I’m writing a few days late, but with the great news that Tariro had a very exciting weekend! Less than twenty-four hours before we were due to arrive at the German Zimbabwe Society last Saturday to observe a day of performances in literature and dance, I spoke with the director of the GCZ, who asked us whether we would also like to perform at the event. Of course, we were very happy to have the opportunity to perform.
While this gave us very little time to organize a performance, I’m very happy to say that our girls stepped up to the challenge. We put our phone tree in action to ensure all of the members of the group were notified of the performance, and the girls met at their regular rehearsal space to board public transport to the performance. Because we didn’t have time to organize transport for our marimbas, we decided to dance with only drums and singing for accompaniment, a big change for our dancers, who had never rehearsed without marimbas on one of the songs they chose to perform.
However, their brilliant performance proved that they are developing into very talented dancers, and I can easily envision several of our students as having a future as professional dancers and musicians.
In another slight hitch, most of the girls didn’t bring their costumes, so we decided to do the performance in street clothes. It turns out that all of the other performers at the event had been given t-shirts and caps by the German Zimbabwe Society, and our girls were the only ones not wearing any type of uniform for their performance. But despite these challenges, our girls gave an incredible performance!
The experience reinforced my belief in how important the traditional music and dance group is as a way for us to showcase our work with these talented young girls to the wider community. So many people came up to me after the performance to compliment us on our work. At least a few of them thought we were a professional dance group! And many of them thanked us for our work in preserving music and culture. We were able to network with quite a few people in the audience who I look forward to maintaining a connection with, and involving in our work here in Zimbabwe.
Other performances featured during this day of events were recitals of poetry and short stories written by youth who worked with mentors during the course of the week leading up to the performance. These mentors included Zimbabwe’s wonderful spoken word and hip hop artist Outspoken, as well as writer Memory Chirere, who maintains a wonderful literary blog featuring writing by Zimbabwean authors. Students from Zengeza High School in Chitungwiza also performed contemporary dance and hiphop routines.
Despite all of the challenges of living and working in Zimbabwe, the arts scene is thriving here, and the enthusiasm of young people to be involved in arts and culture is one of the reasons that Zimbabwe is such a wonderful place to be.
Thank you to the German Zimbabwe Society for your invitation to perform at this event! Our students benefited immensely from the chance to see other youth involved in the creative arts, including poetry, short stories, and dance. We also enjoyed the lunch provided, and we look forward to being involved in future events at the German Zimbabwe Society.