Dzimbanhete arts centre under threat

HARARE - Artists and residents of Dzimbanhete Arts and Culture Interactions Trust in the Somerby area were by end of day yesterday battling to stop eviction from the cultural and heritage site.

Over 80 families were being evicted and the arts centre was not spared.

Located in the Somerby Hills near Norton, the artists and residents were allegedly living in the area illegally and were clashing with a High Court judge who reportedly had acquired the rights over the place.

The trust’s executive and creative director Chikonzero “Chiko” Chazunguza told the Daily News that people were ambushed and hit with eviction orders without notice.

He said they were left stranded as they had nowhere to go and had not planned for it as the evictions had been halted following the intervention of the National Museums and Monuments.

He added that they were surprised to see the Deputy Sheriff and police arriving and ordering people to move out of their compounds.

The hills are a sacred site having been declared a National Monument in 2000 in terms of section 20(1) of the National Museums and Monuments Act.

“This is all being done without notice with the police and the Sheriff bringing water cannons for the people. Over 80 families being chased away just like that and the arts centre is not spared.

“The war started long back and had been stopped following the intervention of the National Museums and Monuments as the hills house the cultural site the Somerby Caves,” he said.

Chiko said they had engaged their lawyers and were yesterday trying to get an interdict to stop the eviction.

“Our lawyer is fighting to ensure that we stop the eviction and engaging with the Sheriff and also trying to engage the National Museums and Monuments,” he said.

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