Visual artist in  talent search drive

Kundai Marunya

Arts Correspondent

Following his successful exhibition in South Korea, award-winning visual artist Keith Zenda has embarked on a talent search drive in the Midlands.

Zenda, who became the first African contemporary artist to exhibit in Asia when he showcased at Sang Myung University Future Centennial Hall, Gallery Wolhae, last month, is searching for talent in different genres including music, poetry, dance and theatre in his home province.

This came after realisation that the province is losing talented youth to drugs, crime and early marriages, thus never reaching their full potential.

Zenda is the chairperson of Musasa Arts and Culture For Empowerment whose mandate is to empower underprivileged youth by providing them with a platform to express their creativity and views through theatre and dance performances.

In an interview with Herald Arts, Zenda said his organisation had been searching for talent in Midlands having received financial support.

“We thank Culture Fund, CreativeACTIONs2 programme supported by European Union delegation to Zimbabwe for enabling us to assist aspiring young artists,” he said.

“We are working with community leaders and schools to identify and recruit a group of up to 10 underprivileged youth, comprising five boys and five girls, from both rural and urban communities.

 “The recruitment process is taking place over three months.”

The organisation has already held talent search competitions in Lower Gweru and Gweru urban.

“So far we have done two auditions,” said Zenda. 

“In Gweru, we managed to shortlist 15 talented artists aged between 16 and 35 years that were selected by our panel of three judges. Out of the 15 we are going to pick the best five.

 “In Lower Gweru, which is a rural area, we recruited 20 artists from the age of 13, and we will also picked the best five out of the group.”

Selected artists from Lower Gweru have shown their enthusiasm to be part of the empowerment programme.

“I am happy to be participating in the talent show promoting arts for youths because I will be able to show the world my art,” said 23-year-old Nkosilathi Ndlovu.

 “I am confident as a poet that I am going to proceed with the programme, getting to a stage where I will showcase and get chance to build a fan base.”

Twenty-year-old dancer, Takudzwa Ndaba, said he was ready to share his gift with the world.

“I’m happy to be participating in the talent show promoting arts for youth,” he said. “I ready to share my gift as a dancer with the whole world.”

Zenda said their next target was Chiundura. 

“We will next go to Chiundura for auditions, then Kwekwe and later on Chirumhanzu, Zvishavane and Shurugwi,” he said. 

“The selected youth will receive training in theatre and dance techniques, voice projection, and stage presence. They will also be taught about social issues such as climate change and gender equality. The training and rehearsals will take place over a period of six months, during which the youth will work closely with a team of experienced trainers, choreographers, and scriptwriters.”

 Zenda said after training, the refined artists will have a chance to perform in front of a live audience.

“The project will culminate in a series of theatre and dance performances showcasing the talents of the youth,” he said. 

“The performances will incorporate themes related to social issues such as climate change and gender equality. The performances will be held at various venues in the local community, and may also be showcased nationally and internationally.”

Zenda is passionate about uplifting young artists in Midlands Province evident with the establishment of Zenda Arts Centre in Lower Gweru where he trains various young artists in both visual and performance art.

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