Mudzvova wins international award

HARARE - Protest playwright Silvanos “Bhanditi” Mudzvova has been awarded the 2017 Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent by Human Rights Foundation.

Mudzvova, who is currently on a scholarship at the University of Manchester, was jointly honoured along with Venezuelan satirical media project El Chigüire Bipolar and Bahraini poet and activist Aayat Alqormozi.

The trio, who will be honoured on May 24, will share 350 000 Norwegian krones which is about $41 000.

In its citation, The Havel Prize Committee gave plaudits to Mudzvova for his bravery in the face of repression.

“Silvanos Mudzvova’s persistence in using art and performance to challenge dictatorship is an inspiration. The persecution of Silvanos illustrates President Robert Mugabe’s cruelty, intolerance, and cowardice,” said Havel Prize Committee chairperson Thor Halvorssen.

Before his recent move to the UK, Mudzvova had been arrested on numerous occasions for his controversial plays that unravel the Zanu PF government’s gross abuse of human rights.

In May last year, he was briefly arrested outside Parliament after staging a one-man play titled Missing Diamonds: I Want My Share.

In 2007 he and Tongani Anthony Tongani were arrested at the premiere of a controversial satire titled The Final Push.

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

The police also once arrested him for intending to march on Parliament to demand that members of the legislature and other elected officials be legally obligated to declare their assets before taking office.

Six years ago, the irrepressible Mudzvova was among the cast of Rituals that was arrested and detained in Manicaland.

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