Peter Matika, Senior Life Reporter
TWO of Zimbabwe’s top arts organisations — the Youth Cultural Arts Festival (Yocaf) and Zimbabwe Championships of Performing Arts (ZiCOPA) have signed a partnership to give young people access to participate in the annual World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) in Long Beach California, USA next year. Hundreds of youths are expected to audition for the most sought after spots at the National Talent Competition to be hosted by ZiCOPA at the end of September 2017 in Bulawayo and Harare respectively.
In line with WCOPA, the categories of the talent competition include: singing, dancing, modelling, acting and instrument playing.
Zimbabwe is well-known for raising artistes and stars that achieved national and international acclaim including Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo, John Vlismas and many more — thus the ZiCOPA and Yocaf partnership believe it can contribute to producing young and enterprising talent by breaking the barriers of entry. The partnership will see an expansion of the competition by widening access through the school network giving more Zimbabwean performers a platform to excel and, access training and mentorship opportunities.
Yocaf, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest youth festivals has become a mainstay of development of arts in schools and communities and that has contributed immensely to the growth of the arts industry in the country.
With its expansive reach which cuts across both urban and rural communities — Yocaf has become a beacon for young people’s creative expression and consistent artistic platform. Its strategic posture is also focusing in training and educational element. This approach ensures that once the talent is selected, appropriate coaching and mentoring is also offered to prepare them for a brighter future.
An elated Leeroy Gono, the founding director of Yocaf said: “This partnership has been three years in the making and, it has always been our goal to expose Zimbabwean rich talents in the youth to the world and we are happy to have partnered with ZiCOPA.
‘ZiCOPA is a growing brand with the capacity to take Zimbabwean talents to the next level. The partnership will facilitate the convergence of authentic young African talent with global opportunity by providing access to the global stage of the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood, USA,” said Gono.
ZiCOPA, a vehicle of the WCOPA responsible for the management and execution of the Zimbabwean Championships is fast becoming the country’s prestigious national talent competition of the highest standard ever to be presented in the performing arts sector. It is created to be the most successful performing Arts movements in the African continent by exposing and nurturing a crop of world class African talent. ZiCOPA has thus far produced a grand Champion of the World, won numerous medals and scholarships and is now driving more numbers in the representation in order to make an even greater impact.
Expressing her excitement on the partnership, Jessica Nyarayi Tandy — the co-founder and Director of ZiCOPA said the partnership would see Africa grow in the arts sector.
“We are about partnership, that is how we Africans will succeed. We partner with existing arts bodies, competitions, and festivals while offering them a platform to add to their business value proposition to take their contestants and their craft to the next level,” said Tandy.
“ZiCOPA is a supportive framework to talent with the aim of taking it to a higher level and this we realised by growing the scout network and strategic partnerships. We believe partnerships have to be formed on the basis of shared values while ensuring that world class ready contestants are selected from this pool to represent Zimbabwe at the world championships,” added Tandy.
This year’s Yocaf which will be held in September will also be used as a platform to scout talent for the World Championships.
Zicopa and Yocaf partnership seeks to create an environment that allows authentic talent, global opportunity and socio-economic development to collide on the African continent. The partnership will see the growth of the youth element at African level, tapping into the successes of Yocaf and expanding that to the African market.
The greater vision is to unearth African talent and showcase them to the world, bringing an educational element by exposing them to the various aspects of the industry and building a national brand that proudly represents Zimbabwe at the highest standards and achievements.
Registrations are now open and are done online on the Zicopa website www.zicopa.org and on the Zicopa Facebook page.