BULAWAYO - Poet and women rights activist Albert Nyathi yesterday began a nationwide tour to audition for a multilingual 20-track album of gender-sensitive and non-sexist songs.
The award-winning artist told the Daily News that the project, which seeks to promote gender equality, will be anchored by a documentary.
“The major objective of the project is to advance gender equality among Zimbabweans through arts and culture interactions that enable knowledge enhancement.
“The initiative attempts to increase the number of arts productions, especially music, with positive gender messages available to boys and girls. We hope this will encourage more reporting of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Zimbabwean communities.”
Nyathi revealed that the documentary, which will accompany the 20-track CD, will, among other things, capture the reactions of participating artists as well as members of the community to the project.
“This will be used to amplify community voices on GBV as well as track behaviour change impacts influenced by the arts.
“The project intends to sensitise and stimulate Zimbabwean artistes so that in the long run, in their own way, they can produce arts productions which dissuade violence against women and girls as opposed to contemporary music which ignores the impact of arts in the lives of the consumers,” he said.
The first phase of the auditions for the project kicked off in Binga yesterday and will continue in Hwange today. Nyathi and his team will then move to Victoria Falls. It is interesting that the first phase of the auditions took place in areas with minority languages that have often been disregarded during national programmes.
During the first phase of the auditions, Nyathi and his team were on the lookout for singers from minority languages like Tonga and Nambya.
In the next phase of the auditions, they will focus on identifying talent from other minority languages that include Kalanga (Plumtree), Sotho (Gwanda), chiVhenda (Beitbridge), Shangani (Chiredzi), Ndau (Chipinge) and Xhosa (Mbembesi).
“We will try and ensure that each Zimbabwean language is represented. Those who are successful will be recorded at a studio in Bulawayo by April. The artistes will undergo a theming and messaging workshop which will deepen their understanding on gender-based violence so that they can act as ambassadors of the anti-violence message against women and girls,” he explained.
Nyathi, a member of the Zimbabwe chapter of the UN Women Regional Creative Artists Advisory Council, said the project is being funded by Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust with support from the European Union, Sweden and Danida.