BY SINDISO DUBE
ORGANISERS of Zimbabwe’s premier annual Festival of youth culture Jibilika Arts Festival have expanded their territory to Botswana after 12 years of performing locally.
The Jibilika Botswana chapter will be run by two Zimbabweans, Simbarashe Mashindi as the director and Munyaradzi Chambwera alongside two Batswana Ruth Moshodi and Samuel Moshodi.
The organization, which secured its registration in Botswana last week for their Gaborone-based branch, was currently making efforts to secure a community space from the local authority.
Jibilika Dance Trust founder and arts promoter Plot Mhako told NewsDay Life &Style their expansion to Botswana was meant to export and exchange arts and cultural activities.
“The move to have Jibilika Botswana chapter follows the growing demand from young rural artists and Jibilika’s new initiative to bring the brand and projects to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region,” he said.
“Jibilika Botswana chapter will be doing almost exactly what we are doing in Zimbabwe. We simply exported the model that we developed and perfected over 12 years. We recognise that culture needs dialogue and dialogue needs culture. Understanding other cultures can prevent prejudice and hatred.”
Mhako said Botswana fitted well in their new vision and strategy to grow their brand within Africa.
“Botswana presented a more lucrative opportunity owing to its very stable economy. Whilst we have been successful in running our organisation in Zimbabwe, the economic situation has always created uncertainty and continues to negatively impact on our work in the face of declining arts funding and less disposable income for the general populace,” he said.
“For this year, Botswana will start off with a mini Jibilika Festival and some Batswana participants will come to Harare for the main Arts Jibilika Festival. Our vision is to empower, transform and sustain as well as to engage and inspire youth, unleashing creativity and respect, engaging them in performances, community development and leadership.”
He said their programming was linked to the shared creative and social needs of the youth in Zimbabwe and Botswana.