Fresh from the Harare International Festival of the Arts — HIFA 2011, the Goethe-Institut presents three shows of the one man play Harare Files at GoetheonMain on 5., 6. And 7. May at 6.30pm. As always at GoetheonMain, there is no cover charge.
From the Press Release: “HARARE FILES — 5,6,7 May, 6.30pmZimbabweans have lived through a strange and bitter period of history since the fight for freedom achieved national independence in 1980. They have seen much trauma in their lives: from a stable, peaceful and independent country to a ‘crisis country’. The crisis has driven 3-4 million Zimbabweans to seek refuge and escape in other countries.In 2005 ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ (Clean up the Filth) …- a politically motivated paramilitary operation – was implemented to remove ‘opposition’ strongholds in the urban areas by destroying informal homes and businesses. It left seven hundred thousand of the poorest people homeless, without livelihood and destitute.Operation Murambatsvina displaced almost a third of Harare’s population – the hidden story of the capital city, and one that is rarely told, an unspoken scar on the psyche of the people of Zimbabwe.The people affected, after the event, were not giving television interviews or demanding compensation from the courts. They could not fight for their story to be told, and their loss to be recognised; they were simply struggling to eat.It is in some ways, as if the displacement of almost a million people never happened. Because those affected were not wealthy, and did not have democratic rights, the entire operation which destroyed hundreds and thousands of homes and livelihoods, has largely passed without any response from the cultural community.’HARARE FILES ‘ is a one-person theatre production which tells seven of the 700,000 stories of Murambatsvina. It focuses on seven selected first-hand stories of the women affected by Operation Murambatsvina, told in their own words.It is a testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. The narrative drama and poignancy of these true and personal stories is overwhelming, sometimes shocking, even choking, but always transcending: how women dealt with such destruction to their lives and their sanctity.This testimony is brought to the stage by TONDERAI MUNYEBVU, adapted from ‘In My Own Words: Zimbabwean Women’s encounter with Operation Murambatsvina’, directed by Sarah Norman, and produced by Pamberi Trust.That these stories are brought to life and to stage by a young, male actor, solo, is another kind of testimony, not only an extraordinary artistic exploration in identity that challenges traditional ‘taboo’ around gender, but an insight of what it means, really, to step inside the life of the victim, in the words of the victim, and understand.The play runs for 3 nights at the famous ‘Mannenberg’ in the Zimbabwean capital, and 2 performances at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) at the end of April.Harare Files was presented at HIFA by the British Council and is brought to GoetheonMain by the Goethe-Institut South Africa in association with Pamberi Trust and African Synergy Trust.Tonderai MunyebvuOver the years of crisis many talented young Zimbabwean artists and professionals relocated to more stable societies. But their roots and identity remain in the land of their birth; one such is actor Tonderai Munyebvu.Tonderai studied at the London Centre for Theatre Studies and the National Youth Theatre.In 2010 Munyebvu performed in the Pamberi Trust production of Great Escape (the tortuous turning points in Zimbabwe’s history – a surreal journey underground and through one kind of Zimbabwean subconscious), written by Andrew Whaley and staged in Harare, Berlin, Amsterdam, Antwerp and Mechelin.His portfolio includes Magetsi (a revolving disc of characters and situations which unearths the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans), Kupenga Kwa Hamlet (an urgent, poetic and spiritual re- imagining of the rarely seen First Quarto of Shakespeare’s classic), and Vakomana Vaviri Ve Zimbabwe (or Two Gentlemen of Verona, by William Shakespeare) for Two Gents Productions.In addition, his acting credits include The Merchant of Venice (Arcola), and it was with Your’s Abundantly, from Zimbabwe that he consolidated years of workshopping, readings and devised projects focusing on the plight of Zimbabwean immigrants and those left behind at home.He continues with his writing debut Kanjani, a poetic meditation on the physical effects of alienation within migrant communities.(www.twogentsproductions.com)Sarah NormanSarah Norman is a Zimbabwean based in both Harare and London. She was a founding member of one of Zimbabwe’s first multi-racial theatre troupes, Over the Edge, and worked with them on a wide variety of projects.Her credits in London include being an Associate Director for Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare’s Globe and on UK and US tour, while her work as an Assistant Director includes Enjoy (West End); Tom and Viv (Almeida); Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lady Be Good (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Alphabetical Order (Hampstead Theatre) and Single Spies (UK Tour).As a Director, her credits include: The Merry Wives of Wedza (Oval Theatre); Too True to Be Good (Finborough Theatre); Duck Variations (King’s Head); 13 Grape Street (Pleasance London); The Interview (Pleasance Edinburgh); Black Light (St Marin’s Crypt) and the multi-lingual productions Barefoot in the Park (Theatre Ena, Cyprus), and Tariro on Top (Kubatana, Zimbabwe).Sarah was a finalist for the JMK Award in 2006 and selected for Cheek by Jowl’s Summer Shakespeare programme for young director in 2008.(www.bitterpillproductions.com) Further Events this week As part of the film-series on migration Home away from Home the Bioscope and the Goethe-Institut screen The Immigrant by Charlie Chaplin (USA, 1917, 20mins) followed by NUOVOMONDO AKA GOLDEN DOOR directed by Emanuele Crialese (Italy, 2006, 118mins). Entrance: R 35, starts at 8pm at the Bioscope. Donna Kukama wir give a walk about of her exhibition “Becoming Animal” which is currently on display at the Goethe-Institut in Parkwood. The walk about is free of charge, open to the public, and takes place on Thursday, 5 May 2011 from 11.30am — 2pm. In cooperation with the Wits School of Arts.”