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Play banned

Roadwin Chirara

THE government has banned the satirical play, Super Patriots and Morons, which was staged by leading theatre production house, Rooftop Promotions, at the Harare International Festival of the

Arts (Hifa) two weeks ago.

The play was barred by the Censorship Board, which said it contravened the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act (1967). The Censorship Board, which is administered by the Home Affairs ministry, did not give reasons for its decision.

“It is hereby notified that the cinematograph film, film advertisement or public entertainment described has been rejected by the Censorship Board,” the body said in its notice.

The play, which premiered in 2003, centres on an iron-fisted leader of an imaginary African state who is intolerant of opposition political and economic sentiments. The dictator sees all dissenters as enemies and fronts for neo-imperialists who have to be eliminated.

The play’s producer, Daves Guzha, has attacked the action by the Censorship Board.

“I don’t understand how the Censorship Board rejects work that has already been done,” said Guzha. “We find nothing wrong with the play. All plays are inspired by what is happening.”

He said plays were meant to create checks and balances in every society, hence the need to be free from control.

Guzha said Rooftop Promotions would appeal to the board. He said if the outcome of their appeal were unfavourable his company would consider taking legal action.

“We are going to explore whatever option to make sure that the play is brought back,” said Guzha.

Contacted for comment, the Censorship Board refused to shed any light on the issue.

“We do not speak to the press,” said an officer who refused to identify himself. “Talk to Rooftop, they will tell you what you want to know and the reasons.”

Hifa’s Jill Day said the play was staged during the festival because it was a great artistic work.

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