The Zimbabwe Championship of Performing Arts (ZICOPA) is giving many talented young children with limited platforms to flourish.
Nyarayi Jessica Tandy, the Director of ZICOPA, in her remarks before the Zimbabwean team’s departure to the United States for the World Championships of Performing Arts competition, said she was hopeful that the young people would excel on the international platform.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA)’s Head of Corporate Affairs Godfrey Koti said his organisation was pleased to offer moral support to the team and for organising a press conference so as to attract publicity around their initiative.
Tandy said the event was not only about the 10 performers that are going to be show casing the gifts and talents in this great nation of Zimbabwe.
“It is about every single person and organisation that has contributed in whatever form. We acknowledge sponsors who have supported individual contestants when they were approached, this degree of social responsibility is what it will take to create this crucial international stage for the youth of Zimbabwe. Econet have part-sponsored 1 contestant last year and 1 again this year. We have no doubt that this is just the beginning. Thank you Econet.
“Secondly, to our very special guests, Team Zimbabwe 2018 participants, parents and all our arts and culture champions a very special morning. In the next two-and-a-half weeks these 10 contestants will be brand ambassadors for Zimbabwe. They have a global reach and will be interfacing with more than 60 countries at Long Beach California in the USA and presided by some of Hollywood’s high profile industry judges, film and music production houses, dance studios, modelling agencies. This is our 3rd year participating at the world championships of performing arts – dubbed as the “Olympics of the Performing Arts”. We may have a small team compared to the other countries, but we have certainly made our mark and history as Zimbabwe since inception,” Tandy said.
In just two years ZICOPA has taken 11 Zimbabwean artists to the World Championships of Performing Arts (WCOPA) and has produced a grand Champion of the World – Instrumentals also bagging a total of 41 medals and 6 part scholarships from the New York Film Academy, the New York Conservatory School of Drama and the Millennium Dance Complex.
These past participants have been making their mark post WCOPA and have not fizzled out into thin air. They have gone to strengthen their respective careers and have been truly making an impact – all you have to do is follow them on social media and you will see that they are even stronger individuals validating that this competition is definitely one of the value adds in spring boarding ones interest and career.
Nigel Dutiro, an actor and model was selected for participation at WCOPA but failed to raise the funds for travel.
“If I had managed to raise the money for travel, I am sure I would bring medals to the country and put Zimbabwe on the global map.However, today is about the 10 contestants representing the country for 2018. So talent at a global standard is certainly not our issue, it’s the resources needed to make this global platform a reality.We appeal to stakeholders from the government and the corporate world to come up and support us,” Dutiro said.
The Zimbabwean delegation to the 2018 WCOPA comprises 13 people with 10 being contestants, one lecturer who is with the Great Zimbabwe University contestants (Mr Renias Ngara) and one parent, Mrs Josephine Mupawose who is mother to participant called Jabu.
In the Junior Category (2 – 15 years) there Jabu Mupawoso who is 13 years old and has registered for 10 items, 6 acting – and 4 Modelling. Matipa Chabuka is 15 years old and will participate in 5 items. In the acting slot, there is a total of 15 items for the Junior Category.
There are 8 contestants in the Senior Category: Ages ranging from 16 to 25 years old. They are registered to participate in a total of 52 items ranging from – Acting, Instrumentals, Dance, Vocals and Modelling.
Mpiwa Gwindi will be performing 9 items and Charlene Nyabuta is registered with the most items – 11 in total (across the 3 different categories of events).
For ZICOPA, the 2018 season has been a busy year that started with the selection of the team immediately after coming back from the 2017 competition. This year 2018 saw them grow their reach by going to three (3) cities and also bringing on board strategic partners.
Auditions were held in September and October 2017 across the 3 cities. In Masvingo, ZICOPA partnered with the Great Zimbabwe University during their Dzimbahwe festival, and now GZU has a lecturer and 2 contestants joining it from those auditions.
Dr Karikoga Kasese was one of the judges. In Bulawayo, Simone Mambazo Phiri was the Bulawayo judge and remains a pillar of support and guide to contestants from that region. The Bulawayo Theatre opened its doors and assisted ZICOPA with the audition venue and Motsamai Guest Lodge accommodated them during the Bulawayo auditions. In Harare, Reps theatre supporting them with the venue, Sue Botes and Albert Nyathi was among the judges.
A total of 80 contestants qualified for the 2018 auditions. Various fund raising efforts were held – from individuals reaching out to their personal networks, going to various organisations and seeking funding, to individuals utilising their talent and coming up with creative solutions to fund rise.
“They’ve against all odds made it this far. We certainly have a huge talent pool that ZiCOPA tapped into. However, not all could make it due to funds. We saw the brave 13 year old Mukudzeiishe (pianist) who organised a workshop and music concert “From Back to Beyoncé”- achieving mastery of one’s instruments. He did not manage to raise enough support and be here today, but this 13 year old already has his pieces that he wrote and hopefully will be performing them next year. We also saw Mpiwa Gwindi, her mother Monica and Mercy Mpisa breaking the glass ceiling and attempted the most unimaginable task in the quest to fund raise – They co-founded the ZiMarimba festival 2018 representing the desires to go beyond ordinary, not allowing their circumstances to stop them from achieving greatness,” Tandy added.