Special Schools Arts Festival

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The Special Schools Arts Festival is a festival for school children with disabilities. The unique festival includes a diverse programme that includes music, drama, visual arts, fabrics, painting, sculpture and crafts. Launched in 2012, the initiative is meant to prepare the children for sustainable decent livelihoods and independence while celebrating their achievements, abilities and contributions to society.[1] In 2014, the programme was slated for Harare Gardens's Band Shell Stage on the 14th of June.

Founding and History

The programme was founded in 2012 by performance poet, Ticha Muzavazi who is also the organiser of the event. The motive behind the festival is to celebrating the creative achievements of children with disabilities through arts by showcasing skills and abilities in music, poetry, traditional dance, drawing, crafts and other art forms.[2] The innagural event was hosted by St Giles Special School in Harare where the students were entertained by local award-winning R n B outfit Soulbon. The group is made up of former St Giles students. Participants included:

  • Mrewa High School Resource Unit for the Blind
  • Stitches Mbira Band
  • Jairos Jiri schools from Harare and Kadoma
  • ZIMCARE TRUST School
  • Bulawayo-based Prudence Mabena’s Liana Band
  • Munyaradzi Munodawafa
  • Victor Kunonga.

2014

The event started on the 14th of June. The event grew bigger in the year with some workshops being held by Japanese artists. The disabled children who participates in traditional dance and mbira music from three Highfield schools were part of the festival for purposes of performing with their peers. To add to flavour to the event was the partnership between the organisers of the festival with the Culture Fund, in collaboration with the European Union (EU). They also launched the Hatiite Project which would work on equipping the special schools in arts departments with material and technical skills.[3] The festivals saw more than 15 schools and disabled pupils participating, These includes:

  • St Giles
  • Copota
  • Mrewa
  • Jairos Jiri Kadoma and Southerton
  • ZimCARE schools (Harare, Bulawayo and Kadoma)
  • Emerald Hill
  • Danhiko
  • Leonard Cheshire
  • Munashe Special School.
  • Tafi Dube (plays his music on the streets of Bulawayo)
  • Nompilo Nkomo
  • Soul Bone
  • Naome Chaota
  • Jose Shavieri

2013

In 2013, the festival ran under the theme Breaking Barries and it ran from the 22nd of June.[4] Initially slated for the Africa Unity Squire, the festival was moved to the Harare Gardens as maintenance work was being carried out at the former venue.

References

  1. Fireworks at Special Schools Festival, 'DailyNews', Published: 23 May 2014, Retrieved: 27 May 2014
  2. Special schools arts festival a success, 'The Zimbabwean', Published: 13 June 2012, Retrieved: 27 May 2014
  3. 15 schools set for arts festival, 'DailyNews', Published: 18 Mar 2014, Retrieved: 27 May 2014
  4. Winstone Antonio, Special Schools Arts Festival on today, 'NewsDay', Published: 22 June 2014, Retrieved: 27 May 2014