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Silvanos Mudzvova, a Zimbabwean playwright, theatre director, filmmaker and activist who has endured beatings and arrests in his home country, has joined The University of Manchester for the next twelve months.
He is based in the Drama Department of the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures as part of a year-long residency facilitated by the Artist Protection Fund, a programme of the New York-based Institute of International Education.
The programme provides grants and fellowships to artists who are facing immediate, severe and targeted threats to their lives and/or careers in their home countries.
Through a range of different creative strategies, Silvanos has been involved in the struggle for greater democracy and for LGBT rights in his home country of Zimbabwe for several years.
He endures harrassment and beatings on a regular basis, and is openly monitored by state security agents from a car outside his home.
Police arrested him last year in Harare for staging his one-man play ‘Missing Diamonds, I Need My Share’ in front of the Parliament building. The 30-minute play was inspired by President Robert Mugabe’s statements that about $15 billion raised from diamond sales was missing. He was released with several injuries, and was warned that he could ‘disappear’ like other political activists.
He and seven others were also detained for 48 hours for putting on a play entitled ‘Rituals’, and were later charged with criminal nuisance and disturbing the peace. He was also arrested at the premiere of his play ‘Final Push’, which was seen by some as an instigation to remove Mugabe’s party Zanu PF from power.