FOUNDER and artistic director of Amakhosi Cultural Centre and Performing Arts Academy, Cont Mhlanga, who was arrested for using his works to "create civic disobedience" two weeks ago, has blamed fellow artists for letting the Zimbabwean population down as they fail to address key issues through their works.
The outspoken playwright was arrested on 9 May, and detained for three hours before being released without any formal charges.He
has however remained undeterred and has vowed to continue producing hard-hitting political plays.
"I am disappointed by fellow artists.We should always be in the forefront of addressing issues that affect us as a nation," Mhlanga
told Standardplus on Thursday afternoon. He
said Zimbabwean artists should emulate South Africa where musicians were in the forefront of fighting apartheid.
Added: "I wonder why artists are postponing the solution for Zimbabwe.If we had all taken our positions, I tell you even government would have long realised its blunders and acted accordingly.I am serious, Zimbabwe would not have been what it is had all artists been vocal."
During the wide-ranging interview, Mhlanga
reiterated that his
arrest two weeks ago was a ploy to repel sponsors from his
major productions, among them the soap Amakorokoza.He
said such developments were not good for Zimbabwean theatre.
"What are we supposed to do?Should we stop staging plays and turn Amakhosi
into a security base?As artists we live through the writing and staging of plays and such developments are really sad," said Mhlanga
said they were going to explore existing legal channels to fight against intimidation by State security agents.
Author of a number of politically charged plays, Mhlanga
vowed to continue writing even more scathing plays.He
"It is surprising why the government is so scared of its own people.Why do they do immature things, which we can exploit and write about?We never coined the term Murambatsvina, but when we write about it now they are scared," he
Among the politically charged plays produced by Mhlanga'
are Tomorrow's People which premiered at last month's Harare International Festival of the Arts, and the hard-hitting 1986 political satire Workshop Negative, which has showed in various internationally acclaimed theatres.