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What Vigil friends is this? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 12th May 2012 PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 14 May 2012 13:38

Highlight of the week was a visit by Vigil supporters to the Globe Theatre on the south bank of the Thames for a performance in Shona of Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona (translated as Vakomana Vaviri ve Zimbabwe). It was part of a festival to mark the Queen’s jubilee during which Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays are being performed in thirty-seven languages.

We at the Vigil were invited to attend free as ‘groundlings’ – standing as in Shakespeare’s time in the ‘yard’ open to the skies – and open also to the rain which duly came. Fortunately we had a supply of bush hats from Tropical Head Gear of Bulawayo to protect us from the worst. Someone commented that we looked like a bunch of ‘old Rhodies’!

The production was described as ‘a two-man Zimbabwean riot of love, friendship and betrayal. From Verona to Milan, via Harare and Bulawayo, two great friends, Valentine and Proteus, vie for the love of the same woman. In a triumphantly energetic ‘township’ style, Denton Chikura and Tonderai Munyevu slip into all of the play’s fifteen characters – from amorous suitors to sullen daughters, depressed servants and even a dog’.

It certainly lived up to this description. Here are comments from some Vigil people:

·        It was hilarious. Laughed throughout the entire show. Was very proud to be Zimbabwean. Reminded me of home. Denton and Tonderai were fantastic. What a day. Will remember this as long as I live! – Fungayi Mabhunu.

·        A two-man cast who superbly played all the characters in the play. I really enjoyed it – Louisa Musaerenge.

·        What a good performance! Switching to different characters by change of a glove, scarf, hat, and massive suitcase. It was good fun with the Vigil group joining in to some of the music we know – Josephine Zhuga.

·        The cast was brilliant. The play itself reflects natural social events, and the people who came from the Vigil to support were marvelous. I am sure that everyone enjoyed themselves – Bernard Hukwa.

·        It was a masterpiece which was well delivered by Denton and Tonderai. Very exciting. Shona at its best – Edward Mutamiswa.

·        What I can only say is we had a wonderful time. It was worthy. I really enjoyed ‘Dai varume vakatendeka’. We did learn a lot and were greatly privileged to meet the cast – Georgina Makaza (who is related to Denton).

Also from the Vigil and enjoying the show with us were Mary Muteyerwa, Wendy Ziyambi, Peter Lakatika and David Phezulani.

We were thrilled to be invited to meet Denton and Tonderai in the theatre’s staff bar after the show. To our surprise Denton’s first words to Vigil co-ordinator Rose Benton were ‘Hello Rose you are still doing the Vigil!’ We realised then that he was a Vigil supporter from some time back. His co-star Tonderai had also been to the Vigil.

They say that Shakespeare speaks to all people and he certainly spoke to us in his play about love, exile, betrayal . . . and reconciliation.

Other Points

·        The theatrical aspect continued when we had the annual visit of the Westminster Morris Men. These traditional English male dancers perform around the Borough of Westminster every year on the second Saturday in May. The groups that danced next to us were: East Surrey Morris Men, Jockey Morris Men, Ravensbourne Morris Men, Moulton Morris Men, Woodside Morris Men and Yateley Morris Men. It’s always wonderful to see them especially since they embrace us so warmly. They grabbed hold of Vigil supporter Francesca Toft, danced round her and at the end of their performance lifted her aloft and then announced that they had just performed a fertility dance . . . The predominantly elderly dancers kissed her on the cheek in turn at the end.

·        We have been outside the Zimbabwe Embassy for 10 years now but we had a first today – free knickers thrown at us. An open top double-decker bus advertising an underwear firm and sporting young people drove past us four times. Each time they threw out quantities of underpants which Vigil supporters and the passing public scrambled to get. Some of our supporter ended up with a lifetime supply!

·        We were joined by our friends from the Swaziland Vigil and they briefed us on plans for demonstrations against a visit to London by Mswati III. He has suddenly acquired a £30 million private plane and we are told his people are eating cow dung. He is arriving with his entourage of around 30 on Wednesday 16th May and is booked into the Savoy Hotel conveniently just down the Strand from the Vigil (cheapest rooms are from £400 a night!)  The Swaziland Vigil plans a protest outside the Savoy from 12 noon to 3 pm to greet him.  Mswati has apparently been invited to a champagne lunch for the world’s monarchs at Windsor Castle on Friday 18th May. The Swaziland Vigil has written a letter to the Queen expressing their disquiet at Mswati’s visit: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/397-swaziland-vigil-letter-to-the-queen. King Mswati is giving a dinner at the Swaziland High Commission on Saturday night. We have been invited by the Swaziland Vigil to join them in protest at the Swaziland High Commission after our Vigil (see Event and Notices for details).

·        A supporter advised us that her asylum case had been refused by the Home Office. One of the reasons the Home Office cited was that the Vigil letter written in support of the activism of our protesters could be forged. Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton, who writes these letters, advised supporters that she kept careful records of every letter she has written.  Supporters and their solicitors are welcome to contact her via the email on our website for confirmation that letters are genuine as can Home Office caseworkers.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·        ‘The Rain that Washes’ – Zimbabwean theatre production.   Until 19th May at 7.30 pm – matinee 19th May at 3.30 pm. Venue: Studio Theatre, Chickenshed Theatre, Chase Side, Southgate, London N14 4PE. It is a one-man show based on a true story. “Following the dream of majority rule, one man sees Ian Smith's Rhodesia become Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. From refugee camps in Botswana to air strikes in Zambia via Marxism in Bulgaria, he returns to Zimbabwe, only to witness the greatest betrayal of all . . .” Running time: 60 minutes. Tickets £8 (£6). To book, call 020 8292 9222, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or book online at www.chickenshed.org.uk. Chickenshed is between Oakwood and Cockfosters tube stations, and on bus routes 298, 299, 307 and N91. Free parking is  available.

·        Swazi protest outside Savoy Hotel. Wednesday 16th May from 12 – 3pm. Venue: outside the Savoy Hotel, Strand, London WC2R 0EU – down the Strand from the Vigil towards Waterloo Bridge. Come and protest at the visit by King Mswati who will be staying here.

·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 19th May from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. www.swazilandvigil.co.uk.

·        Swazi protest outside the Swaziland High Commission. Saturday 19th May at 6.30 pm. Come and protest while King Mswati holds a dinner in the High Commission.

·        ROHR Leicester meeting. Saturday 19th May from 1.30 – 4 pm. Venue: Woodgate Resources Centre, 36 Woodgate, Leicester LE3 5GE. The UK Executive will be in attendance and traditional food will be served as part of  fundraising efforts.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 2nd June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/363-vigil-highlights-2011.  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·        ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·        The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

·        Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

·        Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

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