Sabhuku Vharazipi , a popular drama series produced by Ziya Cultural Arts Trust, will be a highlight in this year’s Chimanimani Arts Festival, scheduled to run from August 8 to 9 in the mountainous border town. The Masvingo-based group will complete the theatre programme with a performance of the drama series that features the hilarious characters – Sabuku Vharazipi and the dumb police officer VaMayaya among others.
The first series of Sabhuku Vharazipi went viral in 2013 with the hilarious drama winning the hearts of many.
The drama tells of Sabhuku Vharazipi, a corrupt headman who manipulates the distribution of food and other inputs in his area, to get what he wants, including women.
The headman abuses his position to seek sexual favours from women in the village as well as to gain political mileage.
More often than not, the storyline explores social issues, in which the cast converse in the chikaranga language, which is common in Masvingo province.
That alone provides for comic moments in the series.
Though at times the protagonist Sabhuku Vharazipi uses slapstick humour in the series it is his use of the language that sends people into roaring laughter.
The other group on the theatre programme is Njube High School from Bulawayo which will perform a play called Let Them .
On the music side of things, superstar Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi will lead a line-up of musicians which includes BaShupi, Sniper Storm and Junior Bantan backed by House of Stone.
This is not Tuku’s first time to perform at the festival. He has been at the festival on a number of occasions where he thrilled the community.
One of the granddads of music, Tuku is still agile, loveable and most importantly his longevity in the music industry largely depends on the support from his fans – young and old who have been with him since he made that huge splash with Tuku Music.
His songs don’t carry explicit political messages, but he makes it easy to read between the lines. A prolific artiste, he has released more than 60 albums in Zimbabwe.
Far more than a musician, Mtukudzi has been deeply involved in other art forms. He was featured in the film Jiti, the first film with an all-Zimbabwean cast and played a leading role in Neria, a feature film for which he also wrote and arranged the soundtrack.
He also wrote and directed the musical Was My Child, a production exploring the plight of street children in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Recently, he built a multi-million dollar Pakare Paye Art Centre in Norton that nurtures and develops young talents.
There is also a special feature on Saturday August 9 where musicians from Chimanimani among them Tsitsi & The Eastern Gospel, Alek Muchayi & Ngangu Band and Joshua Sako and the Radiation are billed to perform. Also expected to rock the audience will be DJ Irie Lion.
There will be film screenings courtesy of the Woman Film Makers of Zimbabwe and International Images Film Festival for Women. Films such as Nyaminyami Amajiabulozi, I want a Wedding Dress, Peretera Maneta – Spell My Name, Sharing Day, Kare Kare Zvako Mothers Day and Elelwani will be screened while workshops on script writing, filming and theatre will be conducted.
This year’s edition of the Chimanimani Festival has partnered with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for the first time. Some of the sponsors are European Union/Culture Fund Agreement, Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe (WFOZ), Africad, Zimbabwe Theatre Association, Delta (Shumba Maheu) and Chibuku, Let Them Trust, Hala Chimanimani Hotel, Hala Selous Hotel, LineCrosser (Pastor Chimusoro), Chido Advertising and the Chimanimani District Council.