The three-day Youth Cultural Arts Festival (YOCAF) recently held in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo City featured a potpourri of artistic activities under the theme: “I Will Act Now”, attracting hundreds of fans from across the city. The overall aim of YOCAF is to enable young people to develop life skills through developing artistic talent.
According to Leeroy Gono, YOCAF’s Artistic Director, creativity needs to be nurtured among young people.
“Zimbabweans are extremely expressive and have a rich history of music, drama and dance. The political and social situation in the country is such that theatrical expression is vital to provide a form of entertainment as well as an avenue for discussion and public dialogue for artistes and audiences alike,” Gono said.
Hivos Southern Africa Hub has supported YOCAF through the Royal Norwegian Embassy since the Festival’s inception with the aim to promote freedom of expression among young people.
The 2015 edition featured some of Zimbabwe’s celebrated artists, including comedians Clive Chigubhu and Michael K. as well as the ground-breaking boyband, Mookomba.
Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, YOCAF‘s main focus is high school theatre performances, involving some thirteen schools from across Zimbabwe.
Since its launch, the Festival has been instrumental in bringing young people together and giving them a voice.
“Yocaf accords the opportunity for networking and exposing local talent and it has become one of the biggest events in our calendar year,” said Phineas Makanda, a resident of Masvingo.
Gono emphasised the need to groom artistic talented among young people in Zimbabwe.
“Creativity, like any other ability, must be noticed and nurtured to bloom. Our Festival plays a large role in recognising and providing opportunities for creative talent to be expressed,” said Gono.
“The arts are the ways we human beings “talk” to ourselves and to each other. They are the language of civilization through which we express our fears, our anxieties, our curiosities, our hungers, our discoveries, and our hopes. The arts are not just important; they are a central force in human existence.”
Some of the high schools that were featured in the festival include Pamushana High School, Thornhill High School, Masvingo Christian College, Churchill Boys High school, Mapanzure High School, Serima High School, Dadaya High School, Regina Mundi Girls High School, St Peters Kubatana High School, Glen View 1 High School, Victoria High School, Gifford boys High School and Eveline Girls High School.