Albert Nyathi’s multi-lingual gender fight

Arts Reporter
United Nations Women — Gender Champion Albert Nyathi is currently working on a 20-track multi-lingual music album which will be launched soon as part of the Africa UNiTE campaign. The album which is part of the 2016 project is meant to prevent, eliminate and eradicate violence against women through arts. The poet-cum-musician said the project is meant to raise awareness among the participating artists and the audiences. The awareness will be based on practices and norms that cause gender stereotyping and to encourage positive gender interactions in society.

The project will also create a platform for sharing experiences and best practices in using the arts as a vehicle and an outlet for fighting gender-based violence. In an interview, Nyathi said he will hold auditions in different towns and cities so as to find people who can sing in different languages for this project to be successful.

“The languages in the album we are working on will include the Tonga of Binga, Nambya of Hwange, Kalanga of Plumtree, Sotho of Gwanda, Venda of Beitbridge, Shangani of Chiredzi and Ndau of Chpinge, not forgetting Shona and Ndebele, the major languages.

“We are hoping that through this diversity, the music we are preaching will be able to reach every part of the country because that is my main objective,” said Nyathi. The dub poet also added that some of these messages are better appreciated in people’s own indigenous languages so that they get to understand better.

“I have done most of my last projects in indigenous languages. People understand better when you use their language. You can actually tell from the look in their faces that they feel respected when you use their own language to convey a message and that is the reason why I am working on the 20-track multi-lingual album.”

Nyathi also revealed the existence of funders to this project as he mentioned that without these funders, the project would be impossible to implement. “We get funds from Culture Fund in partnership with the delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Zimbabwe. “If such key players were not there, this project would not be successful, however, we still need more funds.”

The former acting director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe said he has always been proud of being a UN gender champion. “I am proud of being a UN gender champion and this is evident by my book ‘My Daughter’, which is a children’s book that focuses on gender equality”.

In 2012, UN Women launched the first ever Southern Africa Regional Creative Artistes Advisory Council. They welcomed the involvement of the creative artists to eradicate violence against women. Nyathi was one of the 13 creative artistes in Johannesburg, South Africa who were chosen to use arts in their countries as a vehicle to end violence against women. The other 12 included famous Botswana poet Berry Heart, South Africa’s executive director of Clowns Without Borders Jamie Mclaren Lechman and Hem Matsi, a fashion designer from Namibia to mention but a few.

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