By Lovemore Chazingwa in Kadoma
Stakeholders at the Berina Community Arts (BCA)-organised annual strategic planning workshop have called for performing arts and plays that effectively communicate to people living with disabilities, this publication can reveal.
The call was made by BCA director Lloyd Mujuru, to raise awareness to participants at the Mhondoro-Ngezi District focused workshop.
“We need to come up with performing arts and plays that are relevant and communicate effectively with people living with disabilities. I, as a practitioner in the arts industry will always prefer to have somebody who is in the real situation (living with disability) to perform on behalf of people living with disabilities. I want to engage those people so that they can put forward messages correctly and effectively,” said Berina Community Arts director Lloyd Mujuru. Adding: ” Its time that we have spec-actors not spectators if our efforts to fight HIV and AIDS and cleanse community of discrimination and stigmatisation are to bear fruit.”
Mashonaland West Provincial AIDS Coordinator David Nyamurera urged stakeholders to interrogate the effectiveness of Guidance and Counselling sessions in schools, noting that there is no empirical and tangible evidence of a positive impact of the lessons.
“We need to interrogate the effectiveness of Guidance and Counselling lessons in schools and see how these are contributing positively to the fight against incidences of HIV and Aids.
“We find that in some instances, our learners walk out of school premises only to engage in unprotected and premature sexual intercourse in periphery of school yards like bushy areas or graveyards, much to the defeat of the whole essence of fighting the pandemic.”
NAC Mhondoro-Ngezi District AIDS Coordinator Dr. Vakai Matutu, in his presentation at the stakeholders Indaba, observed that the incidences of HIV and Aids are high in gold panning areas in his district namely Turf, Donain, Venice Mine, Gweshe, Mamina and Etna.
He also revealed that there is an increasing trend of teen pregnancies leading to school dropouts, an area of grave concern: “Unprotected sex among school learners has led to a 21 percent school dropouts among girls. Also, eight percent of sexually transmitted infections in the 10-19 year age group in 2018 is recorded among the school learners.”
According to his presentation, the district has an HIV prevalence rate of 13 percent among its 104 061 population. It has 16 wards that share 20 health facilities among them.
Dr Matutu concurred with Mujuru on the need for effective communication with people living with disabilities through performing arts and plays. He urged the community arts group to come up with such plays and pledged his steadfast support for those projects in his area of jurisdiction.
BCA has already done a play engaging learners at Kadoma’s Jairos Jiri School for the Blind. Stakeholders to the workshop called for safety homes and shelters to be located closer to the district to rehabilitate incidences of gender based violence among other social ills.
BCA is on concerted efforts to fight HIV and Aids, stigmatization, discrimination and Cancer through performing arts and plays. The meeting was funded by the US Government President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (PEPFAR).