By Nhau Mangirazi
Karoi, September 18, 2016 – A Rooftop theatre production, Lamentations @12, provokes Zimbabwe’s untold girl child stories full of misery, sexual abuse, appeasement of avenging spirits but digs deeper on a nation at crossroads with its dark past socially and politically.
It seeks to unpack sad reality, compensate on historical “manufactured truth”, a scripts dented with lies, deception and political cunning by few individuals, rewriting the past to suit personal agendas.
The play was premiered in Harare and was also played in Masvingo.
They were in Karoi this past weekend and had an audience which included school children who got a glimpse of how theatre can shape national conversation.
After their cast in Karoi, the audience gave feedback to stand up against abusive relatives, so that they can be free from social bondages.
It provokes social and political trials and troubles of the Zimbabwean girl child in pre and post-independence era including in 2016 where many families are at crossroads spiritually and culturally due to the economic crisis.
Written by Getrude Vimbai Munhamo, actress in the cast, the play is pregnant with sad realities of how 12 year olds remain confused during transformation stage from being a toddler into a teenager.
It is the time that parents or guardians are very protective but not listening to her needs forcing her to suffer silently.
Politically, it exposes how our country’s liberation history is littered with half-truths; sex used as a tool of silence against women liberation heroes. Some will never tell their stories for fear that society will despise them.
“The wars by Ndebeles against Shonas was never told properly for the future generations to understand, why is there silence on how girls were raped or maimed during Chimurenga by both those who fought against us to gain independence or their own counterparts,” such words provoke the nation to look into the mirror and face reality on the abuse of girl child.
This is also intertwined with post-independence era of Gukurahundi creating tension among Shonas and Ndebeles after political leadership failed to apologise where at least 20 000 people were killed in early 1980s. It will haunt Zimbabwe political leadership forever.
Twenty nine year old Munhamo plays as Jekesa in scene one and her friend Delmar Chiwereva as Stella exposes social reality befalling the girl child after brother murders a headmen during a beer drink and the avenging spirits demand a 12 year old virgin with ten head of cattle as part compensation.
She is later used as a sex object by the host family, retributively raped, working as a slave before her maturity as a woman.
Her submissive friend seeking spiritual deliverance is not safe; either suffers another fate after being raped by a bogus prophet at a shrine as part of cleansing.
“The world of 12 year old is full of misery, often shut out by social and cultural bondages without freedom. We call upon our families and leadership to open up and help break the chains of silence that leave the abused girl child haunted forever in her lifetime,” explains Munhamo.
Lamentations @12 will soon make regional tour to East Africa covering Uganda, Rwanda and also Southern Africa in Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa among other countries before travelling abroad to Norway and other European countries.
The cast was directed by theatre guru Davies Guzha and choreographed by Gibson Savare.