Hifa to bring Freshlyground again


THE Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) organisers yesterday broke their silence, saying they were also puzzled by the Immigration Department’s decision to bar South African music outfit Freshlyground from performing as the closing act at the annual event on Sunday.


Despite the setback, Hifa said they remained optimistic that they would again engage government to bring Freshlyground for a show in the immediate future to cover up for the mix-up.

Hifa in a statement yesterday said they had received government assurances that the group would be allowed into Zimbabwe.

“Hifa has not received any reason for the denial of entry of Freshlyground. Other government ministries and departments are also surprised at the denial of entry,” Hifa said.

According to Hifa, the itinerary for all artistes billed to perform during the festival had been cleared after their payments, including that of Freshlyground, was accepted.

“Hifa paid NAC (National Arts Council) fees and got NAC clearance letters. No objections were raised by the authorities pertaining to the group’s coming.

“Hifa paid the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority fees and received clearance letters. No objections were raised,” the festival organisers said.

All other statutory payments, including censorship and temporary employment permit fees, were also made, Hifa added.

Hifa added that out of the seven–member group, only two members, including Keith Farquharson, were permitted entry. Hifa said the award–winning group’s application was valid so it could not have been a case of “bungling”.

In the absence of official reasons behind the move, there has been widespread speculation that the last–minute deportation could have been torched by the controversial music video, Chicken for Change, done by Freshlyground in which the group mocked and denounced President Robert Mugabe for clinging to power.

Freshlyground has, however, said the video was a mere piece of humour in art.

“Hifa is, however, confident of the government departments’ capacity for common sense and professionalism which Hifa has always experienced from these departments and Hifa is also confident such common sense and professionalism will set in,” added the Hifa statement.

Hifa said legally, only groups that would have secured a contract with the NAC were required to meet the statutory payments and “all of this was done (many weeks in advance) and everyone was aware of the group’s coming”.


  1. Good lucky with that and We will keep watching the space. Mocking the president of a country and you say its humour, you must be jocking

    • It is not only Mugabe on that Video, but there is Mbeki, Zuma, Tutu and Mandela, so whats special about Mugabe. The group is still resident in SA in spite of featuring the SA Head of Sate

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  2. oh , well. for some time, am sure they shall only sing that song in SA and any other country. They are good, but we will not allow them here . Vanotuka Mugabe , voti it will be business as usual? No way.

  3. @ nhari negomo i see no reason wrong to make fun at the head of state. Presidents the world over are poked fun at, jokes are made of them. Lets stop this nonsense of making people gods, when they blood when cut, have red blood just like and use the toilet when then the need arises just like all do. Inthe early ’80s boyid maliki a cartoonist with the chroncile in bulawayo used keep us laughing with cartoons of mugabe and nkomo, won awards ’cause of them until some idiot thought otherwise and he was arested the president did not complain about hi the butt of joke just like the late VP muzende. Only oea brained people objected oh what a shame that we can’t entertains in the visit this country because some arse thinks they undermine the president.

  4. @sandura at school we used to do odd one out.what have all the others you mentioned other than mugabe have in comon?the point was let not a zimbabwean make “mocking video” of zuma and expect to be welcomed in sa or the other way round.there is nothing special about mugabe but fact is ask zimbabwean who stays in south africa how the sa people belitle zimbabweans.you remember xenophobic attacks?

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  6. tambaoga aka deport when he said the blair that l no is a toilet, mock your own leader not another them expect to be welcomed l agree with u terence

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  8. This world is full of excellent artists who are clean in their conduct. We don’t need controversial artists who hide behind ‘humour’ whilst in politics. What will our children learn from a song denigrating elders? To HIFA, do not waste your energy trying to get yourselves dirty.

  9. Wisdom dictates that what might be considered humorous to some is offensive to others. White and black cultures are quite different in this regard and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It becomes an issue when one party expects the other to find their brand of humor amusing regardless of the obvious fact that the other party if offended by it. Consider Freshlyground’s facebook page posts from yesterday; it was mostly Mugabe hating white people outside Zimbabwe plus a few blacks in Zimbabwe in solidarity with hifa and Freshlyground, while the majority of the comments, which are now deleted, are voices of unamused black Zimbabweans. If I were the hifa director I would humble myself and let this thing slide, not escalate it by insinuating that presently our government’s department of Immigration is lacking common sense and professionalism. There will always be differences of opinion in matters, great and trivial. I suppose, one having a superiority complex, is unable to accept that his or her opinions that are not shared by the majority must take the back seat.

  10. one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist, you will spend the whole day arguing on the same thing without seeing your differences……the fact is that some people miss the whole point behind music and besides musicians and bands do have their own followers…so if u do not support the group wrap it up and let those who love it enjoy their presence in Zim. Censorship in Zim is the order of day am somehow glad the video is SAn otherwise it could not have lasted a day here in Mgabeland!!!!!!!!!

  11. Hifa! Tanzanwa ne these South African performances and stuff% South is our neighbour for crying out loud^ This kind of pride is killing the international flavour of the festival

  12. Zvichapera riinhiko zvechiterrorist, wen people fear the government it is dictatorship please we need democracy

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  15. Ndega ndogona kutukana nemukadzi wangu mumba medu asi kuti umwe munhu abve kwaanobva osviko nditukira mukadzi wangu pamba pangu, naYave ndinokuuraya. They can always do that to Zuma muno taramba

  16. So it is Mugabe who should be allowed to scorn the US president, apparently while in the US, year in year out. It is Mugabe who should be allowed to scorn Lindiwe Zulu, and still be allowed to travel to SA. Pathetic from the government, you think Mugabe is equal to Jesus Christ, fortunately, the rest of the world does not see it that way!

    • vanotukwa zvinoenderana nezvavataura. Besides it is SA or America ‘s right to take necesssary steps and nobody should begrudge them. So in Zim if they are told kuti matuka asaka hamulume its Zim;s right.

  17. Qsn to HIFA: Did u seek clearance frm Immigration Dept? For all i kno, NAC,& ZIMRA dont issue work permits,neither do they grant entrance to foreigners at points of entry. Also u nid to shed light on why only two members of the group were granted entry and not the rest. Fact is Keith Farquarson and the other white guy r Zimbabweans who didnt nid a permit to enter their country. The onus is also on journalists to unravel such facts and stop politicising issues fo the sake of it!

    • Valid questions indeed, but you will be branded a cio and a beneficiary of the regime for exercising common sense, others will accuse you of having no sense of humor for your refusal to entertain foolishness. FYI, Keith is not a member of the band but a hired sound man and engineer, he is one talented Zimbabwean.

  18. All said and done Zimbabwe Gvt reserve a right to grant work permits or not to grant them. You cal all say this and that and the fact remains that these guys will not be allowed in Zim. I have said this many time many artists around the globe there are places their not allowed and why are you making such a fuss with a Rhodie Band/Full of hate

  19. HIFA is losing the plot and courting unnecessary political controversy. In fact HIFA MUST BE BANNED. By and large the whole carnival is a business venture that will line some people’s pockets. If you want to make money by mocking the president, there is plenty to make. However expect to be severely wounded in the process. Not even a wise fool would mock the Queen in the UK and expect to go Scot free. Of course you wont be arrested in the UK. The police will be called to rescue you from the instant justice of the citizens.

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