Award-winning actor, writer, director and producer Tafadzwa Muzondo, whose play ‘No Choice, No Voice’ was banned for political reasons, says it is unjust to ban a work without giving artists the chance to appeal.
The law in Zimbabwe provides for a board of appeal, but none exists at the moment, and according to the newspaper The Zimbabwean “mystery surrounds its establishment.”
“In all logic, honesty and fairness, how can a government put in place a Censorship Board that bans plays and not have an Appeals Board to deal with any appeals against its decisions?” Tafadzwa Muzondo was quoted in the paper as saying.
‘No Choice, No Voice’ was banned in July 2012 by the Board of Censors after it was deemed “inciteful and against the spirit of national healing and reconciliation”. The play was nominated as the National Arts Merits Awards 2011 Outstanding Theatrical Production and has been acclaimed around the Southern African Development Community region as well as locally.
It tells the story of a community facing challenges on how to deal with politically motivated violence. In the play, youth leaders from opposing parties decide to speak jointly against violence in their communities in favour of reconciliation and peace.
“Is this not a deliberate ploy to suppress artists without giving them an opportunity to be heard? Does the same ministry not benefit from the arts when police officers are hired to cover arts events? What justice is that when you just ban a piece of art without giving the artist a right to be heard?” said Tafadzwa Muzondo.
Zimbabwe Human Lawyers Rights has intervened in some cases and enabled the play to be performed after it was banned in some parts of the country by police, who cited security reasons.
Controversial playwright Cont Mhlanga’s ‘The Good President’, Raisedon Baya and Chris Mlalazi’s satirical play, ‘The Crocodile of Zambezi’ were also banned by police in recent years.
The Zimbabwean – 14 November 2012:
Banned artist bemoans absence of appeal mechanism
iZivisoMag.com – 2 November 2011:
No Voice, No Choice: Catharsis of Theatre