South Africa >> Zimbabwe
The Amavuso Project is a multimedia performance initiative which aims to portray authentic and diverse perspectives on the popular culture phenomenon of ‘blessers’. The performance gives audiences a sense and feel of the interactions between ‘blessers’ and ‘blessees’, exploring the pervasiveness and impact of social media.
‘Mavuso’ is derived from the Zulu word ‘vuka’ meaning ‘wake-up’, and refers to a ‘girl friend allowance’ – money paid to a woman after spending the night with a man who is in some cases a total stranger (but distinct from prostitution as there is no fixed amount).
The project is presented by Sibikwa Arts Centre (Johannesburg, South Africa) together with Nhimbe Trust (Bulawayo, Zimbabwe), and will be created and performed by an all-female creative team from the two countries, integrated by video footage and other digital elements, built from engagements and discussion on the page which was set up to gather society’s overall view on the subject.
Questions put to the public to provoke discussion include ‘According to you, what is Amavuso?’ ‘What is the number one rule of Amavuso?’ ‘What is the ultimate Mavuso Package?’
After online auditions, two actresses were selected from each country. The South African actresses are Dineo Komane and Eutychia Rakaki, and from Zimbabwe Donna Ncube and Charmaine Mudau. Charmaine said “The ‘blesser’ and ‘blessee’ phenomenon means different things to different individuals depending on which side you are on! I hope we will manage to probe a fruitful discussion and get to understand what different people think about it. I am looking forward to challenging myself as an actress and to learning a few things from my fellow thespians.” Donna said “I love storytelling, it’s a place I call home. I am looking forward to learning, working with other enthusiasts like me.”
SIBIKWA is a visionary arts centre that promotes quality arts education, performance, vocational training and job creation in South Africa. NHIMBE TRUST is a Zimbabwean NGO that works at the intersection of culture and development to foster local socio economic development.