Entertainment

Budiriro Cultural Arts reveal secret to Chibuku Neshamwari success story

By Lovemore Chazingwa

Mashonaland West arts
powerhouse, Budiriro Cultural Arts has shared the secret to their provincial arts top gong for all the six times that they have competed in the Delta Beverages sponsored Chibuku Neshamwari Traditional Dance Festival competitions. The group also boasts managing position two when the last national final was held at their Rimuka Stadium fortress. The other time they competed at the national stage, they claimed third position up from a previous sixth. Arts director Baster Sindi made the secrets to their blistering performances in a solicited interview at his residence in the sprawling high density suburb of Rimuka. “We’ve been in this competition from 2011. Every time we entered the provincial competition, we emerged number one. The criteria is that when you claim the top gong, you don’t compete in the following year but, appear as a guest group. This means, you’re not to be judged for a prize save to warm the set for the competing groups.” Sindi went on, “I think our major secrets to this feat border around professionalism, continuity, vast experience and top drawer choreography.” On the aspect of professionalism, Sindi is quick to point to the fact that there is no tolerance to deviant behaviour or any form of indiscipline which puts the name of the group into disrepute. He said that when they have a performance, they have in place internal systems to ensure that members adhere to strict regulations to curtail sluggish performance. If any member breaches set rules, they are excluded from a forthcoming performance to preserve integrity of their act, he explained. “As a group we’ve set ourselves professional standards that we religiously adhere to. Any member who goes against the book faces dire consequences to the extent of excluding them from any show which may be forthcoming. That, in itself, means loss of income for the affected member or members. Our aim is to be in tip-top condition by the time we perform. We never want a situation whereby we resort to an alternative performer who would not have been polished enough for an upcoming performance,” he emphasized. Budiriro has graced both private and public occasions with aplomb. They are a sought after group on the arts scene. As we speak, they are a resident group for two blue-chip companies. On their rehearsal routine, Sindi who is affectionately known as Samson, opened up more. “Our group is never off duty in the working sense of the word. We rehearse all the time when we are supposed to be at work. This is our job. As others troop to their various workplaces, we converge at Rimuka Hall daily for rehearsal. We never target a particular performance but, rehearse as a matter of vocation. This year’s Chibuku Neshamwari fell into our preparations.We never thought it was coming when we went into practice. That has put our act at the top of the game. Such a routine has also helped the younger generation, whom we are grooming, to jell in preparation to take over the reigns after having adequate time learning the ropes.” The thirty-six member arts ensemble which only started the journey as a four member drama group is still open to new members. “We never close the door on new entrants. We yearn to develop the arts in the city. We would want to do as much as we can before we call it quits. We feel that our city is not doing enough to nurture art talent and take it to dizzy heights. The talent is there but, needs support in all variations.” The vibrant group, which travelled to north Africa, Morocco and scandinavian Finland, in the year 2000 says the world trip was a huge eye opener for them. They have set sights to go on another merry go round across the world, in Sindi’s voice. “We went to perform in Morocco at a continental festival. There were several cultural groups from all over Africa. Competition was tough but, we held our own. We are proud of having been selected as one of the best dressed cultural groups. The mayor of the host town chose one of our members to help him receive guests because of that. That was as a result of our truly indigenous cultural costume that we donned. We then proceeded to Finland after a fellow group at the Morocco fest was impressed by our act that they committed to foot for every expense for that sojourn. This was no competition just an arts expedition tour. We agreed and the eight of us feasted on the Finnish experience. That is one arts jungle to savour to this day,” reminisces Sindi with a look brimming with nostalgia. They have set sights to go on another merry go round across the world, according to the bustling director. He goes by the moniker, Samson, for his riveting role in the blockbuster drama by the same title. The group harbours reservations towards local support. “We fund our own operations from what we kill. After any performance, we set aside a fund for running costs and some savings then, equally share the remainder among every member no matter their status or role in the group. That is not the ideal way to operate, though. “Our local corporate community has a short hand in terms of supporting the arts. We had a well wisher from Harare who took us to Morocco after we had gone to perform in the capital, Harare. From there it was Finland courtesy of an opposite group that was overwhelmed by our execution. If the same can be done by our local support base then we can do more. It will even benefit generations to come as we would have set a progressive precedent in terms of arts support and talent development,” Sindi said. The dreadlocked art director concluded by saying “We allow a free role for eachof us. Input is welcome though, its up to the portfolio holder to make the final decision. That is working artistic wonders for us a group.” After winning in Karoi at the provincial level, the trailblazing group is set to partake at this year’s national final slated for August 13. The annual competition’s previous two editions were ducked due to Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings.

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