Pedzisai is an academic, performance maker and the 2014 Canon Collins Scholars’ Scholar. He holds an MA in Drama from Great Zimbabwe University and a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Zimbabwe. Both degrees were awarded with distinction. His PhD research explores how embodied memory, conveyed in gestures, spoken words, movement, dance and other performance, offers alternative perspectives on memory and commemoration of violent atrocities in Africa.
Pedzisai Maedza is an academic and performance maker. He obtained an MA in Drama from UCT on a Staff Development Fellowship from Great Zimbabwe University. He also holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Zimbabwe. Both degrees were awarded with distinction.
1. What did it mean to you to be selected from so many applicants for the Scholars’ Scholar award?
To be selected from not only the many applicants, but brilliant and deserving applicants for that as the Scholars’ Scholar is truly humbling. I have pledged to strive to be the best I can, every single day to realise the potential and faith that people have placed on me.
2. What influenced your research interests in xenophobia and genocide?
We live in a world where as human beings we haven’t always done the most human things or made the most humane choices. Genocidal violence is one form of this that we need to critically engage with to truly appreciate human capacity to be inhuman, and also to foster the capacity to move past and possibly prevent such repeated human failures.
3. What do you think are the benefits of socially conscious theatre, especially in addressing the more recent cases of xenophobic attacks?
In my work I have discovered that for most people be they the victims and survivors of the attacks or the perpetrators, the thing that bothers most people is feeling or being rendered ‘invisible’. And by telling human stories for communities, theatre opens the platforms for dialogue and self-reflection.
4. How do you think your work will be received across the southern African region?
Theatre and the all the arts help people and communities to imagine. To think of the present and future possibilities differently. And by sharing stories, our stories and imaginations can go where our bodies might not reach and live through time beyond our bodies. And the more we engage with such stories, we are able to see more of ourselves in the other, that on the face of things might be considered as different. Stories bridge divisions.
5. What legacy do you hope to leave as the Scholars’ Scholar?
I hope in my small way, if I leave behind a world where people care for people I would have done my bit for humanity. Maya Angelou said it better that I could when she said, ‘if you get give, if you learn teach’.