Bulawayo has amazing artistic talent that needs to be given a chance to shine, Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart has said.
The minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the 13th edition of the annual Ibumba International Arts Festival at Stanley Hall on Wednesday evening.
“Bulawayo is the heart and soul of art and culture in our nation, if not in southern Africa. We have an amazing amount of artistic potential in this city. This festival reminds us to be wholehearted in our efforts in promoting artistic talent so that we can be rightly proud of our arts and culture industry,” he said.
Coltart, who opened the festival by tapping on the traditional drum thirteen times to celebrate the festival’s 13 years, said the Ibumba Festival was a success because of the support it got from the local community in Makokoba, Bulawayo’s oldest township that over the years has become the melting pot of artistic and sport talent.
“We should not underestimate the way in which the people of Makokoba contribute to this festival: by attending shows and by sharing in the expectation. It is true that in bad times people find solace in art,” he said.
The festival’s opening ceremony was attended by among others the godfather of township theatre Cont Mhlanga, poets Albert Nyathi and Paul Damasane, musicians Sandra Ndebele and Jeys Marabini, Highlanders Football Club caretaker coach Mkhuphali Masuku, and renowned theatre veteran Walter Muparutsa.
An ensemble of Siyaya, Amawumbo, Ingwenyama, Kwabatsha and Tumbuka artists put up a splendid performance choreographed around the theme of the festival, “Live Out Loud.”
Coltart said it was important that Stanley Hall, “a historic and wonderful building,” played host to the festival.
Dating back to the pre-independence era, Stanley Hall and Stanley Square in Makokoba have been the home of legendary artists like Dorothy Masuka.
After independence it was the home of the legendary Amakhosi Theatre before it moved to the Township Square Cultural Centre at the edge of Makokoba.
“What we see here is the real way in which arts and culture can play a part in people’s lives. I want to congratulate those who persevered through the 13 painful years in our nation,” he said.