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Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Brian Geza: Tackling Challenges Artistically

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Brian Geza, Zvishamiso Arts Director

Brian Geza, Zvishamiso Arts Director

Tatenda Gumbo speaks to Brian Geza, artistic director and founder of Zvishamiso Arts, currently in Rwanda on an internship with Mashirika Company.

Geza was invited to take part in the 2015 Ubamuntu Arts Festival geared at developing arts in the country, promoting arts as a viable avenue of employment and playing a critical role in tackling Rwanda’s post genocide challenges.

Geza said the festival and his current internship have been a good experience, mainly looking at the audience that attended the festival.

“This festival came in to bring a bigger leap in that process, to open up a bigger avenue, by allowing other international artists, international companies, especially from countries that have faced similar events in the past,” said Geza.

Zimbabwe-born Geza said his organization, Zvishamiso Arts, has been facing grueling challenges of the country’s current economic crisis as many of his program participants are leaving home for greener pastures,

“The few that have remained, this year we’ve had some who have been taken into big companies, for example some have been taken and enrolled into Tumbuka Dance Company, already we have created employment and sustainably in those few who have made it,” said Geza.

But he noted that for some that has not been the case.

“Others who were not patient enough, they took to the borders, crossed the borders into other countries, of which I don’t feel for them, but I am part of them, which is more painful knowing that I have invested in arts and culture, but at the end of the day, if it can’t bring food on the table we will continue to have this exodus.”

Geza is a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship alumni, who last year joined 500 other young African leaders in the program established by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2010.