centre, which serves a large and diverse cultural community in Harare and beyond.

It stages 700 events a year and attracts an audience of over 55,000 people. Last year, 135 bands and acts took the Book Café stage and at least 1, 200 artists work in and with the Book Café in various ways.

Post published in: Arts

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