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    Friday, 20 May 2016

    Zimbabwe’s biggest youth festival roars into life




    ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER

    MASVINGO
    - The popular annual Youth Cultural Arts Festival continues to grow from strength to strength with each passing year. Dubbed the biggest Youth Festival in Zimbabwe, YOCAF will this year be running under the theme, 'Untold Stories #Breakingthesilence.'
    This year's provincial preliminaries will kick off in Masvingo with competitions scheduled for Saturday May 21, 2016 from 9am at Victoria High School.
    In its efforts of enhancing the development of Zimbabwean communities through objective use of the Arts and Culture by nurturing professionalism in the youth for better economic growth and social healing, YOCAF has created an opportunity for young people to develop skills and to utilize those skills to contribute to their communities that in turn, increase their ability to succeed.
    Since its launch, the Festival has been instrumental in bringing young people together and giving them a voice, a voice that is uniquely their own and a voice that resonates with their being. 
     'Yocaf is an uplifting time for the youths; it gives the City of Masvingo an artistic facelift. The festival takes an extreme leap forward in engaging the public in all its dimensions to be intimately involved in this artistic experience and also a call to the youth to rise up and break the silence.' said Leeroy Gono, the Director of the festival.
    The ideas, dreams and beliefs of today's youth form the foundation of tomorrow's communities in our nation, the theme is dedicated to helping young people share their stories and build a better future.
    The festival made headlines last year when its former champions, Pamushana High School made history by becoming the first school to be nominated for the National Arts and Merit Awards.
    Yocaf has become a mainstay of development of the arts in schools and communities.
    Last year's winners and current holders of the iconic Walter Muparutsa Theatre award Gifford High School from Bulawayo has vowed to retain the title. Churchill High School from Harare who came in second and the holders of the Professor R. Zvobgo award and Pamushana High School who are the flag bearers of the province are also gunning for the title. However, this year promises to be a battle of Champions as schools have been working hard preparing for the festival, the competition is wide open and any school can take home the title.
    The Masvingo preliminaries will feature about 12 high schools competing in drama to qualify for the national festival scheduled for later on this year. Schools participating at this year's preliminaries include, Victoria, Mucheke, Serima, Gutu, Zimuto, Mukaro, Alheit Chingombe, Hippo Valley, Mapanzure, Pamushana and Masvingo Christian College.
    YOCAF's partnership with the national broadcaster (ZBC) and the ultimate beaming of the festival event live last year and in the aftermath greatly increased the reach of the festival to millions of viewers.
    This exposure made an indelible stamp of YOCAF as a household name and as a much sought-after artistic platform.
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