BULAWAYO – Local-based theatre organisation, Victory Siyanqoba Trust has revealed that it has recorded a remarkable success in its projects at a time when many organisations are struggling to stay afloat mostly due to the prevailing harsh economic conditions.
The group which is a grassroots- based organisation that uses art as a vehicle for community development has been gradually spreading its wings to doing human rights advocacy work spoke of victory as their name suggests following their partnership with the Canadian Embassy under the Community Fund for Local Initiatives programme.
Victory Siyanqoba director Desire Moyo pointed to the recognition by ZimRights when they scooped the outstanding community-based organisation, human rights defender of the year gong as a pointer to their hard work.
“When we started it all seemed a difficult task, but with the support we have got from different stakeholders and our commitment to achieve our goals so us getting there,” Moyo told the Daily News.
In 2015, the group launched its inaugural Human Rights Arts Gala in Gwanda which has now turned to be a popular annual event.
According to Moyo, the broader objective of the gala is to enhance rural communities’ understanding of their fundamental Human Rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
“The gala which is now an annual event produces responsible and confident community leaders who are conscious of people’s rights and freedoms and continuously foster the accessibility of disseminated information on right issues within their communities with art being used as a major driver of the messages,” he said.
Moyo said ever since their launch of various activities in rural Gwanda a lot of positives have been achieved including creating a platform for interface between the community and local government officials, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, traditional leaders and the minister of Rural Development Promotion, Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, a thing which was never conceivable in the past.
“Basically we have been setting the trend, reaching out to communities, empowering them through arts, promoting respect for diversity, championing human rights, inclusive and accountable governance and also promoting peaceful pluralism.
“Talk of the good relations we have established with Matabeleland South traditional leaders and elected leaders, promoting unity, tolerance and ubuntu simply through arts,” he said.
Moyo who is also a celebrated poet said his organisation realised that there is an information gap between rural communities and urban communities due to the minimal access to local electronic media, rural communities have little contribution to the full realisation of their rights.
He said as a result the organisation conceptualised the use of art as a means of conscientising the communities to know and celebrate their human rights.
Victory Siyanqoba has in the past created a number of theatrical plays which have been showcased in and outside the second largest city.
This year Moyo said: “Apart from these rural initiatives, Victory Siyanqoba Theatre department will be taking its theatre shows to local, national and international festivals this year. These shows include The Womb, Spirits at War and the 2014 bluster: The House Of Joshua.”
Moyo said their intention was to reach as many rural communities as possible as they were already mobilising resources to that effect.