Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
Local arts organisations Savanna Trust, Shangano Arts Trust and Twist Theatre Development from Durban are wrapping up the first phase of community dialogues where they are using theatre to educate local communities living in wildlife-infested areas to fight poaching and human-wildlife conflict.
The programme which started in November last year is being implemented in partnership with USAID. It is expected to end its first phase next month.
Savanna Trust director Daniel Maposa said they are closing in on educating local communities despite the ravaging pandemic.
“We continue to do community dialogues where we’re going to communities and discussing wildlife issues. The programmes are coupled with arts performances largely related to wildlife as many people understand better through use of art,” said Maposa.
He said the project is targeting areas that include Hwange, Lupote, Mabale, Chezhou, Lukosi, Cross Dete and Jwape.
“The project’s vision seeks to contribute to the resuscitation of wildlife crimes in the Hwange district, a place which is well known for its wildlife muscle among other things,” Maposa said.
The project, Maposa said came after the realisation that in most cases, poachers use vulnerable communities, especially young people, to engage in poaching.
“It’s, therefore, the project’s goal to ensure that theatre contributes to awareness-raising and dialogue that results in communities surrounding Hwange and Binga being made aware of these issues and reducing their participation in wildlife crimes.”
While the project is focused on Binga and Hwange, Savanna Trust has worked with communities in Goromonzi, Gwanda, Harare, Hurungwe, Hwedza, Kadoma, Karoi, Kadoma and Lalapansi. The organisation also runs the Sadc Theatre Camp, a training and arts management training programme for young people from the region. – @mthabisi_mthire