January 3, 2015

Baptism of Fire Director named provincial Human Rights Defender

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 9:40 am
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Baptism of Fire Director Skumbuzo Sibanda was named Mashonaland West provincial Human Rights Defender of the 2014

Baptism of Fire Director Skumbuzo Sibanda was named Mashonaland West provincial Human Rights Defender of the 2014

By Nhau Mangirazi

Baptism of Fire director, Skumbuzo Sibanda was nominated as Mashonaland West provincial human rights defender at an event hosted in Bulawayo late last year.

Sibanda shrugged off stiff competition from many human rights defenders forced to operate undercover due to the hostility by some misinformed State agencies who believe that “human rights issues are part of regime change agenda by some Non Governmental Organizations working in cahoots with opposition parties“

Sibanda got a floating trophy and some cash for the sponsor Norwegian People Aid.

The 46 year old Hurungwe actor, health, women and children rights advocate says he is inspired that the communities understand the role of human rights defenders.

“We used theatre as part of human rights promotion and we are part of watchdogs of human rights violations that were rampant within Mashonaland West. All we were doing was to remain committed to share, alerting them on their rights. We engaged some policy makers including councilors, traditional leaders and some residents on service delivery and it is working as a human rights issue” said Sibanda in an interview.

He added that their thrust as human rights defenders is appreciated by the fact that they have been doing this as part of community service.

Human rights part of community development

“Human rights must be part of community development and we have been keeping citizens informed on their rights to vote, attend public meetings, rights to be heard as well as protection. Though perpetrators of violence used to target us, the accusations were baseless as we remain apolitical. A human right remains a right to everyone as everyone is equal in terms of law“ he added.

Perseverance paid for Sibanda and Baptism of Fire theatre group groomed by Zimrights in the late 1990s engaged in theatre for development and ever since the group has been travelling around the country on HIV and AIDS, maternal health, malaria, women and children rights among other topical issues affecting the communities.

Do not violate the law

His parting words to upcoming human rights defenders, Sibanda said, “Human rights must not violate the law, those who want to hold public meetings must seek police clearance as required by the law. As human rights defenders we must avoid double standards and be political activists. We must have the passion not to gain financially but serve the communities to get respect from them. It is not fulltime employment as watchdogs of human rights violations on everyone regardless of their political affiliation“

Baptism of Fire hosted inaugural Hurungwe Arts Festival in November that was a major success as it drew artists from Bulawayo, Kadoma, Harare and locals who showcased drama plays, traditional dances, poetry and some jokes from Uncle Richie, Nqobile Malinga among others.


September 14, 2014

Churches urge Zimbabweans to remain peaceful

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 2:02 pm
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Part of the crowd that graced the peace celebrations in Karoi

By Nhau Mangirazi

KAROI– Zimbabweans have been called upon to remain peaceful as they bury the ‘’dark past’’ of political, social and economical violence denting country gains of independence.

Speaking during the launch of peace celebrations here at the weekend by Ecumenical Peace Observation Initiative in Zimbabwe, a program by Heads of Christian Denominations, director Tendai Maregere said there is need to maintain a peaceful environment regardless of challenges faced.


Icon traditional dancers show during peace celebrations in Karoi

‘’Last year, churches under the umbrella bodies of Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Catholic Bishops Conference and the Union of Development of Apostolic and Zionist Churches in Zimbabwe started peaceful approach to end violence that gripped the country during 2008 elections when we faced social, political and economical crisis. We understand that peace is against development and we call upon everyone to build a culture of peace. We are happy that 2013 elections were peaceful and we must remain committed to a better country enjoying harmony’’ said Maregere.

Hurungwe district administrator Tsana Chirau bemoaned the low turn out during the celebrations in Karoi town about 204 kilometers north-west of Harare saying it is unfortunate that the event was trivialized.

Gwendoline Chikaka who spoke on behalf of Chirau called on other stakeholders to take part in peace celebrations in future.

‘’This program is meant for Hurungwe and Zimbabwe at large. We want to build peace in our homes and in communities. Hurungwe must preach peace. It is a challenge for few of us who attended these celebrations to preach peace and spread the gospel wherever we go. I am saddened by poor turn out but we hope next year we will prepare to get more people coming from all over the district’’ said Chirau.

Baptsim of Fire's Godwin Gutsa in red wrestle Joel Zilala without a shirt who intends to kill his wife for denying him sex

Baptsim of Fire’s Godwin Gutsa in red wrestles Joel Zilala without a shirt who intends to kill his wife for denying him sex

Those who attended the celebrations were entertained by plays from local drama groups, poems that focused on domestic violence, abuse of girl child encouraging people to live peacefully.

Tendayi Bobo, EPOIZ research and advocacy officer said the celebrations will take place in country’s seven provinces.

‘’These provinces have been selected due to conflicts experienced in the past and the continuous engagement to a climate of tolerance and peaceful co-existence. These  celebrations are held under the theme, ‘’Building the Zimbabwe we want in faith, hope, and unity’’ said Bobo.

The celebrations will be held in Bvekerwa (Rusape in Manicaland) on 19 September, Hwange (Matabeleland North) on 25 September, Gokwe Central in Midlands on 27 September, Bikita in Masvingo on 30 September and Bulawayo on 4 October before coming to Harare on 9 October.

August 13, 2013

Play tackles abusive father on girl child

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:56 pm
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Hibula being consoled by brother Simoro after  being raped  by father Simieon Karuru

Hibula being consoled by brother Simoro after being raped by father Simieon in Karuru, Hurungwe

Hurungwe- Some men are still are still tormenting girl child and get away with it due to lack of power from the oppressed children.

A play by Center for Community Development Initiative in Zimbabwe, CCDIZ, highlights how some families are torn apart to decide on whose rights are good, perpetrator or the victim more so if it is the father abusing his own girl child.

The play, ‘’But she screamed’’ is set in rural area where Simeon played by Edwin Chitimbe as father who is a divorcee with two children, Hibula aged 13 years and Simoro aged 8 years.

It was payed at Karuru business center about 50 kilometers out of Karoi town.

As an abusive father he demands that the girl child drop out of school, just before she could write her Grade Seven exams.

‘’Mwanasikana haafanire kudzidza zvakanyanya asi kuverenga kusvika panopera mwedzi, kuitira kana ave amai’’ meaning girl child must learn to count up to month-end for her family planning tablets.

After forcing Hibula drop out of school, he rapes her during her brother’s absence.

He later makes a plan to send Simoro to an aunt a few kilometers away.

Unfortunately, Simoro returns just as the father breaks his own daughter’s virginity.

It is a cat and mouse fight between the father and favored son Simoro aiming to expose the abusive father to the community.

As Simoro, (Joel Zilala) and Hibula played by Julia Moffat walk out the stage villagers at Karuru business centre are taken aback as reality dawn on some.

Godwin Gutsa asks the audience lesson learnt.

‘’The play is touching as it is a reality of what is going on in some families. It is shameful as girl child is ill-treated and abused. ’’ Thomas Makanda under headman Chimwanja says.

This is part of CCDIZ plays around Hurungwe striving to influence the life of oppressed in some societies.

‘’The action targets the victim and perpetrators (directly or indirectly) at community level especially women and children. They must be empowered at all costs. We are creating peace building initiative for the communities’’ says Skumbuzo Sibanda who is the director of Baptism of Fire that falls under CCDIZ projects.


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