Hifa roars into life

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The long awaited Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) kicked off on Tuesday and it is running under the theme the Engagement Party.

Hifa this year has taken a step further to bring the arts to the people, presenting more assorted projects in the city that will focus on engaging the public, commitment and joint responsibility.

In this year’s Hifa season, two artists from a vibrant Dutch Fresco Company will showcase their expertise through painting, this is part of Hifa’s efforts to reach and engage the communities accordingly showing how extraordinary and significant the arts are in life.

“Our focus on city projects is to creatively address some of the challenges encountered by citizens, a situation that will lure people to the Central Business District,” said Manuel Bagorro the Founder and Artistic Director of Hifa.

One of this year’s groups involved in city projects is Slavic Soul Party from New York City, presented by the United States Embassy Harare.

The group will lead two days of workshops and peform with a massed band of artists from many Zimbabwean brass groups.

“The huge band of musicians will process from Africa Unity Square ending with a performance on the island in the centre of Julius Nyerere Way near the National Art Gallery”, said Maria Willson the Executive Direcotr of Hifa.

As part of the activities outside the festival site, Hifa will be working with dynamic mural company Mooiemuur who will collaborate with local artists on developing a large scale mural town as part of the continuing city project.

Renowned designer, a new visitor to the festival, Health Nash will be developing a permanent light installation in the central business district.

“I’m excited to be part of Hifa and I will be collaborating with local artists for installation of the city projects and this will be something the civic will take pleasure in seeing during the week”, said Nash.

This artistic initiative is courtesy of Sida, The Embassy of Sweden and the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust.

The festival started with expected great hype at most venues with numerous people coming to buy their tickets at the selling point at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.

“I am so excited about Hifa because there are always new and exciting performances to look out for on their programme and by the time we open schools there will be a lot to talk about with my friends,” said Michelle Nyoka, an excited “O” Level student.

At the National Gallery of Zimbabwe was a performance by Magnhild Fossum entitled Me-Me, where a dancer with lots of wires and movement censors attached to her body directly triggered some electronic music.

Scary and intriguing as it may seem Me-Me was an interesting interactive 15 minute performance which totally captured viewers’ attention.

As Newsday strolled around the various performance arenas inside the Harare gardens it was clear that Hifa had begun lively as people had begun flocking to the festival’s various stages.

The Prince Edward Jazz Band performed at the Coca Cola Green stand, the boys were amazing many applauded their performance.

As usual Hifa also has performances lined up at the First Street Mall in the City centre and on Monday afternoon Zimbabwe College of Music’s Brass Band gave an outstanding instrumental performance.