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Censoring national healing

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Please read this press statement from Rooftop Promotions and email them a solidarity message to help keep them positive.

I hope this mail finds you well. As the “Rituals” 10 member team (8 artists, 1 driver and 1 Tour Manager), which was arrested at Nhedziwa Business Centre in Cashel Valley on 5 January 2011 and detained for two nights before being released by Mutare Magistate’s Court, is set to appear before the Mutare Magistrate’s Court on 17 March 2011 being charged with “criminal nuisance” under the Criminal Law (Codification & Reform) Act, we appeal to artists, cultural and civic activists to issue solidarity messages with the 10 as they stand for freedom of artistic expression.

According to filed papers, the group allegedly “intentionally and unlawfully made noise or disturbance and beating drums in a public place performing drama reminiscent of political disturbabces of June 2008 elections. The drama incited the affected members of the public to revive their differences”.

“This is clear suppression of our artistic work in promoting national  healing and reconciliation, through a play that has been seen by the  Organ on National Healing Reconciliation and Integration and has been approved by the Board of Censors, and discussing an issue (political violence) which the GPA and its principals acknowledge that it needs to be addressed. We are disturbed but not discouraged or disheartened, by this especially considering that we hold a valid censorship certificate from a board which falls under the same ministry (Home Affairs) and theatre is one of the exemptions under POSA.

This is a piece of art nominated for National Arts Merits Awards 2010 Outstanding Theatrical production which is meant to promote community driven healing and reconciliation and has opened constructive dialogue in communities in a 100 performances tour that began in mid- December last year and ended on 22 February 2011 having covered Harare, Manicaland, Midlands, Bulawayo, Matebeleland North, Mashonaland West and Central provinces” says Daves Guzha, Producer of Rooftop Promotions.

“Rituals” is written by Stephen Chifunyise after going through a research on community approaches to healing and reconciliation, directed and produced by Daves Guzha, featuring arguably Zimbabwe’s best theatre talent who include: Mandla Moyo, Zenzo Nyathi, Joyce Mpofu, Chipo Bizure, Silvanos Mudzvova and Rutendo Chigudu with music from Joshua Mwase and Norman Kamema. It is a story told in panoramic fashion chronicling how community initiated cultural solutions meet with serious challenges which either prevent their conclusive enactment or achievement of the desired results.

The cast stood for their artistic freedom and freedom of expression and now its time for us to stand with them by sending your solidarity messages rooftop [at] zol [dot] co [dot] zw or posting them on our facebook account: Rooftop Zimbabwe Group or on Twitter:- rooftopTITP or website:- www.rooftoppromotions.org

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