FROM the dusty streets of Mbare, dancer Simba Dzowa has defied all odds and is enjoying the fruits of his talent following the official launch of the Bergen Afro Arts Festival (BAAF) in Bergen, Norway, last year.
Starting his career as a dancer back home, Dzowa founded the Mbare-based Dynamic Arts Ensemble (DAE) and at present he is the director of BAAF in Norway.
Speaking to NewsDay from his Norwegian base, the dancer said his artistic journey to success was not rosy.
"My artistic journey was a bumpy ride which took time, perseverance, sweat, blood and tears, but I am glad to have had a pool of mentors, among them my father, Soukaina, David and Victor Mwenye, Brian Geza and Jonas Sande who guided me through their experience. These people believed in my talent and offered me endless help," he said.
He said he went through the auditions just like any dancer would do and at one time he had to sleep at train stations in Sweden to get an audition slot.
"I underwent about three auditions and I was successful in all of them, but I had to choose to join The Norwegian National Contemporary Dance Company called Carte Blanche," he said.
Dzowa attributes his success to Dance Trust of Zimbabwe where he was a student. He said he worked hard to be where he is now, after having landed in Norway in 2006 through Dance Foundation Course on a student exchange programme.
He is now fully employed by Carte Blanche and has been travelling around Norway and the world with the company since August 2009.
Dzowa said the idea to start the festival was a long time desire from the month he moved to Norway as he struggled to have the opportunity to implement it until last year.
"Like any immigrants elsewhere in the world, a foreign land is hard to settle in. I was not spared. I struggled to settle due to cultural and environmental differences, and I am still trying to adapt," he said.
Meanwhile, award-winning multi-talented United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean actor-cum- singer John Pfumojena and Jimu Makurumbandi will represent the nation as part of the star-studded line-up of performers at this year's second edition of the festival that roared into life yesterday.
Local author and motivational speaker Rabison Shumba was the guest speaker at the official opening of the festival that will end on June 20.
The festival is being held under the philosophy of ubuntu theme Care Today Hope Tomorrow in line with commemorations of the International Day of the African Child.
Dzowa said the festival was designed in the spirit of celebrating ubuntu so as to promote the integration between the locals and the new arrivals.
"With this theme I seek to spread the gospel of the philosophy of ubuntu and all the Zimbabwean artistes who are coming for the festival carry in them unseen Zimbabwean identity which is raw, original and their music speaks to more than one group of people," he said.
"Their music is universal with a deep Zimbabwean feel and they blend well in our inclusive festival which is not only for
Zimbabweans neither Africans, but for all."
Dzowa said they valued creativity, originality, integrity, diversity and critical reflection, artistes, audiences and partnerships.
Some of the artistes billed to perform at the festival are Sherika Sherard, Omar Noir Faal, Kingsley Anowi, Willy-Freddy, Shanti Bafana, Isaac Nhlapo, Ibou Cissokho, Hassan El Bouzidi and dance performances from Simba Dance Ensemble, Maphato Dance Theatre, and The Unicorn Crew.