Daves Guzha: "Theatre is an excellent way to mobilise people"

May 2009 -

"In my view, using the theatre as a vehicle for communicating my mission is only logical in a country where the freedom of speech is under pressure. In a country where even primary necessities - water, electricity and food - are scarce. That does not in any way mean, however, that I have no artistic ambitions." Daves Guzha is a theatre maker in Zimbabwe. Last year he made the play The two leaders I know about the influence of Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe. In a somewhat satirical story Guzha explains not only the gigantic chaos in his country but also his hopes and convictions.


Daves Guzha on the set of 'The two leaders I know'

"Theatre is an excellent way to mobilise people. I do that with my own plays and also with Rooftop Promotions. We produce our own performances and invite other theatre companies to Theatre in the Park in Harare. It is always packed and triggers many discussions among the audience. We also make films, DVDs and television productions that can be seen everywhere. This enables us to reach about a half a million people in Zimbabwe each year."

The plays and films presented by Rooftop Promotions come not only from Zimbabwe but also from Malawi, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia. "The difficult conditions under which we live are what makes it possible for us to do our work. Everyone is highly motivated. No one believes the media due to the censorship. Our performances deal with racial tension, the fight against aids, education, and also about the difficult struggle for democracy. That offers comfort, and especially generates enormous power from the collective experience. In times of chaos the creative industry comes into full bloom, despite the difficulties."

In September 2009 Dave Guzha's theatre work can be seen in The Netherlands. Rooftop Promotions is supported by Hivos.