Home | Help | Search | Login | Register

mulonga.net forum  |  Project Related  |  Gender Balance and Internet  |  Topic: Women Dancers Can Fill Granaries « previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Women Dancers Can Fill Granaries  (Read 2642 times)
Peter Kuthan / AZFA
Global Moderator
Hero Member
Posts: 819

« on: April 05 2010 »

by Ntandoyenkosi Ncube / IPS

JOHANNESBURG, Mar 25 (IPS) - "Some said, how can women dancers tell us about climate change? Some said, how can dancers talk about planting trees? Others asked, how can women dancers build schools? But now the government says a drum has managed to fill our granaries, a dancer has managed to build schools."
With these words, Kamoto Community Arts director Mary Manzole illuminated how a Zambian women's dance group used theatre for development to encourage villagers to plant more than 5,000 trees and erect three classroom blocks in three years in Zambia’s Southern Province.

Manzole was speaking during the Celebrating SADC Women in Theatre and Dance Festival held in Johannesburg earlier in March.

Organised by the Southern Africa Theatre Initiatives (SATI), the festival sought to highlight the role played by female artists in SADC in uniting and transforming the region.

Socially-relevant theatre

"Women artists are neglected despite the great work they are doing to unite and develop our communities. What they need is to be recognised and be supported only," SATI secretary Mpo Molepo told IPS. "They must be given same opportunity as their male counterparts".   Manzole said her group spends time in the community doing "baseline research" to identify issues affecting them, then the group writes and performs plays to raise awareness of the issues.

In 2002, Kamoto Community Arts identified deforestation as a serious problem in Zambia’s Southern Province and ramshackle classrooms as affecting students at Chiyumu Basic School.

"With climate change, there was a lot of deforestation taking place and we used theatre to encourage people to plant trees. After our play, they started planting trees and this changed the rainfall pattern in the whole province.

"This changed the entire farming trend in this province that for years used to buy maize from other provinces and is now a seller," explained group member, Jean Shamende.

"Through our play we raised money for the construction of three classroom blocks at Chiyumu Basic School that we later handed over to the government," Manzole told IPS.

Ghetto Artists, a group of young women from Botswana, presented one of their plays, "Strength of A Woman" during the festival. The play portrays the tragic and true-life abuses experienced by the young women.

"We are seeing the positive impact of this play [in Botswana]; abused girls are coming up disclosing, some are seeking counseling and parents and men are confessing. Young girls and boys are going back to school through this play," said play director, Saone Bokitshane.

She added: "Art is very powerful. Through arts, you can heal people and through art you can educate the whole community and reconstruct the country. It is high time that our governments fund female artists to produce plays on HIV/AIDS. Through women's plays we can stop the spread of this epidemic."

Members of the public who attended the festival got a chance to watch and discuss several other plays, including Lumba, a play from Zambia about a female chieftain in the 19th century who raised an all-women army against an enemy tribe and who is celebrated as a powerful prophetess.

From Zimbabwe there was 'Ebony and Ivory', about two women and the emotional rollercoaster and trauma caused by war, violence and torture.

They also viewed powerful performances in plays and dance reflecting women's lives from Lesotho and South Africa.

Female artists disadvantaged

The festival was also an opportunity to highlight issues affecting women artists themselves, including gender disparities in the industry. According to the Artists’ Rights Union, barely five percent of directors and producers are women.

The festival was the culmination of research commissioned by SATI in South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, Swaziland, the Seychelles, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Lesotho. The study by Tanzanian actor and academic, Professor Amandina Lihamba, sought to investigate whether women’s voices were being adequately heard in Southern Africa's arts and literature circles.

"Men are better respected in theatre. Equality of any kind does not exist for women in the arts industry," said Creative Workers Union of South Africa Gender Coordinator, Nakedi Ribane.

Artists Trust of Southern Africa director Eugene Malotana placed some of the blame on SADC governments. "Our governments are not serious with this sector," she said.

Malotana's sentiments were echoed by Felicia Lumka, a member of the cast of Thursday's Child, a South African play about a young girl who is flung into destitution, abuse, squalor and prostitution when she is abandoned by her lovesick mother.

Lumka questioned why SADC leaders could not give the arts the same sort of attention they give to soccer. She called on SADC governments to commission more work from women artists and for government and business to put more money into filmmaking. (END/2010)

source: http://ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=50796
Pages: [1] Print 
mulonga.net forum  |  Project Related  |  Gender Balance and Internet  |  Topic: Women Dancers Can Fill Granaries « previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.8 | SMF © 2006-2008, Simple Machines LLC