WATCH:Zenzo Nyathi, a story teller par excellence Zenzo Nyathi stages “Rethinking the Future” at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo

Mbulelo Mpofu, [email protected] 

IN 1980, a British-based contemporary reggae band known as UB40 embarked on a musical journey, giving birth to the seminal album titled Signing Off. 

In the middle of the tracks that graced this remarkable project, one stood out like a clarion call for environmental activism — The Earth Dies Screaming, a touching protest against the crimes committed against our fragile ecosystem.

In the same vein, the acclaimed thespian Zenzo Nyathi took centre stage, casting a captivating one-man performance during the grand opening of the “Black the New Green: Art and Climate Change Exhibition” themed “Rethinking the Future” at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) in Bulawayo. 

The artistic endeavour, conceptualised by the brilliant mind of Fisani Nkomo and nurtured through the Fisani Nkomo Action, saw the support of diverse sponsors who rallied behind this noble cause.

Nyathi’s ten-minute monologue, aptly titled An Act of Man, expertly directed by Memory Kumbota, served as a mirror to human behaviours that continue to disturb the delicate balance of Mother Nature.

Since time immemorial, our society has thrived on passing down critical information through oral means by the old guard and Nyathi shared an environmental folklore to the audience that attended the launch.

The story, based on human and animal conflict showed the abuse of power and dominion by the former to degrade the natural habitat shared by both parties involved, thereby creating disharmony among the two. It laid bare Nyathi’s vocal and theatrical skills.

In a speech delivered on her behalf, the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Bulawayo, Judith Ncube, highlighted the urgent need to raise awareness and spearhead a paradigm shift in our collective focus towards environmental conservation.

“The theme of this exhibition called for visual artists to create artworks which stimulate dialogue and action for the conservation of environment as a way of curbing climate change. 

“Pollution is a big environmental problem which is affecting bio-diversity and our belief is that art can be effectively used to raise awareness.

“The objective was to curate a visual arts exhibition with visually-compelling artworks. The artists were challenged to create works which stimulate critical debate and thought around environmental issues and climate change in Zimbabwe. These works of art exhibited here were created using waste of choice picked from dumpsites around Bulawayo including Ngozi Mine.”

The event, attended by art-lovers and the corporate community saw works by eleven contemporary and multi-disciplinary artists, namely Angeline Mhuka, Arlington Muzondo, Danisile Ncube, Dumisani Ndlovu, Fisani Nkomo, Kudzai Chikomo, Mavis Ndlovu, Mercy Moyo, Oubrey Bango, Owen Maseko and Zandile Vanessa Masuku.  —@MbuleloMpofu

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