Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
ON Friday, local creatives MJ Sings, Nobuntu and Ratie D will unite for a concert at the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Bulawayo meant to foster the idea of preserving and maintaining the Mzilikazi Community Youth Centre.
Mzilikazi Community Youth Centre is one of the major artistic landmarks of Bulawayo, identifying and nurturing theatrical talents among youths in the vicinity.
A visit to the establishment by Chronicle Showbiz this week showed that the place could use a little bit of revamping since the infrastructure is in a sorry state. At a glance, one is greeted by window frames without panes and doors without locksets, jeopardising the security of the furniture inside.
Ratie D, one of the organisers of the initiative said: “I’m part of a non-profit organisation called Mambira Foundation and our focus right now is to rebuild the Mzilikazi Community Youth Centre so that it continues to serve the community.
We’ve been working for the past two years, organising fundraising concerts in the United States of America and with the help of donors and Thomas Mapfumo, we successfully commissioned a borehole at the centre (Mzilikazi) to reduce the challenge of water rationing where locals have had to walk to Makokoba for water.”
She said Mambira Foundation has also successfully installed solar panels to curtail power challenges and ensure that the centre runs smoothly, especially looking at rehearsals, research, and other activities that may need power.
On Saturday, the project will culminate with a free Agriculture Educational workshop at the youth centre where there will be performances from Loxion Dance Club and Ratie D. It will be a sweet reunion for Ratie D and Nobuntu on the day as the former was part of the all-female Imbube ensemble at some point in her career.
Ratie D’s partner, Junior Morgan of MorganicRoots is set to partner with local permaculturist, Guest Sonono to provide knowledge on sustainable gardening at the workshop since Mambira Foundation has commissioned a borehole to ease water challenges faced by the community.
Fresh from a fine performance at the unveiling of the Buddy Bear at the NGZ in Bulawayo this past weekend, Nobuntu’s Zanele “uZah” Manhenga said Obabes Bembube are not hitting the brakes.
“It’s important (preserving our community centres). It preserves our culture and helps future generations to know that such spaces existed. To know where you are, you have to take a glance at the past and get your bearings.
“Fans must brace themselves for a trademark Obabes Bembube performance,” said uZah.
An overly excited MJ Sings, who ended the year on a high with a couple of Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards accolades said he is looking forward to uniting with other artistes for a good cause. – @eMKlass_49