Name: Tinotenda Hondo
Organisation: Zambezi River Festival
Role: Festival Coordinator
I am currently Festival Coordinator of the Zambezi River Festival, which will take place for the first time December 2010. I am also a Psychologist and Rights activist and trainer in Child Rights, Sexuality and Reproductive Health Rights with interest in Gender Rights and the role of the media and ICTs in development work -especially for young people. The Zambezi River Festival is a 3-day music, arts and advocacy festival that will bring together the people, arts and culture and all brands associated with the Zambezi River. RiverFest is a multi-disciplinary festival that provides a window of opportunity to SADC artists and social activists to come together, share and compare issues of commonality using arts and culture. RiverFest aims to be an annual event bringing together the people of the Zambezi around different shared issues. The 2010 edition of RiverFest festival opens on Human Rights Day (10th of December), celebrating youths contribution to advocacy on HIV, gender rights, environment and conservation, inclusion of marginalized people, governance, sexuality and reproductive health rights etc. We will host artists and the leadership of youth organizations and networks, basically youth who are already demonstrating activist initiative in their respective communities. Youth are defined as being (18-35 years of age) as per the African Youth Charter, draft adopted 2006. Workshops with youth will begin at RiverFest on Wednesday the 8th, shows and exhibitions will begin on the Friday the 10th. RiverFest 2010 will run under the theme “Tolerance”. Given that Africa is a melting pot of different tribes, races, religions and political affiliations, tolerance for these differences is crucial to sustainable development for the region. Evidence of this is clear in the constant flaring up of xenophobic and tribal skirmishes, political violence, gender based violence etc. Young people are not merely the leaders of tomorrow but a part of the world today, their actions can either contribute to heightening or preventing and addressing the various societal issues affecting communities through the region. RiverFest 2010 activities will:- • Inculcate the benefits of tolerance in youths using the arts and culture. • Put the spotlight on the social initiatives of young people in Southern Africa, • Amplify their individual and collective voices using ICTs and the media • Build the capacity of youth activists to market and profile themselves effectively. • Enable discussions on the creation of synergies and linkages in youth social initiatives around the region. 1.1 Vision “To use the arts and intercultural learning in order to inspire a culture of human rights observance, peace and hope and to advocate and educate for non-violent alternatives to create a sustainable, equitable, and peaceful society so that by 2012 southern Africa will be known as a region that hosts and develops its own major festivals and events around human rights, tolerance and peace and nurtures local talent and creativity for the creation of a peaceful and tolerant society that can see all achieve their maximum economic and community benefits”. 2.2 Justification for Zambezi RiverFest The role of arts and culture in influencing young people and also addressing social issues such has not been fully exploited in the region. Arts and culture are a powerful means of reaching high volumes of young people with information and messaging. They can also be a powerful vehicle for change in perceptions and behaviour, encouraging young people to participate more in society.