HomeNewsHifa sold Winky D fans a dummy?

Hifa sold Winky D fans a dummy?

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MALI’S famous pop star, Habib Koite, backed by his band Bamada, last night headlined the closing concert to put the lid on this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe’s premier arts showcase, the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), with a performance at the ZOL Main Stage, at the Harare Gardens.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

Oliver Mtukudzi and Winky D perfom a duet at Hifa in the Harare Gardens on Friday
Oliver Mtukudzi and Winky D perfom a duet at Hifa in the Harare Gardens on Friday

Regarded as one of the Africa’s most popular and acclaimed artistes, Koite has performed over 600 concerts in countries like Japan, Australia, Brazil and Kazakhstan.

The six-day fete that roared into life last Tuesday under the theme Staging an Intervention, brought the city of Harare to life, as punters thronged different venues for a feel of the Hifa experience.

The festival was a vibrant showcase of theatre, dance, music, fashion and visual arts that saw hundreds of artistes from across the continent joining Zimbabwean performers for a comprehensive festival programme.

While the musical side of the festival has over the past years been one of the most entertaining aspects and a major attraction to audiences, the festival organisers on Friday came under fire as many music fans felt robbed and short-changed on how they handled the Oliver Mtukudzi, Winky D and friends concert at the ZOL Main Stage.

According to the festival’s offical programme, the concert was to be headlined by Tuku and Winky D, but many fans, especially the latter’s, were left disappointed when the event organisers, at the eleventh hour, “declared” it a Tuku and Friends concert.

As if that was not enough, they went on to change the time of the show from the initial 10pm to 7:15pm, a development they claimed was meant to accommodate more fans, yet sources privy to the development said the move was intended to allow Tuku, who was “double booked”, to be able to travel for his other assignment outside Harare.

The changes saw some of the fans, who were unaware of the programme changes, missing the show, as they were still outside the venue despite having already purchased the $15 tickets when the Gafa hitmaker performed only three songs that included his duet with Tuku, Panorwadzwa Moyo, on Tuku’s set instead of staging his own.

This, however, did not go well with some of the fans, who had to express their disappointment by shouting obscenities at the festival organisers in protest, as they claimed to have been robbed of their hard-earned cash.

The festival’s associate executive director, Tafadzwa Simba, said: “Hifa shows generally last an hour so as to give audiences the best opportunity to watch as many as possible. The show was a Tuku show with Winky D and friends making appearances as well. This kind of show is only possible if each artiste has a slot and then others come in thereafter.”

Commenting on the festival, Simba said hosting it, especially in these tough economic times, was an achievement.

“The fact that it (festival) was so well supported, even though the audiences are battling cash shortages and many other difficulties, is a huge extra. The fact that it happened at all is a huge cause of celebration for lovers of the arts,” he said.

“Over a hundred visiting artistes participated at the festival alongside nearly a thousand Zimbabwean artistes. At least 300 orphans and vulnerable children were brought to the festival for free. Over 200 students and school leavers were employed and at least 300 other employees participated as event staff.”

Simba expressed gratitude to both the people who attended and the local corporate sector who supported the festival.

Away from the hullabaloo, Winky D gave a star performance that proved his prowess as among the most sought-after musicians in the country as Tuku went on to collaborate with an array of musicians among them Clive “Mono” Mukundu, Tariro Negitare, Iyco and Kaka Furaha from Japan, Steve Dyer, Ghanaian Rocky Duwani and his wife, Daisy.

In the past, Hifa has been criticised for being elitist and providing little value to local artists, however, this year’s edition had several local artists, who teamed up with international acts in various collaborative initiatives.

Some of the top Southern African artistes, among them the Dyer family Steve and Bokani, Mbuzo Khoza from South Africa and Xixel Langa from Mozambique shared the stage with Tuku, Hope Masike, Josh Meck, Mangoma Moyo and Sam Mataure under the reimagined band, Mahube at the opening concert.

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