Censorship Board Bans Theatre Play
The play “No Voice No choice” is written and produced by acclaimed theatre playwright and actor Tafadzwa Muzondo.
According to a letter written to Muzondo, by the Censorship Board, the play is banned in Zimbabwe because it is against the spirit of national healing, incites religious animosity and cannot be performed in Zimbabwe politically pregnant environment.
“Please be advised that the Board of Censors read your play script and observed that the play is about discouraging the youths participating in political violence in particular and against political violence in general.
“The place is too direct and people can easily read into it the insinuation of the words and messages and associate them with certain individuals and institutions and the vulgar and obscene language used,” said Malaba, chairperson of the Board of Censors, in the letter which is in possession of this Radio VOP reporter.
“The play is …against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation. The Board recommended that the play be banned and prohibited.”
The play has already been performed around the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and was last year nominated for a National Arts Merit Award (NAMA) award.
Before the ban it was supposed to be showcased at the annual Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo.
The producer of the play has since approached the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) for legal assistance.
Muzondo was left shocked by the decision.
“We were looking forward to thrill audiences at Intwasa with this mature entertaining play with a crucial anti-violence and tolerance message,” said Muzondo.
“The Intwasa performances are special to us because this will be the first anniversary of this play which had its first performance at the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum International Day of Peace commemorations on 21 September last year.
“We really wanted to give a good account of this mature production which has been to South Africa, Zambia, Masvingo and Manicaland.”
“I was really shocked that they suddenly issued a ban on this play because we are bona fide artists not political activists and the reason for sending the script for Censorship is because we are law abiding Zimbabweans making an honest living as artists “
The play was last month banned in Masvingo by the police citing security reasons but the intervention of ZHLR saved performances in Masvingo Town, Bikita and Zaka.