Angela Sibanda, Showbiz Correspondent
Several local artistes entertained a crowd that gathered at Pub Lagondola in Bulawayo on Thursday during a mental health awareness campaign that was organised by Yellow World in partnership with Umahlekisa Comedy club.
The event was well attended and two specialists Romio Matshiza and Kuda Kunze gave brief and detailed presentations on drug and substance abuse as well as mental health challenges that arise because of the daily stresses that people are faced with.
A total of 60 people, mostly men, attended the event, clapped, cheered and danced during the proceedings of the event.
The lineup of performers included Baraclava, Dalu Da Comedian, Zwe Hlabangana and random volunteers for the open mic session.
It could however be observed that the crowd preferred entertainment more than listening to the guest speakers. After observing this, organisers said they are considering making adjustments as they plan their next event. And since this was their first event of this kind, there is room for a few changes.
Umahlekisa comedy club director Ntando Van Moyo said they have already resolved to make the event a weekly experience.
“This was our first attempt to have an event of this nature and we’re considering having our artistes going through mental health coaching so that instead of having speakers, the message and all information on these topics is packaged in their content, be it songs, poetry or jokes.
“This is going to be a weekly event every Thursday and we’ve already achieved our goal of building awareness around the programme because everyone who was there is now aware that there’s a programme of this nature.
“We’re also hoping that as time goes by, we’ll be having testimonies of people sharing their experiences so that the programme becomes more engaging,” Moyo said.
Yellow World communications officer, Michelle Mulingo said they had targeted 60 attendants and having attained that was a great start for the organisation. She said they are looking forward to making changes in their programming to make the initiative more effective.
“Our target was 60 and we managed to get 60 attendees and that’s a great start for us. We hope that we have these open mic sessions in various places around Bulawayo. This was our first event and a learning experience for us.
“Issues to do with mental health need to be delivered in a way that is not too serious so infusing comedy and music can be a great way to do that. In the future, we’ll try to package mental health teachings into comedy and music as that’s what people relate to easily,” she said.
Article Source: The Chronicle