One-on-one with Daves Guzha

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ROOFTOP Promotions last week requested an exclusive interview with Patriot Arts and The Patriot reporter Gracious Mugovera (GM) spoke with Rooftop Promotions director and founder Daves Guzha (DG).
Beneath is the discussion:
GM: We understand your organisation receives funding from various institutions, like the CIA front Casals, which have been linked to efforts to effect regime change in the country can you explain?
DG: I did not receive the US$300 000 you (The Patriot) wrote about, I received US$700 000.
GM: How do you justify receiving money from institutions that want to topple a sitting and legitimate Government.
DG: For us donors are banks and we have done business with donors for 20 years.
We draft proposals before receiving the money and we search for donors who are likely to support our projects.
We wanted to do issues on national healing and we searched for donors that were in line with that.
We received that funding (US$700 000) about three years ago and it is now finished.
GM: Earlier on you revealed that you were part of the team that travelled to Serbia with HIFA founder Emmanuel Bagorro and the team is said to have received training in using social media to effect regime change, what did you do in Serbia.
DG: I was part of the team.
It was a simple exercise for most of the founders (of theatre houses and promoters) to utilise social media in our work, to grow our numbers and to meet and explore opportunities.
If I really wanted to do regime change, I would not do a play, I would take a placard and march to State House, Parliament even ndakarakashwa ndiriko, I would do it.
That is what a person who wants change does, but as an artiste do not expect me to be a grower of roses or a bus driver.
I am an artiste and art is about creativity.
The day when I am buried six-feet under that is when I will vanish with my creativity.
GM: Why does Rooftop prefer to facilitate or produce plays that ridicule President Robert Mugabe and his government and programmes, for example, The Coup and Protest Revolutionaries?
DG: Protest Revolutionaries is not a product of Rooftop.
It is a Victory Entertainment product by Sylvanos Mudzvova.
However, theatre is about conflict, without conflict there is no theatre, but like I have said before, better to have the person who is with you at home challenging you and making you see what wrongs are being done than an outsider.
We are not the authors in as much as we present that work technically, we are not authors of the works, the authors are Zimbabweans and it is also the role of theatre to question certain things.
GM: Do you have any plans to showcase plays that highlight the achievements of the liberation struggle?
DG: Absolutely.
In fact, we are doing a play entitled The Zimbabwean.
I am a child of war, grew up in Chiweshe so when people talk about the liberation struggle, I always say we all witnessed it and played our small role one way or the other but there was something that was evidently clear.
Culture did play a major role with songs by Cde Chinx mobilising people.
Yes we are doing pieces that once we are done with them you will say ‘vatanga vanhu vaye’.
GM: What do you mean it will be said ‘vatanga vanhu vaye’.
DG: We are saying people were the water and comrades were the fish and somewhere along the way things changed, the comrades became water and people the fish.
This is why it is such a huge problem to just march to Town House and complain about uncollected refuse and potholes.
We are not challenging that (problem) so I keep on asking mysel why we are not challenging it because at some stage we had that power so we are using songs that won the liberation struggle as pointers, reminders and complaints about service delivery.
GM: Do you make any conscious effort to instil values in your audience, be it in music, film or plays or you just do it for entertainment’s sake? If so whose values do you push and why?
DG: In Zimbabwe it is not possible to just do entertainment for entertainment’s sake or art for art’s sake.
It is not possible because you have to anchor it somewhere.
Naturally being an African and a strong kore kore character, whatever I do, I have to think about the cultural aspect.
I do not want to think about cultural values along the lines that ties me because for me culture is dynamic and it evolves.
I always ask my collegues what is it that makes them watch Trace TV without blinking an eyelid while when Mbende Jerusarema is being danced munotarisa kudivi.
We need to understand how the same eye can easily embrace near pornography on Trace and other music channels on DSTV, but cannot watch Mbende.
So in terms of instilling values, yes I instil values, but the question is whose and what values when the only thing that gives me sanity is a once-a-month drive to my village in Chiweshe and presiding over matare ekumusha.
GM: Thank you for the interview Mr Guzha.
DG: Thank you, feel free to come again and ask us anything.

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