Amanda E.N Jojo
Zimbabwe’s longest running prestigious urban cultural gala, Shoko Festival has partnered with the Netherlands Embassy to present a cutting edge spoken word programme for its 2021 edition.
This year’s festival running under the theme ‘‘Shoko Universe’ is set to present a unique Holland-Zimbabwe collaboration for its spoken word programme as well as an innovative poetry journey.
In a never-seen before creative collaboration between leading Dutch spoken word artist, Smita James and top Zimbabwean poet Shaldo, the two artists will collaborate on combined themes that will be performed virtually at Shoko Festival 2021.
Smita James AKA SJ Poet describes herself as “a rhythmic reasoner” and her words have graced the stages of RE:Definition, Amsterdam Fringe Festival, Cinnamon Wednesday, the Black Magic Woman Festival, Ispeak and beyond. Shaldo is a multi-talented storyteller and one of the most prominent Zimbabwean spoken word artists on the scene today.
In their performance, Smita James and Shaldo will explore a pandemic-riddled world of violence against women, climate breakdown and rising authoritarianism as they also speak of hope and of social justice.
The Netherlands Embassy is the main sponsor of the Shoko Spoken Word Programme.
The Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Zimbabwe her excellency Margret Verwijk, said they are thrilled to be sponsoring the Spoken Word Programme at Shoko Festival 2021 that will include so much Zimbabwean talent and also renowned Dutch poet Smita James
“The world is facing multiple crises – a pandemic, climate change, and social inequality. These are problems that affect us all and require collective action to resolve. The role of art, such as the upcoming spoken word collaboration between Zimbabwe’s Shaldo and Smita James is to bring us together, and to give us fresh perspectives and jolt us into new ways of thinking and acting. Wherever you are in the world, tune in for what will be a powerful and innovative Zimbabwe-Netherlands collaboration,” Verwijk said.
Shoko Festival Director Samm Farai Monro AKA Comrade Fatso expressed his sentiments on the partnership and he said:
“We’re so happy to be partnering with the Embassy of the Netherlands to present both a cutting edge spoken word programme and an event that carries such an urgent message.
“The artistic collaboration will be something very unique while the message we are putting out is such an important one given the times we live in.”
Several leading Zimbabwean poets who will take the audience on a voyage with words and poetry in a presentation called Lost – A Spoken Word Journey. Lost will feature some of the country’s foremost wordsmiths such as Kuda Rice, Banshee Thando, Yanta Limie and Munyaradzi Bopoto.