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Play uses humor, drama, in focusing on women's suffering

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Dag Hammarskj÷ld
Oct. 23, 2006

By Andra Stevens*

MUTARE, Zimbabwe (UMNS) — Owen Seda and Bekithemba Ntini's production of "Dance Peace Africa" left its audience in awe after a performance on the opening day of the Oct. 9-13 Dag Hammarskj÷ld Commemorative Week at Africa University.

The theatrical prowess and vivid imagery brought to life by the cast proved to be both heart-rending and hilarious.

Seda and Ntini are from the University of Zimbabwe's theater arts department. Their dance-drama is described by Seda as a typical presentation of the power balances that exist in society today and which are tipped against women.

"Women are sidelined in issues such as war and violence, but the reality is that once you have sidelined women, you have violated everyone's rights," Seda said. He noted that women and children are often the most victimized in war situations and are later sidelined in peacemaking processes and governance structures.

"Women have also never been able to seek legal recourse for many human rights abuses, and these are some of the issues that the play raises," he said.

"I laughed and cried," said Tinevimbo Mtengwa, a final year student in Africa University's Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. "This is a clear representation of the suffering that women go through in many aspects of their lives. ... Many times the stories are never told and may never be heard."

The theme for this year's event was "Peace, Leadership, Gender and Development in Africa." Among others, seminar presentations on peace-building efforts in Sudan's Darfur region and in the Democratic Republic of Congo formed part of the event's discussions.

Now in its second year running, the Dag Hammarskj÷ld commemoration, co-hosted by the Swedish Embassy and United Methodist-related Africa University, provides a platform for discussing issues of peace and development in Africa.

*Stevens is director of information and public affairs at Africa University.

News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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