9 August 2014

Zimbabwe: Police 'Ban' Screening of 'Sensitive' Kumasowe Film

Photo: New Zimbabwean
Not so funny ... The ZRP banned the screening of a satirical film on Vapostori beating cops.

POLICE last Thursday blocked the screening of a highly anticipated low-budget movie, 'Kumasowe', at Alliance Francaise De Harare saying the film dealt with a "sensitive issue", the producers have revealed.

The film is a creative play on the highly publicised violent clashes between members of an Apostolic sect and Zimbabwe Republic Police officers earlier this year.

In the incident, the police who had been summoned in opaque circumstances to 'close down' the rival sect's operations for allegedly abusing women and children by church leader Johannes Ndanga, received a sound beating by the Vapostori who felt they had overstepped their jurisdiction and desecrated the Holy shrine.

Director of the flick, Silvanos Mudzvova, confirmed the "ban" last Friday after a successful screening at the National Press Club, the Quill Club in Harare.

"They (police) did not cite the law when they said we should not show it. They simply said we should not screen it because the issue was still a sensitive one for police," he alleged.

Observers were quick to point a finger at an "intolerant" police force that is clamping down on artistic freedom simply because they see an issue as poking fun at them.


The screening was aimed at marketing and business executives and was meant to drum up post-production resources as the film was shot with a shoe string budget.

"Sadly, because of what happened, a lot of corporates are scared to be seen to be helping out in a product that has been somewhat blacklisted by the police and are thus saying they are waiting to help us in a future project which is less topical or controversial," said a despondent Mudzvova.

The movie is not just satire, but also tackles serious issues of sexual and reproductive health in a didactic manner, he added.

Either way, the police ban may further fan interest in the movie which had already drawn serious interest from the media.

Mudzvova however paid tribute to the media for understanding satire and reporting widely on the project.

Police could not be reached for comment late last night at the tail end of the premiere.

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