Zambia’s Barefeet Theatre at Harare Arts Festival

Zambian dance groupBAREFEET Theatre, a creative arts and performance project by former street kids, is in Zimbabwe taking part in the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) at which Zambian groups are no strangers.

HIFA is a six-day annual festival and workshop programme that showcases the very best of local, regional and international arts and culture in a comprehensive festival programme of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, spoken word and visual arts.

The festival has come to be seen as an important symbol of something positive about Zimbabwe, unifying socially and culturally disparate groups of Zimbabweans at a time of ideological conflict and political uncertainty.

Barefeet, which staged two performances at the Lusaka Motor Club last week, has also been invited to take part in the 2013 Images Festival, which will take place in September in the Danish cities of Copenhagen, Aalborg and Aarhus.

At the Harare Festival, Barefeet is taking Tujuka Must Die, a musical, visual and moving physical theatre performance involving acrobatics, puppetry, dance and storytelling drawing inspiration from Zambian traditional ceremonies.

In the production, there is an island located far away with a circle settling on the ground. Inside the circle is a village where fishermen fish, old women complain and for the inhabitants, life goes on as ever with no one daring to leave the circle as they all adhere to the laws of ‘Tujuka’.

But change blows in from the winds as a strange bird is circled overhead and Samba decides to be the first person to try to break the circle and leave. With that, the village is set never to be the same again as his path and mission is clear that Tujuka Must Die.

Barefeet, who were recently featured on CNN’s Inside Africa programme with Errol Barnet, is a project staged, rehearsed and presented mainly, though not exclusively, by children on, or formerly on, the streets of Zambia.

The project uses theatre, art, dance, music and creative writing as a tool to engage with and support the development of children most at risk of disengaging from their communities, offering them an opportunity to have their voices heard and a channel through which to express themselves.

Or put simply, it enables children to be children!

Source: Kelvin Kachingwe | Zambia Daily Mail

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