Stephen J Chifunyise International Theatre Festival
Why The Festival
Stephen J Chifunyise died in August 2019 after a life dedicated to creative and cultural expression not only in Zimbabwe but Africa and the wider world through his work with UNESCO and as the go to guy for various continental and international bodies. At the time of his death, Stephen had penned more than 80 known theatre plays. Amongst some of the globally recognised titles are: “Rituals” (an exposition on the spiritual ramifications as a result of some of the politically motivated killings of 2008 elections and the subsequent societal degradation), “Strange Bed Fellows”(Zimbabwe’s most travelled play), the iconic “Medicine for Love”, “Roki and Maneta” (based on Zimbabwe’s two entrants to the highly charged MNet reality TV show “Big Brother”), “Lovers, Friends and Money”, “Indigenous, Indigenous, Indigenous ”etc. His body of work in television includes the ground -breaking race relations as well as Zimbabwe’s first sitcom “Waiters”, post independent series “Solo na Mutsai”, various Children’s stories, books and folklore.
Conversations with industry relatives namely, University of Zimbabwe (Dr Kelvin Chikonzo), Savanah Trust (Daniel Maposa), CHIPAWO Trust (Chipo Bhasopo), National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nicholas Moyo), the Chifunyise Family, Peter Churu etc yielded and cemented the thought process to start the “Stephen J Chifunyise International Theatre Festival with its first edition being 26th-28th March 2020 to be held at Theatre in the Park, Harare Gardens.
Some of the countries who have already confirmed participation are Zambia, Tanzania, Botswana, Malawi and South Africa. We are still waiting on more confirmations. The three day programme will be an eclectic mix of children, universities, practitioners, film makers, presentations looking into his plays, novels, films, dances, academic papers etc.
Whilst Rooftop Promotions and Theatre in the Park will be the implementing agency, an independent Advisory Board is being put in pace. Royalties from the festival will be made out to the Stephen J Chifunyise Trust which is administered by the family as per the wishes of the late. The celebration of such an iconic figure, we hope is the start of a whole Pan African movement which will see us as Africans celebrating and immortalizing our own creative greats.