Providing education through the creative arts in Zimbabwe

Geraldine Roche Drama is an innovative programme launched in 2014 in Bulawayo and will ultimately expand throughout Zimbabwe. It was established as a medium to reach into the community to aid and educate people on social issues and entertain at the same time. The programme was materially expanded and upgraded in late 2018 under the guidance of Khalie Sibanda, the full time GRD Programme Manager, and is monitored by ZDDT for GRD Zimbabwe. 

Geraldine Roche Drama centres on using both drama and film production to deliver messages and education around various subjects of social advocacy.  Concurrently it helps develop the talent and aspirations of young peopleThe project is an advocacy tool which uses entertainment as a communication tool, reaching out to the broader public mainly encompassing the youth of Zimbabwe as well as key public figures such as councillors, chiefs and other forms of community leadership.

In the process, youth benefit from skills training and develop capacity for income generation through the arts.

Geraldine Roche Drama Presents...

Geraldine Roche Drama competition

The Geraldine Roche Drama Programme aims to gradually build up a library of plays and films that can be adopted by other institutions and organisations and be shown more broadly across the country.

There will be various festivals and other activities throughout the year - such as a Film festival culminating from a programme where various groups are assisted in making a series of short films in the few months prior. The Geraldine Roche Drama Programme has been granted the latest equipment to facilitate this work and has a very experienced and capable programme co-ordinator in Khalie.

In 2019, the Programme was initiated through the GRD Knockout Competition which ran over a period of 8 weeks, with 10 drama groups from across Bulawayo presenting drama plays they had produced on a nominated range of topics. The topics included:

  • Arts for a Living
  • HIV and AIDS,
  • Teenage Pregnancy and Child Marriages
  • Youth Life and Employment.

The Competition encouraged the various groups to think about how to produce thoughtful and engaging work on social topics. They competed against other groups in front of external judges, culminating in a completion final on 12 April, 2019. Videos of these plays were submitted to the Bulawayo ARTS awards in April 2019


"In April 2014 I visited Bulawayo for the first time to meet with the ZDDT team who took us to visit the community gardens which we support through Sally Foundation.

At the garden a drama group (ASAA) performed. I was impressed by the way everyone - locals and the two Australians - were enthralled and entertained. It was obvious that these talented young people enjoyed communicating through drama.

On my return to Australia memories of this performance coupled with my own experience using drama as a communication tool moved me to contact ZDDT regarding my interest in promoting the drama initiative.

Several ideas came to mind:

  • Empower young people from various wards
  • Addition /expansion to the concepts that ZDDT is trying to foster in the community
  • Drama as a tool for education/ imparting community messages
  • Promoting harmony / conflict resolution within each local community
  • An added bonus of providing some fun in an otherwise challenging existence

The project now has a momentum of its own; the opportunity to explore community issues and develop communication channels is invaluable.

The councillors and community leaders have enabled the drama project to prosper bringing together people from different backgrounds in a meaningful and creative way."

Geraldine Roche
Sydney, Australia

Geraldine provided these thoughts 1 year on from the conception of Geraldine Roche Drama programme.

Her words were read out by Forgiven (of the Amazing Stars Arts Academy) at an awards ceremony for the inaugural AASA training programme and competition run across Bulawayo in 2014.

Geraldine Roche Drama Bulawayo - ZDDT newsletter cover

Geraldine Roche Drama Bulawayo Zimbabwe 2016-2017Click the image to download a PDF report (4.5MB) on the achievements made in 2016-2017 through Geraldine Roche Drama.


Amazing Stars Arts Academy performers

Members of the Amazing Stars Arts Academy, trained by Geraldine Roche Drama

It was a tightly contested finals competition

pre-show rehearsal photo by chrispen tabvura

Young at Heart specialise in puppetry

ASAA TRAINING: The drama programme firstly set about providing training over a 17 week period to a wide group of youngsters at the Amazing Stars Arts Academy (“ASAA”). ASAA regularly perform under a programme which uses social messaging to create greater understanding of a diverse range of issues such as citizen rights and responsibilities, what to expect from your Councillor, sex and HIV/AIDS education, domestic and child abuse, climate change and the importance of a clean environment, etc.

YOUNG AT HEART: Geraldine Roche Drama has enabled the Nanzile and Bongo team to work extensively with Orphans and disadvantaged groups via the drama medium of Puppetry, a hugely engaging experience conveying a holistic approach to development. Geraldine helped train the Young At Heart team in Child Counselling.

PERFORMANCES: Geraldine Roche Drama is often performed in the community gardens. Since 2017 the GRD team has also been working very closely with a Residents Education and Enhancement Programme across Bulawayo undertaken by ZDDT on behalf of a number of International Government Agencies. This is a three year programme co-ordinated with ZDDT field officers who convene Residents meetings in the 29 Wards. Drama is also regularly performed at shopping centres, flea markets and bus termini to reach a wide audience from varied backgrounds.

ASAA and Young at Heart have performed for Residents meetings across Bulawayo, in Sally Foundation gardens and at Ngozi Mine.

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS: A spin-off of the programme has been ASAA showing community spirit by adopting an orphan teenager as part of their social responsibility and funding her schooling. Young At Heart also donated a bale of clothes and blankets to Ngozi Residents as their social responsibility gesture.

These images reveal the work that goes into producing Geraldine Roche Drama programmes and some of the impact they are having on the local communities.

Click on an image to view it full-size.