30 March 2016 – ZIM’s censorship board government has allowed Rooftop Promotions to stage only five performances of a play which was banned in the country 12 years ago, at the same venue, Theatre in the Park, says Rooftop Promotions producer, Daves Guzha, at the official launch of the new venue in Harare on Tuesday evening.
Guzha, who also also acts as the president of the country in the play,says: “In 2003 Theatre in the Park performed this play in our old venue, the thatched structure across the park. The Censorship Board declared that it would cause alarm and despondency and banned it. Unable to perform in our own community, we took the production to the international stage, performing to wide acclaim in theaters across the world. For the first time in twelve years, we are bringing the play home,” he says.
The play, titled Super Patriots and Morons, made its debut in Zimbabwe in 2003 and was banned by the country’s censorship board after a series of performances.
Written by Raisedon Baya, the play depicts a country whose economy has deteriorated and has its citizens queuing for basic necessities because of chronic shortages of goods.
Although the Censorship Board did not give reasons for the banning of the play, it was widely believed that it was political, as what the play depicted was typical of what was happening in the country then when the economy went on its knees and inflation hit historic levels.
However, Guzha says the board had only allowed them to hold five performances at the Theater in the Park and nowhere else.
He said there was need for engagement between the communities and the leaders of the country to have open creative spaces, adding that the political leadership needed to know that the people felt the degeneration of all systems in the country, including the political situation.
“Over the past decade, we have watched the degeneration of leadership in Zimbabwe. We have seen our political situation become a sad farce, for a cast of hyperbolic characters. The politicians seem more and more like mediocre actors playing to a crowd, forgetting their lines, squabbling over the best props or the brightest spotlight, stumbling over the disintegrating stage,” he says.
Guzha said politicians had not only misappropriated the country’s resources but had also appropriated the country’s history and culture.
“Our roles as actors have been appropriated by men in expensive suits with a taste for melodrama.
“At Theatre in the Park, we are reclaiming our spaces. We are taking back our role as actors on Zimbabwe’s stage. We are re-appropriating the conversation and demanding that the politicians stop pushing us out.” – ANA edited by Patience Rusere