By Ogova Ondego
Published September 29, 2007
Godwin Zilaoneka Kaduma, a leading proponent of the performing arts in eastern Africa, is dead.
According to information reaching Nairobi from Ghonche Materego, the chief executive officer of the East Africa Theatre Institute that Kaduma helped establish, the 69-year-old Tanzanian playwright, poet, choreographer, actor, and theatre director, died from a stroke at Muhimbili Hospital in Dar es Salaam, on September 26, 2007.
Kaduma’s death has robbed the creative fraternity of yet another institution coming within days of the death of Nairobi-based Congolese sacred musician Angela Chibalonza Runiga on September 22, 2007.
Though the first person to conduct the first comprehensive research on Tanzanian dance that he documented in his 1972 Master of Arts thesis as “The Description of Five Tanzanian Dances”, Kaduma was a down-to-earth individual who indulged more in the performance of the arts than in the theory of the arts.
Many in East Africa will remember him for his roles in films such as HARUSI YA MARIAMU and TUMAINI.
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Kaduma had dedicated his entire life to the advancement of the performing arts first as a teacher. He was among the founders of Tanzania Theatre Centre, East African Theatre Institute and Tanzania Culture Trust Fund popularly known as Mfuko.
Since the death was announced, numerous messages of condolences have flowed in from artists all over East Africa.
Dr Frowin Paul Nyoni of the University of Dar es Salaam says the late Kaduma, who he describes as ‘the guru of creativity’, will be missed but that ‘his inspiration to the arts will live forever’. Dr Nyoni says Kaduma cannot die and that he is merely resting.
Kenyan storyteller, Aghan Odero Agan, says,”True to character mzee Kaduma has once again up-staged us! We have to pick up this gauntlet and celebrate his lifeÂ and his passion the best way he would have liked us to: perform! Upon our sentry-post this side of the divide, let’s keep his watch for he is already doing ours yonder!”
Marie Shaba of Tanzania can’t agree more: Kaduma “had gone ahead of us to prepare performing stages ahead of us.He has always been a step ahead!”
Zuhura S. Muro of Tanzania says Kaduma “will continue to inspire us…his writing, counsel and inspiration live on.”
Kaya Kagimu Mukasa of Uganda and Vicensia Shule of Tanzania who is currently undertaking further studies in Germany have sent in their condolencesÂ as well.
Kaduma may be dead but his influence will continue to be felt through the students he taught, the artists he mentored, the films he participated in and the institutions he helped found. The deceased will be laid to rest in Itamba village, Iringa, in Tanzania.