By Tapiwa Marume
The seven day long ZIFF/ IFF joint international film festival that started on the 26th of August held a very special day for children between the ages of 4 to 12 years of age on Saturday 2 September at the festival’s main venue in Kensington, Harare. The day themed ‘Reel Kids Fiesta’ was attended by over a hundred kids who came to have a good time and enjoy story reading, dance, music, films and other activities.
The program started at 10am with a story telling/ ngano session by the eloquent mbuya Nyari who is a writer and dancer. She told two stories ‘Karimudende’ and ‘Chidzidzo chemusanga: vol 2’ accompanied by traditional Shona songs and dances. She said her culturally rich stories and songs were meant not only to entertain but convey important lessons and massages to her young audience. For instance, the story Karimudende taught the importance of concentration to the various age groups from ECD to Junior School.
Renowned dancer and choreographer Yeukai Zinyoro conducted an energetic dance workshop which focused on urban/ contemporary dance moves and routines which proved to be more relatable to the kids. The dance floor was filled with children enjoying a good time swinging hands in the air, moving from side to side, kicking and trying to imitate their teacher’s flawless moves. Some parents could not resist the dancing and the music and so they joined in on the peripheries while cheering their kids to get their ‘groove on’.
A virtual reality workshop introduced children to the cutting age developments to new ways of enjoying and experiencing entertainment in the film industry. Each child had the opportunity to wear special virtual reality goggles and watch a short film prepared by the ZIFF team. They were other interesting screenings of children’s films and animations. The hour long Japanese animation ‘Tamako Love Story’ was the last screening that ended the children’s day at 5pm.
The importance of this exciting children’s program every year is founded or rather is based in its desire to expose young boys and girls to films and film making at an early age which is the very thing the Ministry of Primary and Secondary is trying to do through the new curriculum that has attracted mixed feelings from various facets of society.