Tsitsi Dangarembga Using Art To Change Politics

But last month she joined politics becoming one of the few Zimbabwean artists to brave it up and join politics.

Tsitsi Dangarembga, a renowned writer, novelist and filmmaker joined the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Professor Arthur Mutambara, immediately assuming the position of National Secretary for Education.

 “Art is a powerful vehicle for change,” said Dangarembga whose whose novel Nervous Conditions written in 1988 has become a modern African classic.

 “Artists speak out against what is right and what is wrong and do so in a particular way.”

She said Zimbabwe a change of mind set and believes that can be done by using the arts.

“Arts is what creates the individual, it shapes identity and influences society. Many of the countries that are doing well recognise their artists, just look at South Africa.”

Dangarembga, who is never shy to speak out her mind and often uses her writings and films to express herself says Zimbabwe lacks a constructive platform where different ideas can be put together to
find a solution.

Describing herself as a team builder, she said she would love to see an “evolution” taking place.

“Constructive criticism just doesn’t exist in Zimbabwe,” said Dangarembga.

Asked what difference she would like to make as a politician, she said, “My feeling is that I want to contribute to a better Zimbabwe, I am not threatened, I want to see a Zimbabwe where the security of a
person is recognized, where people are mentally free and where women can contribute more without being threatened.”

Dangarembga added that the country’s political problems are much more historical because some of the things that were supposed to have been done as part of a national healing process when the country came out of a violent liberation struggle where not done.

She cited things such as the lack of adequate historical information available to Zimbabweans.

“There wasn’t enough healing after the liberation struggle. This healing could have been done through films, just imagine how many Vietnam War films have been done by the Americans as a way of healing
from the war that hurt them so much and the Second World War films by the Germans,” said Dangarembga.

“Art is all about producing these narratives for historical and healing purposes.”

Dangarembga who is studying for a doctorate in film said although she spends much of her time doing politics, she hasn’t abandoned her artistic and creative side.

“I haven’t stopped creating but it reached a point where it was difficult for me to just stand by and see huge problems adding up,”said Dangarembga.

She would not say where she will be in two years time in her political career but committed to answering a parliamentary call in three years time.