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Since the 1890s the struggle for Zimbabwe’s liberation from the cruel colonist minority began with our forefathers,freedom in totality continues to be a dream because of the interlinked challenges from the problem source. First it was the gruesome liberation war in which innumerable perished and untold suffering inflicted on the masses for several decades until the attainment of political independence in 1980.

Numerous challenges pursued thereafter including the freeing of the land and economy from the colonial source which was met with relentless resistance by the kith and keen of the colonists, bringing the current economic hardship the country is enduring. All this was put across to the young and upcoming visual artists to reflect upon in an art exhibition themed “Born Free: A Whole New Mind” currently running at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare.

The show was put together in commemoration of the country’s 35th independence and also mindful of the youths’ perspectives born during this period as the custodians of the country’s future.

Theirs are mostly the current hardships brought upon by the economic embargo imposed by the Western countries after the country took on another revolution of land reform as the basis of economic empowerment to the general populace and the short political impasse which wanted to derail the focus and of-course what they heard and ready about the country’s liberation struggle.

The exhibition dedicated to those born free from the colonial rule gave the participants the free passage to express their views in which way in a domain which for decades was strictly for the foreign colonists where indigenous cultural activities and freedom of expressions were forbidden.

But now the freedom is enshrined in the new country’s constitution which the born frees contributed in its formulation and the creative practitioners did justice to the platform.

“Mazvake Mazvake”, Munyaradzi Mugorosa’s painting rough in mixed media texture depicts of houses from a bird’s eye view with no living organism in sight. The streets are bare suggesting there is no public sharing of info and socialisation is strained. Whilst we witness the people’s world go round, whatever they are doing to keep it rotating on its axis takes place in close doors.

“Mazvake Mazvake” means ways of individualism. It is the current order of the day whether in politics or business, the corruption in various sectors and all other unorthodox means of attaining survival, everything is revolving around certain inner circles and in private. As expected in societies of such, efforts to cultivate national development are undermined.

Clive Mukucha’s two part series of ‘Not Yet Uhuru’ in acrylics on canvas sparingly spread by a palate knife narrate how his generation of born-frees seem to never have tested the fruits of independence. When they had grown to become fully aware of their environment in the 1990s there were the economic structural adjustment programs that forced many people out of work in surroundings that dictated employment was the only way of living.

They became impoverished into land reform of the 2000 which was met with relentless resistance from the former colonists and their Western world relatives who had the country’s economy at the throng-hold.

They imposed unforgiving economic sanctions on the country which are the source of today’s severe hardships. A political stir initiated and funded by the same detractors aggravated the situation to make those conceived after 1980 wonder how these torrid times differ from those of the war of the liberation struggle.

Of course there is great difference as the former was a matter of life and death with daily dodging of bullets and various explosives, immense oppression without any economic benefits to allude to and the people under equipped with limited education.

Whilst the latter is severe economic hardship without a sound resource base but well equipped with knowledge and the land.

These youths of today are observant as well as reflectors of our way of life and their ability and desire to transform their visual perception into material form is as vital as any of the past recorders of our history as they tell the present for the future.

Other participants of the “Born Free: A Whole New Mind” exhibition include Mavis Tauzeni with her panting in acrylics titled “Aligiance to the Flag the call us the Born Free”, Tsungai Magwade with “The Concrete Jungle” in oils on canvas, Michael Hela with his “1980 Legacy” in mixed media, Tatenda Kapadza with “Journey of a Life Time” in mixed media, Vimbainashe Magoma showing a textile titled “A Child of our Time”, Option Nyahunzvi showcasing “Passive Gomorrah” in acrylics on canvas, Edwin Chinyama with “Burden over my Shoulder” a mixed media on canvas, Franklyn Dzingai with an untitled print, Kudakwashe Dongo showing “Monopoly” an oil on canvas, Tafadzwa Gwetai showing “Family Photo” in oils on canvas, Kudzanai Mavhura with “Tarisiro Huru” a burnt sand and glue on paper, Tatenda Zangira showcasing mixed media work titled “Prophetic Horse” and “Harods Act of Night”, Salanje Sky showcasing “First Night” in acrylics on canvas, Tinashe Katandawa with “Better Days” in acrylics on canvas, and Thomas Mwasangwale showcasing “Ghetto Yut” an acrylic on canvas to mention a few.

Source : The Herald

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