Wednesday, 21 January 2015


Tinashe Tafirenyika: PHOTO BY C. MAGOBEYA
Dudu Manhenga: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Support from the big sisters, Virginia Phiri(sitted) & Penny Yon: Photo By C MAGOBEYA

Prince Musarurwa & Florence Muteta: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Nancy Mutize: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Blessing Chimanga, Hope Masike & Clare Nyakujara: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Caroline Maburutse: Photo By C MAGOBEYA

Rudo Chasi: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Support from the big Sistaz, Zanele Manhenga, Rute Mbangwa, Diana Samkange: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Blessing Chimanga: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Vera: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Tendai Mavengeni & Prince Musarurwa: Photo by C MAGOBEYA

Tuesday, 13 January 2015


Saturday 17 January 2015, 2pm
Book Café, 139 S.Machel Ave/6th Street, Harare

Forget January disease!  January is always the happiest month at Sistaz Open Mic, when women artists of Zimbabwe gather to celebrate the platform for women artists which has helped so many, under the vibrant gender programme FLAME (Female Literary, Arts & Music Enterprise) by Pamberi Trust.  This Saturday 17 January 2015 Sistaz Open Mic celebrates its 8th birthday at the Book Café from 2-5pm – an awesome record of 8 years of work by a powerful team of women, to prepare and promote women artists into the mainstream of the arts in Zimbabwe.
There is always a lot of fun at Sistaz Open Mic
Confirmed to perform are Rudo Chasi, Vera, Duchess Rose, Tendai Mavengeni, D-Blok, Ammi Jamanda and many more.  Sistaz Open Mic is a welcoming space which encourages music brothers to come through in support of their sisters, and this month we welcome formidable young drummer Blessing Chimanga who has backed countless women artists in Zimbabwe and beyond.  Veteran Jazz singer-songwriter Dudu Manhenga - who was one of the original contributors to FLAME and is now a Board member of Pamberi Trust - will be the hostess, and the open mic will be followed by a separate event featuring Tariro NeGitare from 5.30pm.
Batsirai Chigama, Gender Project Officer with arts development organisation Pamberi Trust extends an open invitation: “Come join us as we celebrate how far we have come as women in the arts. The journey continues and we have witnessed some amazing talent come through the Sistaz Open Mic platform. We celebrate every artist who has supported and made this journey wonderful!”

Started in 2007 by Pamberi Trust under the F.L.A.M.E Project (Female Literary, Arts & Music Enterprise), Sistaz Open Mic has seen tremendous growth not only in attendance, but great achievements by women artists who have used this platform to improve their confidence, stage presence as well as learning to brand and prove themselves as formidable artists holding their own in a male-dominated industry.  The many success stories are reflected in the number of women artists who are taking their art to a new level, organising their own shows, performing at corporate functions, touring beyond Zimbabwe, recording their work and winning numerous awards.

2014 has seen several ‘Sistaz’ participants and mentors reaching new heights –

Hope Masike toured 8 countries in the course of this year, flying the Zimbabwe flag high in solo and collaborative performances around the world from Malaysia to Iceland and China to America.

Tariro Ruzvidzo aka ‘Tari neGitare’ joined the Acoustic Allstars for a tour in Germany and established herself strongly on the local Harare scene, both as featured artist in her own shows and as opening act for some of Zimbabwe’s top performers including Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits, who she joined in Botswana at Botswanacraft and in South Africa at the Macufe Festival. 
Tariro NeGitare
The group ‘Amawala’ comprising Edith Katiji, Rute Mbangwa and Tina Watyoka came together spontaneously at a Sistaz Open Mic performance early in the year and went on to develop the lively production under the Amawala brand, performing several times in Harare and at Intwasa Festival koBulawayo to wide acclaim, and later invited back to Bulawayo to grace the Community Human Rights Defenders Awards night. Edith was elected by her peers to the new Zimbabwe Musicians Union. 

Zanele ‘Uzah’ Manhenga enjoyed her first European tour with the Bulawayo accapella group ‘Nobuntu’, and older sister, acclaimed jazzist Dudu Manhenga performed once again in Italy where she captured the hearts of Italians, and the same in the Ghanaian capital Accra.

Poet Cynthia Marangwanda launched her first book ‘Shards’; Poet Wadzanai Chiuriri participated at the Poetry Africa Festival in Durban SA;  FLAME project officer Batsirai Chigama, herself a gifted and widely recognised poet, joined African poets from Ghana and Kenya in developing workshops for children in Zimbabwe and Denmark, and was first runner-up in the Stanza Digital Poetry Slam 2014 award.  A ZIMA award was won by Clare Nyakujara, and Cindy Munyavi won the ‘African Music Award’ in Nigeria. 

Last year alone the F.L.A.M.E project hosted the launch of three albums and a single, with CDs launched by Rudo Chasi, Tina Watyoka, and the youngest of them, Tendai Mavengeni who grew in confidence and delivery at Sistaz Open Mic over several months, and launched her album at the age of 13.  The gifted young Vera Chisvo (aka ‘Vera’) launched her first single in December. 
The Sistaz Open Mic platform has spread it’s wings across the country with performers coming from as far as Mutare, Marondera, Chegutu, Gweru, Zvishavane and Bulawayo.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014


''Maintenance case loser attempts to stab wife."
"Hubby attacks wife with farming tools."
"Athlete's killer brother arrested."
"Woman brothel owner faces murder charge."
"Ugandan maid jailed." Jolly Tumihirwe (22) was caught on camera beating, kicking an 18-month old toddler.

Roughly a week after 16 Days of activism we continue to see headlines like this, a reflection that it's not over.  16 Days of Activism may be over but we continue to read reports of violations of human rights the world over and efforts must continue in whatever space or capacity to bring an end to these horrendous acts of violence that continue to plague our societies.

As FLAME we continue to explore how art can be used to bring social change, to work with artists who can add their voice against any form of violence bearing in mind that these are people coming from communities where they also may experience or encounter different forms of violence.

This year we had 17 events for the 16 Days of activism with a gender forum, theatre, ten musical shows, 4 film screenings and a poetry slam. 
All events were well attended with insightful discussions held especially after the film screenings. 
Among the films was 'Whistleblower' courtesy of the Embassy of Canada - The Whistleblower is a 2010 thriller film directed by Larysa Kondracki and starring Rachel Weisz. Kondracki and Eilis Kirwan wrote the screenplay, which was inspired by the story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a Nebraska police officer who was recruited as a United Nations peacekeeper for DynCorp International in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1999. While there, she discovered a sex trafficking ring serving (and facilitated by) DynCorp employees, with the UN SFOR turning a blind eye. Bolkovac was fired and forced out of the country after attempting to shut down the ring. She took the story to BBC News in England and won a wrongful-dismissal lawsuit against DynCorp.  A griping and complicated story, not the kind of story we hear often in this part of the world.

Other films shown include Ninah's Dowry courtesy of Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe, What's Love Got To do With It and Asylum courtesy of Women's University Gender & Development Studies Department.

This year saw the involvement of young women who utilised the Sistaz Open Mic platform to recite poetry and sing against gender violence.  Sistaz Open Mic, a daytime performance platform allows the involvement from all genres of art and from all ages and has been going strong in the past seven years.  The Sistaz Open Mic event was supported by One Billion Rising Revolution, Girls Legacy and Institute of Young Women's Development(IYWD).
Zimbabwe College of Music all-Female band at Sistaz Open Mic
The curtain came down on the 10th of December with the Human Rights Concert.  The event was graced by Canadian Ambassador, Lisa Stadelbauer.  
Canadian Ambassador, Lisa Stadelbauer giving her speech
Highlighting this year’s slogan for Human Rights Day is “Human Rights 365”, which encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day, Ambassador Lisa Stadelbauer said Canada continues to partner with civil society organisations to develop a culture of human rights through the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives support project to further freedom, human rights, good governance, and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, Angola and Botswana.

She profoundly quoted the United Nations, that the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration celebrates "that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values."

The night was left to rising blues and neo-soul artist Raven, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and Hope Masike to speak in song.  We take this time to thank all the artists who came through to all the events and participated or supported in one way or another.

We also would like to thank our partners: Embassy of Canada, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, One Billion Rising,  Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe, Women Arts Festival(WAFEST), Girls Legacy, Institute of Young Women Development(IYWD) and WUA Gender Development Studies department for their support and making all the 16 Days events happen at the Book Café.