Mthabisi Tshuma, Gwanda Correspondent
Gwanda State University will set up an annex school at Jahunda Community Hall, displacing local artistes who operated from there.
Artistes have over the years been showcasing their theatrical, musical, poetry and spoken word talent at the hall.
Almost a double blow, the development to turn the community hall into a school comes at a time when the ban of shows is still in place meaning nightclubs like Phoenix Pub and Grill, The Nest, Injanji and Cry Mantengwane cannot play host to the artistes’ shows as they did before the pandemic struck.
Gwanda artistes decried the development but the local authority is defending it.
Mora Sidange who is an artiste manager at record label, X Studios that has artistes Master Zhoe and DJ Drumz said the development is a great stride for the academic sector but a blow for the creative sector.
“That’s a great initiative (school), but why on the premises where most artistes do their presentations? The place is like our own performing arts gallery and it’s more of our home and office as artistes.
“It’s unfortunate our authorities don’t value arts, but the truth is the world revolves around art. The unfortunate part is our authorities want a baked cake instead of taking part in the baking process. Where do they expect us to practice and present our stuff?” quizzed the distraught artiste-cum-actress.
TIME project and Jahunda Community Arts director Adrian “Drivo” Musa said a dark cloud has befallen the provincial capital that has abundant talent.
“Gwanda is one town that has talent, but lacks support structures and recognition. In the arts sector, various artistes and groups have raised the Gwanda brand and these include Jahunda Community Arts, Bolamba Culture Birds, Zhezhingtonz, Bry, Master Zhoe, Intercessor, Zie the Artist, Kuda Kay, Skollah, Kadder, Khoi Khoi and GDA Fire whom all have won awards, with some performing outside the country and collaborating with big artistes.
“All these talented youths lack proper structures and support from the local authority as there are no arts centres, exhibition spaces, youth centres, sports facilities and conducive platforms specifically for the youths in Gwanda,” said Drivo.
“No wonder why we have so many young people scattered all over the streets of Gwanda with nothing to do and nowhere to go except the bars that are almost in every street in town.”
Drivo said TIME will engage council on the need to prioritise the creative sector.
“TIME Project Gwanda is trying to establish a coordinated approach in the mentorship and promotion of the creative arts sector in Gwanda and Matabeleland South as a province through skills training and capacity building workshops as well as exhibitions of various arts talents.
“We hope our proposal to create the arts hub will be taken into consideration by the local authority,” said Drivo.
Gwanda Municipality town clerk, Priscilla Nkala said artistes will relocate to the Gwanda Culture Centre.
“The artistes will relocate to the culture centre and they don’t have any qualms with the arrangement,” said Nkala.
Gwanda State University is expected to have started its operations at the community hall by August. — @mthabisi_mthire.