Reprieve for Book Café community

Lovemore Meya Review Correspondent
The closure of Book Café last year due to financial woes was a dark time for the arts sector as the venue was a crucial platform to many upcoming and established artists. Artists and art lovers that met at Book Cafe for various events have been affected by the closure and many have been calling for the corporate sector to intervene and save the joint.

However, the Book Cafe community now has something to lean on following the opening of Pamberi Trust Garden, a performance platform behind the main Book Cafe auditorium.

The garden was part of the larger Book Cafe before its closure and small shows were held on this stage. The garden was reopened after Pamberi Trust arts director, Penny Yon received a grant from the Culture Impacts programme of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust.

Yon said, the grant has allowed Pamberi Trust to protect the garden stage for arts performance to allow the shows to go on. “Other things like musical performances and poetry were set aside, but something was happening at the venue after closure of Book Cafe.

“As of last week the place was full to capacity when we held our first public event, which was a show, ‘Music Factory’. It was great with a beautiful performance,” said Pen.

She said the artistes that were going through tough times as they could not find other venues to perform and were glad to have the garden open at their disposal.

One of the established, poet Chirikure Chirikure, who has worked with young artists at the venue is a happy man. “It is a big relief for artists to find another base, albeit at pretty much the same old, familiar, homely place. Most of them who were based at the defunct Book Cafe were pretty much like children who suddenly lost a home to a fire.

“Many thanks to Pamberi Trust for the garden concept. It means a lot to the artists, as a convergence point and also as a performance space. It is also a much needed venue for the audience, particularly now when many venues are either shutting down or are beyond the reach of many people,” he said.

This means a lot of activity with the next show coming being Sistaz Open Mic September 19. A lot of activities will take place including musical shows. Last week, the venue was active with the continuation of arts development programmes that have been simmering on the sidelines since June. The “House of Hunger Poetry Slam” took place last weekend and many other events are set to come to the garden stage in the next weeks.