By Kennedy Nyavaya
There is collusion between the State and the church right at the thick of the country’s crippling socio-political problems.
The grand conspiracy was displayed in this month’s installment of Theatre in the Park’s State of the Nation: Amnesia play, which was staged from Wednesday to Friday.
Directed by Peter Churu with a cast featuring award-winning actress Eunice Tava, Tafadzwa Bob Mutumbi, Chido Tenga and veteran Daves Guzha, the 45-minute play portrays the bizarreness in the gospel of prosperity and religion’s sinister relationship with politicians.
In scenes plucked from modern Pentecostal congregations and ostensibly ancient fusion of monarchs with the clergy, the script explored themes of deceit, greed and the unholy alliance between the two strong institutions in the country.
Responding to questions in a post-play question-and-answer session, Guzha, who is the State of the Nation concept originator, said they had brought back the monthly running plays to keep the nation abreast with current fairs.
“When we developed it [State of the Nation], it was supposed to be a tracking mechanism of things that are actually happening, but at the same time we try to bring an indication of what is happening,” said Guzha.
Making reference to inclusion of pastors in the Presidential Advisory Council, Guzha said the country was “at a crossroads” due to the religious shift from African traditional religion (ATR) to the new wave of charismatic Pentecostalism that has brought it with a new way of political meddling.
“We need to see that there is collusion between the state and politicians and it’s a huge one. However, at the centre of it all we have got the citizens who are really caught up in it and not even finding time to think,” he said.
He added that creatives had taken an unprecedented hiatus from articulating bread and butter issue but had been awoken by the relatively new regime’s striking resemblance of the predecessors.
“There is a way maybe to actually contain and for us we will keep on mentioning and talking about it. In fact now we have actually started and those that were in doubt that theatre is no longer saying what really happens should know we are really back full on,” he said.
“We really believe that it is our role and other artistes to point at these fault, lines because if we [citizens] are not really smart, we are going back very much in time.”
State of the Nation plays became a hit towards the deposition of former president Robert Mugabe through military intervention in November 2017.
Based on real and everyday stories, the concept exposes society’s inexplicable as well as mysterious matters which have far-reaching implications on citizens’ lives.