Masike hails special schools festival

HARARE - Mbira star Hope Masike feels honoured to be associated with the Special Schools Arts Festival which kicks off in the Harare Gardens at midday today.

Masike, who recently returned from a two-week tour of Europe, will be one of facilitators of several arts workshops designed to help school-going artists with disabilities fulfil their artistic potential.

Masike is confident that the festival will help to motivate physically challenged young artists.

“It takes someone with great passion to achieve such a unique and grand event.

“We have a deficit of festivals in Zimbabwe and having more will improve growth of artists,” said the award-winning mbira star.

“We are also trying to kill the spirit of begging. I would really love, one day, to see, a cultural ambassador in a wheel chair.

“Having a festival of physically-challenged artists elevates them and also gives them a chance to interact with promoters and business people in arts industry.”

Masike who is a former Danhiko Secondary School student said her passion for the festival is influenced by her long association with physically-challenged people.

“Because I went to school with disabled people, I have learnt to accept that we are all the same. It takes a split second to become like them. I learnt to appreciate that disability is not inability and supporting this festival is such an honour."

“It is an opportunity for society to interact with physically challenged people and they will be surprised disabled people can actually do some things better.”

The mbira princess will lead a workshop based on moral values and conduct of artists.

Masike’s workshop is part of many set for this morning at St. Giles Special School.

They will bring together children with disabilities, arts educators and practitioners from several disciplines to share ideas.

“My topic for the workshop will be centred on Who am I? I will be focusing on moral values and the artist as an ambassador. Artists should realise that society looks up to them.”

As part of the festival’s activities, the children will also collaborate with role models and adult artists with disabilities.

Timothy Dube (guitarist), Nompilo Nkomo, (painter who uses her legs to draw), Jose Shavieri (a Harare guitarist with one arm), Soul Bon (RnB artist), Stitches, a mbira band who recorded their first album while still students at St. Giles and gospel artist Munyaradzi Munodawafa have been invited to the festival.

This year’s Special Schools Arts Festival has been made possible through funding from the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, CBZ Bank Limited, the European Union and Sida.

Schools participating in this year’s edition of the festival include Emerald Hill School for the Deaf, Danhiko Secondary School, Munashe Special School, Mutendi Resource Units for the Blind, Jairos Jiri Southerton, ZimCARE Special Schools, Copota School for the Blind, Jairos Jiri Kadoma for the Blind, Mrewa Resource Unit for the Blind, St. Giles Special School and Sibantubanye Special School. - Tarisai Machakaire

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