No Voice, No Choice out of Intwasa

BULAWAYO - The controversy-riddled play No Voice, No Choice by Harare-based playwright Tafadzwa Muzondo has been plucked out of the Intwasa Arts Festival following its eventual ban by the Board of Censors of Zimbabwe.

The play was one of the main theatrical drawcards at the week-long multi-disciplinary arts fete scheduled for September 18 to 22.

The Censorship Board considered the act as “inciteful and against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation.”

But, in a bid to overturn the decision, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has since approached the courts.

Speaking to the Daily News, festival director Raisedon Baya said his organisation respects the laws of this country.

“As a festival, we subscribe to the notion of free speech and the freedom to create but at the same time, we subscribe to the laws that govern this country,” said Baya.

“The play has been officially banned and as a result, the cast cannot perform at the festival. As an organisation, we only work with people whose works have been officially cleared.

“What we have done so far is we have temporarily removed it from the programme. But when I spoke to Tafadzwa Muzondo recently, we agreed that if by any miracle, it manages to be unbanned just before the festival then we can always reprogramme it,” Baya further said.

The political satire was scheduled to showcase once on the last day of the festival at Bulawayo Theatre.

Despite its ban, Baya however, said he still believed in the credibility of the satirical play.

“For us as a festival, we do not have any problem with it, from what we understand, we believe the play is all about healing and reconciliation,” he said.

No Voice, No Choice, whose cast consists of Zvido Zvevanhu Arts Ensemble and Edzai Isu Theater Arts Project, was initially clogged from showcasing in Masvingo by the police last month as it was deemed a threat to national security.

Soon after that, it was banned from showcasing at the Chimanimani Arts Festival for similar reasons.
But before its ban, the play had showcased in South Africa and Zambia, while locally it was staged in Harare, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces.

According to the Censorship Board, “the play is too direct and can easily read into the insinuation of the words and messages and associate them with certain individuals and institutions and the vulgar and obscene language used. The play is inciteful and against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation.”

However, the play was part of the eight, new and old theatrical works lined up for the eighth edition of Bulawayo’s top arts jamboree.

When Angels Weep, The Father, The Hot Haus, Between the Lines and the Breath of Origins, are some of the works from outside the City of Kings set to thrill theatre lovers.

The Immigrants, Dolls House, Stitsha and The Lion and the Jewel will make part of Bulawayo-based theatrical performances.


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