Bulawayo reverberated to the sound of African drums, rhythm of African songs, poems and footwork this week as the sixth edition of the Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo came to life.
Government officials, city fathers, business executives, artists, musicians and arts lovers all converged at the National Gallery to witness the official launch of the spring premier festival.
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe graced the event as the guest of honour.
The creme de la creme in the arts offered top drawer performances. Hloseni Arts, Impumelelo Shining Stars and Drums for Peace mesmerised the audience on the first night, but the best performance of the day belonged to Eric Moyo, Bulawayo’s glamour boy.
The inaugural winner of the M-Net Idols (East and Southern Africa) contest in 2008, Eric sang his only offering so far, Everything to Me, which he dedicated to Ericah Gwetai, a storyteller and writer and also the mother of the late Doctor Yvonne Vera, herself an accomplished writer.
Gwetai was Moyo’s Grade Five teacher and is the one who discovered his immense music talent.
On the night, Gwetai, unveiled her latest offering, an anthology of 12 stories, Realities.
It highlights realities of historical significance, economic challenges and social imbalances in the country.
In her opening speech, DPM Khupe urged the organisers of the show to upgrade the festival into an international event.
“The festival for this edition has been aptly chosen once again. Yes, Intwasa one more time, Intwasa once again.
This should be the spirit; there is no time to look back or any place for people who turn back when their hands are already on the plough.
Intwasa should be made Zimbabwe’s premier spring festival. I believe that Intwasa should not be seen as a provincial event but a national if not an international festival,” Khupe said to rapturous applause from the crowd.
She urged the coalition government to support such local initiatives through the indigenisation programme.
The festival runs until tomorrow.