Home » Arts & Culture » Protester Disrupts Hifa Play

The just ended Harare International Festival of the Arts’ controversial play “Lovers in Time”, which got the limelight for wrong reasons during the arts fecircte was disrupted by a protester at its last show on Sunday.

The play was temporarily stopped when dub poet Sekuru Tozi stormed the stage protesting what he labelled as distortion of history and misrepresentation of African legacies.

In the play, Mbuya Nehanda returns as a man who bumps into her fellow spirit medium Sekuru Kaguvi.

The duo goes through a series of character changes as they travel through Zimbabwe until they are hanged by two drunken white men. The character changes portray the spirit mediums in bad light.

Sekuru Tozi who shouted in disapproval was quickly whisked away by security personnel manning the entrance.

The poet explained why he chose to make his discomfort known when he spoke to The Herald Entertainment.

“It’s disheartening that such plays have to be shown in front of all Zimbabweans especially to us Africans. The play was sarcastically mocking all of us Africans and depicting our spirit mediums Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi as a confused lot.

“I even wonder why some sane Africans were finding it amusing when they had their heroes denigrated.

“The problem is that such plays are only shown because someone wants to please some sections of society but that cannot be done through distorting their history.

“It was really art in bad taste,” said the poet.

Although the play was temporarily stopped amid the chaos, it later on resumed, though on a low spirited tempo. Other artistes present at the play, however, condemned the way Tozi handled his protests suggesting that he should have complained in a more “civilised” manner.

Veteran play writer and actor Daves Guzha said Tozi might have had different viewpoints but he should have followed the proper channels.

“We are always aocating for tolerance as artistes, but what just happened was uncalled for.

“Everyone is entitled to their views but one should always use the right channels if they have complaints than to disrupt a performance midway as that does not only question our professionalism as artistes but also generally cripples the growth of the sector,” he said.

But Tozi insisted it was his right as a free Zimbabwean to express his feelings and especially so when his culture was being misrepresented.

“It was their right to freely express themselves though they never cared to consider how much distasteful their views were or how much their views may affect others.

“On the other hand, it is also my right to express how I felt about their viewpoint and doing it without violence means I only did what the Constitution prescribes,” said Tozi.

The play was written by Blessing Hungwe and in its cast included names such as Michael Kudakwashe and the Mafrique duo of Pauline and Diskord amongst others.

Source : The Herald

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