‘Hifa to offer more than ever before’

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THE Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) — which officially kicks off today — hosted a party on Sunday for its partners and sponsors to thank them for their assistance and support for its 2015 edition at Town House in Harare.

By Tatira Zwinoira

Founder and artistic director Manuel Bagorro presented a congratulatory message to the Hifa amigos, embassies and corporate partners.

“My vision is for a festival that represents what people want to say; the words they want to say, the music they want to create and the dance they want to make and perform,” Bagorro said.

“I want the festival to be representative of the temperature of the creative community in Zimbabwe.”

Bagorro said despite the economic challenges, Hifa had been able to organise people to come on board to help sponsor the festival.

“The EU (European Union) has given a financial contribution to Hifa through the Culture Fund sponsorship,” said Philippe Van Damme, the Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation in Zimbabwe.

He said the contribution would cater for two major things including culture that should be accessible to everybody targeting more vulnerable groups, youths and also street kids and the unemployed so that they can offer employment during Hifa and also try to build national capacity in the culture sector and open the minds of the people who have not had a chance to interchange with people from the international scene.

Van Damme added that the financial support given to Hifa through the Culture Fund was 50 000 euros which is part of a fund of 30 0000 euros for 2015 and 2016 for different cultural projects.

“For this particular edition of Hifa we are bringing in a traditional American group from Hawaii. They practice a form of music called Aloha music and there are some really strong connections between the concepts of Aloha music and ubuntu,” said United States Ambassador Bruce Wharton.

Wharton said every year they did everything they could to support Hifa, highlighting that the American embassy was sponsoring about 20 different American artistes that would be jetting in from the US for performances at Hifa.

Japanese Ambassador Yoshi Hiraishi said they had also invited various Japanese artistes who would perform to their maximum abilities to entertain everybody attending Hifa.

“After Hifa these artistes are planning to go to Bulawayo to perform there as well,” he said.

Furthermore, deputy media communications liaison for Hifa, Charmaine Chitate said sponsors were approached individually and presented with areas in which they could offer support to the event.

“Hifa creates brand ambassadors as well as friends for the city of Harare and it’s an opportunity for the city to present itself during the event,” said Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.

“Our theme this year, To Articulate, is one that people really found resonating. They want to react to it, they want to be a part of it,” Bagorro said.

This year’s edition of Hifa will feature 200 amigos and the festival will run from April 28 to May 3.

The international festival was established in 1999 and it runs annually between April and May. Hifa has since become one of Africa’s most recognised arts festivals with great international acclaim.