Bulawayo - The 2020 Geraldine Roche Drama Competition is approaching its pinnacle after nine exhilarating weeks of fierce contest across three provinces but, even before the penultimate finals, the revival and the enthusiasm that the contest has injected into the arts in Matabeleland south has got artists already feeling like winners.
The new found vigour was best demonstrated in the province’s third and final round which was held earlier this month. First, the artists on their own accord, decorated the Jahunda hall, capping this off by putting in place a red carpet fit for a provincial final, but what was most notable was how the community of Jahunda in the town of Gwanda put their full weight behind their performers and graced the occasion in good numbers.
After all the groups had tried their level best to apply themselves to the “Say No to Gender Based Violence” theme, and the scores were tallied, Jahunda Community Arts (JCA) emerged the undisputed drama kings of Matabeleland South winning, not only this all-important round that sees them book a place in the finals, but the previous two rounds.
Jahunda Community Arts director, Adrian Musa, who also scooped the best director award, praised the positive impact the competition had on artists in the province.
“In the face of these socio-economic challenges, it is very difficult for arts groups to exist and sustain (themselves) but programmes like these motivate us and keeps us active”, said Musa.
“You will find that, from the time competition started, there is a change in the approach and mind-set of the groups leading to improvement, even in the quality of productions”, he added.
Turning to the food hampers that were awarded to each member of the top three performing groups, an ecstatic Musa said, “I am so glad that GRD brought hampers as part of the prizes because I work with young people, some of whose parents I had to convince to let these kids act, so these prizes are going straight to homes where families face a lot of challenges given the prevailing economic hardships”.
By winning the Mat-South leg of the contest, Jahunda Community Arts qualify for the much-anticipated grand finale to be held on the 7 th of April and will defend the pride of their province together with Loxion Theatre Arts who came in second on the day.
Also among the individual awards winners, was Mongeni Khumalo whose portrayal of a violent wife seemed to have dazzled both the crowds and the judge’s panel, so much so, that they had to give her the best actress gong.
“I just like to thank ‘GRD’ for such an opportunity because we have not seen such kind of initiatives so we are very grateful”, said Miss Khumalo.