Mthabisi Tshuma/Wayne Chiridza, Showbiz Reporters
FOURTEEN schools have qualified for the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo 100 Girls/100 Voices poetry slam final which will be held on Saturday at the National Arts Gallery in Bulawayo.
The initiative meant to mentor young girls in the field of poetry, saw 17 schools participating on the opening day of the festival on Tuesday. 100 girls from schools in Bulawayo had been selected to work on poetry pieces that tackle social issues.
Schools that qualified are Emakhandeni, Cowdray Park, Nkulumane, Eveline, Maranatha, Premier and Sizane High Schools. Qualifying individuals were drawn from St Columbus, Luveve, Nketa, Eastview, Northlea, Eveline, Maranatha, Premier, Townsend, Sizane and St Bernard’s High Schools. The young girls are under the mentorship of award-winning poets; Lady Tshawe, Sibonokuhle Netha, Tinashe Tafirenyika, Sithandazile Dube and Thandokuhle Sibanda. Their poems are on the trials and hardships of being a girl child and their expectations from society among other issues.
The girls presented individual poems and also had joint presentations in groups of four.
Speaking after the event, Intwasa director Raisedon Baya said he was impressed by the attendance and support the young girls got.
“It’s quite good to see that these young girls are being supported by people from across the arts sector and general public. Poetry for girls by girls is about using art as a tool for civic engagement and social change,” said Baya. He said the 100 girls project took the girls through thematic training and a poetry skills-sharing journey.
“The concept is simply about using art as a tool for civic engagement and advocacy. It’s about participation, inclusion and diversity. The ultimate goal is to have young girls who are able to use their talents to speak and advocate for issues affecting them,” said Baya.
Months before the event, Intwasa organisers went around schools looking for 100 umbrellas for the initiative. It all made sense on Tuesday as these umbrellas are the ones which provided the shed outside the gallery. Baya said the umbrellas are symbolic.
“The umbrellas are a wall of protection and provide comfort for the girls in their lives. After the festival, the girls who participated will each walk away with an umbrella as a token and symbol of their participation.” – @mthabisi_mthire/@waynecas