“Too much fear breeds misery in the land,” Matigari tells everyone he meets on his perennial journey in search for truth and justice.
A discussion that wrapped up the Wednesday show of the play Ten Years From Now at Theatre in the Park approximated an extract from Ngungi’s book.
After the play, which takes a speculative look at the political, economic and social terrain in the country after the next 10 years, audiences were asked to give their views about the production.
One lady expressed deep concern at the actors’ blunt tackling of serious political issues. She was clearly worried about the fate that might befall the cast, as has happened before, if any political authorities feel offended by the play’s critical exposé of the ills and holes in their system.
“I am not a theatre enthusiast but I have enjoyed the play. However, I feel that you may end up…I mean the play may be banned because of its slant,” the apparently worried lady said.
Like many people that Matigari met and engaged, in trying to establish where he would find truth and justice, the lady must have been jittery to be in the midst of a show that took a fearless and direct confrontation of corruption, indiscipline, maladministration as well as abuse of power and human rights.
Every time that Matigari introduced his “research” subject, his listeners would immediately shy away from this “mad man” because of his frank and frightening questions. They were all aware of the strict but unsaid dos and don’ts of their land.
So, when this lady at Theatre in the Park registered her concern, she had a similar appreciation of the wind around her. She was, obviously, not the only one in the audience who had such conscience.
Walter Muparutsa, one of the actors in the play, made his point clear in response to the lady’s “fear”.
“For how long are we going to live in fear? Who will fight for us if we relax and watch all sorts of evils preying on us?” Muparutsa did not need any answers.
Okay Machisa, director of Zimbabwe Human Rights Association who was among the audience had this to say: “Confronting the system or toeing the line does not make us safe. Whether we are doing something or just standing there, our fate might be just the same.”
Machisa’s assertion was seconded by actress Rutendo Chigudu, who had come to watch the play. She said: “You might think you are in danger when you are here watching the play but even your friend who is sleeping at home is exposed in the same way because anything can happen in their neighbourhood and anyone can be caught in the crossfire.”
Art is a way of mirroring the society, questioning or praising events as they come and go but many artists have avoided creating products that might expose them to the unknown.