An interview with Memory Zidaka
CHIPAWO benefits and empowers children and society for prosperity, unity and peace through participatory arts education in Zimbabwe, Africa and the world. CHIPAWO which literally means “give also or give too” was formed in 1989 with the vision of ensuring that through the arts children know and appreciate our local culture in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole. As a child driven organization CHIPAWO’s mission is to develop excellent talent, originality, knowledge and enjoyment in the learning and practice of arts and culture.
What led to your decision to start the organization?
The idea was to give children a place where they would express their talents through learning their culture and heritage and have fun with their talents.
Who plays the leading role in this important work?
Through the passion that they have I would say the children themselves take leading roles in CHIPAWO activities. Children and youth are in charge of the day-to-day operations of the organization from administration to stage performances.
We have an outreach programme called Bringing CHIPAWO to More Children, which seeks to benefit underprivileged children who cannot access CHIPAWO’s art programmes outside Harare.
The Arts Education for Development is a programme being run by CHIPAWO where arts educators go to different schools to teach arts to children. Through this programme children receive training in music, traditional and modern dance.
Under a one year long project called Youth Empowerment through Performing Arts (YETPA) youths go through various modules on skills empowerment in art performance and how to make a living out of the performing arts.
Do you feel that you are making a significant contribution to these children and youths?
Definitely we are. Firstly we are moulding children’s talent into becoming professional artists so we are giving them a chance to make a living out of their own talent. A CHIPAWO child has that extra confidence compared to other children!
Which success stories are you most proud of?
We have had plenty of success stories as CHIPAWO, for example we now have a television show running on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation called Ndeipi Gen’a. The show, which is about educating young people on life challenges, has become very popular.
As CHIPAWO we are proud to have some of our former students making it out there. For example, Danai Gurira is doing great in acting and Farai Ruzvidzo is producing the Ndeipi Gen’a television show.
We have had a student’s exchange program with India recently and we were invited to perform at a children’s festival in Germany last year, and CHIPAWO is currently preparing for another trip to that country next week to perform at the same festival after getting a second invite.
Every end of year CHIPAWO hosts a Christmas show where we invite other sister organisations like CHIPAWO Botswana (CHIPABO) and CHIPAWO Namibia (CHINAMIBIA) to come and perform.
CHIPAWO will be turning 25 years this year and we will be hosting the CHIPAWO @ 25 celebrations sometime in September.