‘Intwasa Festival promotes tourism’

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Arts festivals such as Intwasa are important events that go a long way in promoting tourism, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief operations officer Givemore Chidzidzi said.

Chidzidzi was speaking at the official opening of Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo on Wednesday. The festival has been running since Monday under the theme “Art Without Boundaries”.

“Arts and culture play an important role in promoting tourism. Arts and culture have brought us together. There are very strong links between arts and culture as well as tourism. These are inseparable,” said Chidzidzi.

Chidzidzi said Zimbabwean musicians such as Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, dub poet Albert Nyathi as well as mbira maestro Chiwoniso Maraire help to market the country internationally through their numerous tours.

He said Intwasa has helped bring into the country artists from other countries who would also market Zimbabwe when they return to their bases.

“I understand there are artists here from countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Kenya, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom. They will be friends and ambassadors for our country.”

He said linkages were important as artists more often relied on tourists as consumers of their products.

Soon after his address, trailblazing arts group Iyasa took the stage and mesmerised the audience with their well-choreographed dances.

Various other groups including energetic hip-hop dancers High Definition entertained the gathering until very late.

A play entitled The Comeback was staged earlier at the Bulawayo Theatre before an appreciative audience.

The Comeback is a musical featuring a cast of three that takes the audience down memory lane through a lady, Eli, who narrates events leading to her emigrating to the UK and finally being forced to come back after receiving news her father was seriously ill.

Eli tells her story aesthetically, occasionally singing melodiously to the accompaniment of jazz music from two musicians who feature on stage with her.

There are happy as well as sad moments captured in the play and the audience would at times empathise with her when the chips were down, especially when she spoke about her abusive alcoholic father who would beat up her mother for no apparent reason.

This drama and the performances at the Chibuku Stage set were part of the exciting arts showcase featuring theatre, music, dance, poetry, visual arts, film as well as fashion. The festival ends on Sunday.