The Zimbabwean town of Bulawayo recently
finished hosting the 4th edition of Intwasa Arts Festival. During
the 5-day event, local and international playwrights, actors, dancers,
painters, poets and musicians exchanged ideas and showcased their different
talents. Voice of America English to Africa Service reporter Netsai Mlilo says Bulawayo residents and artists were
treated to a feast of entertainment.
Several authors, including renowned historian Pathisa
Nyathi, launched their latest books. Others exhibited paintings and sculptures
while poets read their compositions at "slam poetry"
or free verse sessions judged by the audience. Local and international
theater groups staged plays tackling a broad range of subjects. Aside from
showcasing their works, this year's Intwasa offered artists a chance to sharpen
Renowned American playwright, Leslie Lee, was one of
several international artists who attended the festival. Lee conducted a 2-week
workshop for local playwrights and actors. He said interacting with local artists gave him an idea of
the extent of the country's artistic talent: "There are stories to tell
here and I find that there is such a goldmine here for talent, for expression,
there are voices here that should be heard not only here in this country but
also throughout the world. Intwasa really is doing the right thing in showcasing
this talent here so you all here have something to be proud of."
American actress Heather Massies co-hosted a workshop
with Lee. She focused
on imparting acting skills to actors. Massie said she enjoyed conducting the
session and looks forward to coming back to conduct further training events, "Zimbabwe is a wonderful place.
It's been an honor to work with the artists here. They have so much to give and are making
beautiful art here. Not just the
writers but also the visual artists, the literary artists, the dance, the music
it's so full of life."
actor, Gift Chakuvinga, participated in a writers' workshop. He enjoyed
combing through different scripts and acting out lines from a variety of plays:
"It's been quite a challenge playing all these
different characters from different plays.
All these plays were worlds apart, so in a way it's something which has
really groomed me as an actor to be able to adapt very quickly to different
situations, different scenes and different writers' stories. Every writer has
his own way and his own way of presenting on stage so it's something which has
given me a lot of experience in terms of flexibility."
who's also attended all 4 Intwasa festivals, says he's delighted at the pace at
which the annual event is growing:
"Intwasa, I think it's growing in leaps and bounds
every year. It's been running, I mean
this is the fourth year and I think it's been bigger than the rest of the years
when it started. So I think I can say well done to the organizers and everyone
who was involved in making this festival a success."
the countdown to the next Intwasa Festival has already begun. Organizers
and artists say they hope next year they won't have to grapple with cash
shortages caused by the country's economic crisis.