Dear reader, and by extension festival goer, if you are reading this article and you have a calendar or diary near you please mark the following dates – 26 September to 1 October 2016. These are the official Intwasa dates. Notice that for the first time in the history of the festival we have encroached into October. But this doesn’t take away the fact that Intwasa is a September festival.
Now pursuant with festival objectives, particularly objectives 1, 4 and 5 which are:
- To celebrate human creativity, expression and diversity.
- To facilitate the empowerment of youths, women and children through the arts
- To create alternative spaces for new ideas and freedom of expression
Intwasa 2016 will focus on transforming the festival space into an innovative and creative territory for
celebrating human EXPRESSION, particularly the diversity of EXPRESSION. Emphasis will be on creating new and exciting spaces within the festival to promote and advocate for diverse EXPRESSIONS, but with a major thrust on freedom of expression, thought, and creativity. Intwasa 2016 will strive to create spaces that will challenge festival audiences and artists out of their comfort zones into unfamiliar and un-chanted territory.
Every person is born wanting to express themselves. Throughout our lives we express ourselves in different ways – the clothes we wear, our hair, literature, art, and other forms. EXPRESSION is an in born instinct. Hence our theme this year is EXPRESSIONS.
With EXPRESSIONS we look forward to challenging and inspiring social and political debate around constitutional rights to freedom of expression, thought, conscience and creativity. 2016 is the year for artists to engage passionately and honestly in dialogue around the past and present.
According to the new Zimbabwean constitution (Amendment No. 20 – ACT 2013)
- Every person has a right to freedom of expression, which includes
- Freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information.
- Freedom of artistic expression and scientific research and creativity.
- Every person has a right to freedom of conscience, which includes
- Freedom of thought, opinion, religion or belief.
- Freedom to practice and propagate and give expression to their thought, opinion, religion or belief, whether in public or in private and whether alone or together with others.
Freedom of expression, thought and creativity has been a topic of discussion for many years since the birth of independent Zimbabwe. The discussion has always bordered on safety and human rights. Freedom of expression is probably one of the most important rights in the Zimbabwean constitution. Dialogue around freedom of expression, thought and creativity is always a war. A war against laws limiting freedom, and against limiting environments.
However, it is a war that is very critical to the survival of democracy and progress not only in Zimbabwe but the world over. Art needs to challenge and provoke. According to one Polish writer, “Art does not do good deeds, but it is more like a disease, a virus, which comes to bother, rather than comfort or confirm, so that we can feel safe.” Now, more than ever, art needs to bring clarity of direction and lucidity of purpose as far as national debates/dialogue are concerned.
The 2016 theme is premised on the belief that an artist, like any other individual in society, cannot be divorced from the events going on in his society or the historical events of his nation. A true artist represents the true eye and ear of the nation. As eyes, the artist must sharply focus on the conflicts and sufferings of his people and as ears he must hear the cries and distressed appeal for equality, justice, and peace. But for artists to be able to be both the eyes and ears of nation there must be freedom of expression, thought, conscience and creativity