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Standing up for the arts in Zimbabwe

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I’m feeling really proud of people in the art and culture community who have come out so publicly in support of Rooftop Promotions during their trials and tribulations with the Zimbabwe government who have been so set on silencing the arts.

Here are some of the solidarity messages that Rooftop got – together we can do more.

“We celebrate this judgment with Rooftop Promotions, the Rituals Cast and the artists in Zimbabwe in general and believe this will only help and enhance the development and promotion of arts and culture in Zimbabwe. Congratulations! Makorokoto! Amhlope! and look forward to the artists producing more creative work for the upliftment and betterment of Zimbabwe” – Elvas Mari – Director:- National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

“May this give you encouragement in your other projects that may help to move our country forward. Glory to God for Zimbabwe’s courts!” – Ray Mawerera – Words and Images

“Well, congratulations and makorokoto to you and the Rituals team – as well as your lawyers, of course! As you say, the actors’ acquittal on charges of causing a public nuisance was a predictable outcome – what other conclusion could the magistrate have come to? But the case illustrates the overzealous nature of those applying the rule of law in Zimbabwe and highlights the undemocratic and dangerous habit that has become normal practice in this country of depriving innocent citizens of their liberty even on the most flimsy accusations. In most democracies depriving citizens of their freedom – let alone their right to free expression – is an extreme step taken as a last resort to ensure the successful administration of justice.” – Andy Moyse -Project Coordinator , Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)

“Congratulations. This is our Zimbabwe, and that is what it does also”!  – Tsitsi Dangarembga – Novelist and Film maker

“I can only say Makorokoto Justice has been done.” – Marie – Luise Tebbe

“Makorokoto daves and all involved, gives a little hope for the judicial system.” – Alice Hamilton

“Congratulations – a victory for one is a victory for all. Enjoy! (and then move on to the next struggle with renewed energy and the knowledge that you are in the right!)” – Margaret Ling

“Congratulations. I said it was a waste of time and tax payers’ resources. Well done my brother. Pass my regards to the Rituals team! A victory for Rituals team is a victory for Africa!” – Karegwa Muchiri – All Africa Dance Festival – Kenya

“Good news indeed!” – Ms Tafadzwa R Muropa, Co-ordinator- Gender Alternatives Trust (GAT)

“Congratulations on the outcome of the courtcase!” – Laura Mackenzie Stuart, Scotland

“Makorokoto. The just always prevail. The truth remains just.” – Nicholas Moyo – Deputy Director:- National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

“Thanks to God that wisdom has prevailed over confusion! May there be more such outcomes. I am hoping that as painful as this experience was, the resulting good will be immeasurable – for your team members, for the police and other authorities who were involved, for Zimbabwe’s justice system, for the arts, and for our National Healing and Reconciliation process.” – Reverend Shirley DeWolf – Africa University

“This is the moment we have been all waiting for, the verdict is out! The Court has delivered justice in favour of freedom of artistic expression. the benchmark has been set. hence forth, we can not settle for less as far as demanding and defending the right to free creative expression.” – Josh Nyapimbi Country Rep Arterial Network

“Congratulation on acquittal of all artists Thank you for taking a brave stance in using theatre voice as a powerful communicating tool in the rural areas especially. The whole case shows there is a lot of paranoia involved from the security forces. And does their paranoia mean they fear loosing the whole battle?” – Zuzana

“Congrats, despite the whole fiasco being a complete nuisance in itself. Aluta continua!”. – Chirikure Chirikure – Poet

“Hilarious irony, comic incompetence. If only it were not about people’s lives, we could laugh at it!” – Anonymous

“I watched Rituals and I think it is a brilliant piece of work. The cast is amazing too. It is a shame if it is viewed with such suspicion. We know what happened in the past and, if national healing is to work well among our people, we need such productions so that we may debate these things with the intention of not, and never going back there. We are talking of neighbours and relatives who need to reconcile, who need to heal the wounds etc. “Nxa singazenzeli akula ozasenzela” – Albert Nyathi – Poet

“Rooftops have given everything to keep Zimbabwean theatre at the top. Is this the only way the Zimbabwean authorities know to pay them back? Soyinka said, I don’t care about the colour of the foot pressing my neck.–I just want to remove it.” – Stanley Makuwe – Playwright

“To the cast, “do not be alarmed!! It could be worse. You were arrested by a department (ZRP) of the home affairs ministry after getting a performance licence from another department (censorship) of the same home affairs ministry. Can you imagine what could have happened if it was a different ministry altogether!!!” – Walter Muparutsa

“Please convey my commendations to the ‘Rituals’ team for triumphing in refusing to be co-erced into paying fines against their wills and consciences- if more people do that then justice can have a chance to prevail. And congratulations also to their lawyers for a job well done! Best wishes for as Zimbabwe can only move towards freedom of speech and conscience. It is neither possible nor permissible to go backwards!”  – Jessie Majome MP, Deputy Minister – Women Affairs, Gender & Community Development

“I applaud the team for their efforts in liberating art and media in Zimbabwe. As far as I have seen, every nation that once suffered some form of oppression was blessed with artists gifted in various arenas, who would use their tools to fight to emancipate the suffering. What you capture will be part of a future syllabus in History. I know your pain and suffering having once walked that bitter path too and I encourage you to let that which burns alive in you live on!”  – Christina Chemhuru

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