Amakhosi Cultural Centre last week received the Prince Claus International award, an accolade that comes with 25 000 Euros in prize money, in recognition of its contributions to the theatre scene in the country.
Although theatre productions from the centre have in the last few years taken a backseat as it concentrates on other ventures that include its upcoming radio station, Skyz Metro FM, it still managed to get the attention of the theatre world with its Plays on Sunday and childrena��s theatre programmes.
The Prince Claus Fund was inaugurated in 1996 and was named in honour of Prince Claus of the Netherlands. The Prince Claus Awards, which have been presented annually since 1997 to honour individuals and organisations reflecting a progressive and contemporary approach to the themes of culture and development, are an offspring of the fund. Recipients are mainly located in Africa Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
The prize money for the competition is presented every December. In an interview, director of Amakhosi Cultural Centre Cont Mhlanga said that the centre was happy to have received the accolade, as it was an acknowledgement of their innovative projects that had largely gone unheralded on the local scene.
a�?This award is recognition of the work that the young people of Bulawayo have been doing because we are being recognised for projects which they have had an active part in bringing to life,a�? he said.
Mhlanga said although the centre was happy to be the recipient of the award, the recognition was bitter-sweet as it only served to highlight that most of the acknowledgment they got was from foreign sources. He said that although he had treasured such awards in the early days of the centre, it held less significance for him now.
a�?As I grow older such awards make me sad because they are more of an indication of the failure of my own people. This award is decided by international judges some of who have never set foot in Bulawayo or Harare. Ita��s painful to realise that our work is recognised by someone who is thousands of kilometres away, in Paris, while local authorities right here in Bulawayo dona��t know a thing about what we are doing. Ideally we would love to get such recognition from our own BCC,a�? he said.
Mhlanga said the centre would continue with its projects exposing the hidden theatrical talents of youths and young children.