IN spite of the difficult socio- economic challenges the country is facing the much-awaited Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) roars to life tomorrow in its traditional six-day format, stretching to Sunday after a one-year sabbatical due to financial constraints and a low sponsor turnout.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The festival that showcases arts and culture in the genres of music, spoken word, applied craft and design, theatre, fashion and dance will be held under the theme Hifa 2017: Staging an Intervention.
The internationally-acclaimed grandee of music Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi headlines the stellar line-up of artistes set to perform at a musical extravaganza to mark the official opening of the festival tomorrow night at Harare Gardens.
The opening show to be staged under the theme Let Our Song Be Sung, will feature Mtukudzi, Amanda a la Banda from Italy and Grammy nominated Afro-roots star and humanitarian activist, Rocky Dawuni from Ghana.
The festival founder and artistic director, Manuel Bagorro last week while addressing the media in the capital said he was grateful and excited the festival is back, adding he was proud of the programming this year.
“Where the magic of Hifa lives is in the six-day format, that is why we are all back here.
“We realised that there was something like a melting pot, a sort of chemical reaction that happens during the six days in the centre of our beautiful capital city where there are challenges, but there are also enormous joys and laughter,” Bagoro said.
The festival’s executive director, Maria Wilson said: “It was a case of saying we are going to pull out this international event that is supposed to happen in our capital city and we are going to make it happen by sheer force of will if necessary, but we are going to do it and that is where we are.”
Associate executive director, Tafadzwa Simba said festival-goers should not worry about cash shortages, as they had facilitated the useage of plastic money during the festival.
“We have increased the number of point-of-sale machines. So we now have an adequate number and people will not face any hassles,” he said.
On the comedy side, award-winning stand-up comedian Carl Joshua Ncube has for the second time been trusted by the festival organisers to co-ordinate the comedy programmes at the festival.
The internationally-acclaimed comedian will be responsible for the satire and humour mix line-up, featuring local and international comedians.
Commenting on the comedy programme, Wilson said there will be a mix of style and genres for theatre-lovers at the festival.
“The programming addresses stories with an eye to both entertainment and social impact. Productions from Kenya, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe combine to create an unprecedented opportunity for the Hifa audience,” Wilson said.
“Watch out for the Handlebards’ acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Since its inception in 1999, Hifa has received recognition for its support of arts and culture in Zimbabwe and is seen as a major contributor to development in this area unifying local and international artistes.