'Bring back our $15 billion'

HARARE - Playwright and award-winning actor Sylvanos Mudzvova says now is not the time for theatre plays to be conducted in theatre halls but that they should be taken to the streets where the affected people are.

Today, Mudzvova will stage a one-man 30-minute play titled Bring Back the $15 billion in front of the Zimbabwean Parliament from 12 noon after which he will stage another showcase in front of the Chinese Embassy.

“I am inviting all Members of Parliament (MPs) to come and watch this play before they attend Parliament because I want them to address the issue of the missing $15 billion. We cannot just remain silent when such amounts go missing.

“What I am demanding is my share of that money — I mean me and my four kids. I want my $5 000 and I want answers from Parliament.

“From there I will go to the Chinese Embassy because a Chinese company was involved in the mining of diamonds in Marange.

“In China, they do not tolerate corruption, so why should it be tolerated here? After that, I will demonstrate at Mbada offices here in Harare,” said the controversial actor who has had a brush with law enforcement agencies over his plays.

In 2007, Mudzvova and Tongani Anthony Tongani were arrested at the premiere of The Final Push.

The play, written by Mudzvova, is about the chairman of a building called Liberty House (a thinly-disguised Mugabe) and his political challenger (presumed to be opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai) trapped together in an elevator during a power failure.

The internationally-acclaimed actor, who tried to have a one-man protest, was also once arrested by police when he wanted to march on Parliament building to demand that MPs and other elected officials should declare their assets before taking office.

Mudzvova said the police, despite earlier sanctioning his protest, made a U-turn and claimed his placards and petition were “subversive” and tantamount to “hate speech”.

The actor was taken to Harare Central Police Station where officers seized his placards.

One senior officer told Mudzvova, they could not allow his protest because it “posed a security threat as there were ZBC broadcast vans outside Parliament preparing to film the budget presentation.”

Mudzvova was later released. 

In 2011, Mudzvova was among the Rituals outreach team arrested and detained in Manicaland.

Meanwhile, Mudzvova challenged all theatre practitioners to think outside the box and abandon conventional theatres.

“Let us take our play where those affected people are. If we want to do a play on domestic violence, let us go to Epworth where it is rampant…you cannot go to 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale to raise such an issue.

“If we have problems with council, we have to perform at Town House, in front of the Mayor’s office, not at a theatre.  As for the missing billions, I will be staging more protests at all the ministers’ offices — I mean those involved; be it Finance ministry or Mines.”

Mudzvova hit out at Zimbabwe’s reluctance when it came to dealing with serious issues that needed the nation to fight together.

“I wish Itai (Dzamara) was here — he is one man I could have teamed up with on this cause. He was a foot soldier. When he decided to stage a demo few listened to him and even joined him, but now everyone seems to be ‘fighting’ for his return yet they ignored him when he needed everyone’s support.”

He urged Zimbabweans to move from Facebook or social media activism and do the real thing.

“Zimbabweans need to move and be proactive. Here is a man who physically approached the President’s Office with a letter demanding that Mugabe resigns and we failed to support him.“Our kids will laugh at us and say that we were cowards. They will say our fathers were cowards who had a president receiving medical treatment at every turn yet we did not question it.

“We pretended that things were okay and when the president comes from treatment we line at the airport and cheer him on.

“And we are saying as Zimbabweans we cannot just fold our hands and pretend that all is well, when it is not.

“Our children will blame us for being so naïve because we are watching the country being destroyed while we clap our hands.”

Mudzvova said Zimbabweans do not need money to fight for their rights.

“War veterans will attest to this because when they went to fight they did not have money. They did not live in hotels and yet they prevailed.

“Today we just want to do things in hotels; we want to do workshops in five-star hotels and we do not want to go to rural Gwanda for workshops.

“I am challenging activists to go where the people are and fight their causes. Protest at the door steps of those on the wrong, and they will hear you clearly. They will not hear you when you perform in a theatre — never!”

The actor said 2018 is just around the corner and if Zimbabweans are not brave enough to confront “the devil”, then “the devil” will consume everyone.

“Rigging has already started while we sleep. We cannot remain this silent, we are too silent. How long has the nation complained about the alignment of laws? Yet we are just being ignored, all because we are using the wrong approach.

“The way forward for us to confront this devil,is but our physical presence has to be felt — not through social networks — it has to be physical.”

Comments (1)

his very brave but the state will consume him like what they did to his colleague dzamara. true zimbabweans we are idiots good at talking and lacking action . social media will never liberate zimbabwe from the jaws of mugabe

bob - 13 April 2016

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