I feel so blessed to be invited to share my 2020 journey with Beyond The Border. Sometime midyear 2020, a time when I was overwhelmed with hopelessness and helplessness in my creative practice, a beacon of light shone in my path. As you may all know, because of the Covid pandemic, 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone but more so for us freelance creatives. That beacon of light which lit my path came in the form of a bursary. This Time = Money bursary from the National Theatre Wales and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation was a big boost. I could now research and develop my Hare and Baboon project, a one-hour thought- provoking storytelling performance piece that brings awareness of issues of racism and bullying experienced by migrants. The themes running through the performance aim to evoke empathy towards others, bringing people together and creating an enabling cultural space to celebrate the magnificence of cultural diversity.
I’m so excited that the development of this piece is coming together very nicely. The National Theatre Wales has been and continues to be supportive sharing ideas and their expertise in theatre. The plan is to showcase this piece in the Spring and Summer of 2021.
The Hare and Baboon will act as a bridge builder, bringing communities together, contributing to social cohesion. This is a project that aims to heal, reconnect and celebrate our common humanity to give meaning and real value to Great Britain. The primary beneficiaries of this project are the theatregoing public, immigrants and refugees, young people and people from disadvantaged communities. The project also aim to entice new and diverse audiences.
I grew up with grandparents in rural Zimbabwe and through them I learnt to tell stories at a very early age. As a young boy I was told ‘a story is like a mountain. You have to start at the bottom, go up and up, reach the peak, where the most excitement is then as you go down the mountain, bring out the message of story.’ This has been the basis from which I tell stories. I tell story through the medium of writing, live performances and theatre.
I owe special gratitude to Beyond The Border (BtB) for their inspiration. It was through BtB that the past ten years have shaped me to be the storyteller that I am today. Prior to 2009, I had never thought of using my storytelling talent to earn a living. But after a chance visit to Milgis Coffee club where BtB was hosting an event in 2009, the happy and cheerful face of David Ambrose and Guto Dafis in his trademark Andy Capp enthralling audiences with his melodeon. That was my first time to attend a storytelling event. From that day I knew I had found my calling. The rest is history.
I enjoy performing in Cardiff storytelling circles, in libraries, theatres, and schools. I performed with National Theatre Wales in “Border Game” (2014), Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected (2016). I have also performed at major festivals such as Sting in the Tale festival in Dorset UK (2014), Johannesburg International Storytelling Festival South Africa (2016), Harare Festival of the Arts, Zimbabwe (2018), Nozincwadi Book and Storytelling Festival, Durban South Africa 2018 & 2020.
Some books I have written can be found on Amazon and other online platforms: Vicious (2013), Dreaming All Things Great (2016), Gross Misconduct (2018) and, One Dead Zimbo Walking (2019).
During lockdown I had the privilege to work with the amazing and talented Ailsa Mair Hughes on her project ‘Sound Mapping Our 5 Square Miles.’ Through the project, I felt so connected to nature and kind of re-calibrated in terms of my wellbeing. What a breath of fresh air it was. This inspired me to make my own sound map along the Rhymney river.