The Sunday News
Mthabisi Tshuma, Sunday Life Correspondent
IF you are a sucker for developmental art in any arts genre then you would understand that the small mining town, south of the country, Gwanda, is growing to another level and that can not be disputed.
In the past, the arts scene of the town had turned to a white elephant with just less than a handful of meaning events set to lift the arts status quo of the province’s capital.
The Bolamba performing arts made history last year by becoming the first Gwanda-based dance group to win the national Chibuku Neshamwari Dance Festival competitions.
This year, they did it again by being nominated in the Nama awards in the Outstanding dance group category with the Jahunda community arts joining them for being nominated in the Outstanding theatre production category.
Tough luck to them all as they did not manage to clinch the gongs, but exposure and opening of doors nationally are an inevitability they have inherited that will definitely bloom their careers.
Director of the Jahunda community group Adrian “Drivo” Musa says the nomination has influenced them to write more pieces and urged the public to expect fireworks this year.
“The nomination opened our minds and we are in the move of writing more plays which are up to standard and reflect on the Zimbabwean lifestyle influenced by the ambition of broadening our popularity across borders,” Drivo says.
The arts group has since set every Friday as the airing of their plays at Jahunda community hall as they call on youngsters to embrace their culture.
In 2016, Gwanda joined the entertainment party vibe by being home of the country’s vibrant gospel event, the Gwanda Gospel festival which has seen renowned gospel singer Rebecca and the late national hero, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi thronging the mining town for an A-list line-up event.
A year after, the town’s event organisers slowly incorporated the idea of developing arts into the next level with the Miss Mkhekhelezi modelling pageant opening doors for young modellers as young as 16.
Tomang Pindi, a Gwanda bar proprietor has expressed the need for event organisers to play a pivotal role in the uplifting of the arts sector in small towns.
“Given the chance I will continue to ensure that our young artistes are given the voice as not only does it uplift them but also the communities there are entrusted to,” he said.
History is since being made in terms of shows lined up in the mining town for the past months and for this year’s independence and Easter celebrations.
In the past party goers would not have to crack his or her mind in choosing where to party in these festivities but alas this time around, a party puzzle is needed to guide the patron’s place of partying with almost every nightclub and promoters having something for their patrons.
Three modelling pageants were held over the Easter weekend, for the first time in the history of the existence of the town.