Women Arts Festival to engage male artistes

The following article ws originally published in The Herald

19 November 2015

Although the just ended third edition of the Women Arts Festival was a success, organisers of the event say they will bring male artistes in next editions to broaden their focus and appeal. Festival spokesperson Precious Chinhoyi said, “We are lobbying for men to support us since we cannot do it alone and that was the reason why we chose our theme to be ‘Testing the Limits: All Together Now’. We need to partner men and work together to come up with something bigger.

“This year, no man took part because the focus was solely on women. However, if they had approached us requesting to perform for free, we could have given them the chance,” she said. Chinhoyi said there has been an increase in attendance at this year’s festival.

“We are very happy for this year’s edition, which has seen an increased number from 500 to 700. We had various events like mentorship, tea garden, exhibitions, film screening, theatre and a closing concert. “Our closing concert was very important since we managed to get hold of big names in the showbiz industry like Mai Charamba, Diana Samkange, Cynthia Mare, Edith WeUtonga and quite a number of upcoming artistes,” she said.

On part of the exhibitions, Chinhoyi said only 10 out of the expected 30 women managed to showcase their artistry. “During the festival, we premièred two movies ‘Faces’ a one woman play that talks about various issues affecting women the world over. And ‘In Her Shadow’ done by three students from University of Zimbabwe,” she said.

She said it was in partnership with Cultural Roots and a documentary on gender based violence. Chinhoyi expressed gratitude to their partners and said, “This event excelled more than I thought, everything went according to script. Next year we promise to bring all genres including photography, since this year we slotted in visual artistes,” she said.

On the sidelines of her electric performance, gospel musician Mai Charamba said it was a good gesture to give women an opportunity to showcase their talent. “This festival is a good thing in uplifting arts for women in the industry. I believe it is a good gesture since it accords us the chance to perform and meet with other artistes where we can forge alliances in doing collaborations,” she said.

WeUtonga also echoed the same sentiments saying, “We would want more of these festivals that give women an opportunity to perform before big audiences. It shows that we can go at the same level as men.”