RURAL Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage minister, Abednico Ncube said Zimbabwe and India are on the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cultural exchange programmes to cement relations between the two countries.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Ncube made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf by his ministry’s director of arts, Biggie Samwanda at the opening reception of the India in the Sunshine City festival at India House in the capital on Saturday night.
“The continued interaction of the rich cultural heritage of the two friendly countries [Zimbabwe and India] reflects the natural links that exist since time immemorial. While the government-to-government level we are at an advanced stage to sign a memorandum of understanding on cultural exchange programmes. I am happy that cultural exchanges in the recent few years, have intensified,” Ncube said.
“India and Zimbabwe have a long history of people-to-people interaction dating back to the era of the great Munhumutapa Kingdom, when there was a flow and exchange of people through merchants establishing trade links with Zimbabwe trading in textile, jewellery and minerals.”
The second edition of the festival, that will run until end of month, is a joint effort of the Embassy of India in Zimbabwe and Team Arts Work that showcase India’s cultural mix of classical and contemporary music, theatre, dance, food, films and yoga.
Ambassador of India in Zimbabwe Masakui Rungsung said the festival has succeeded in reinforcing the narratives of the seamless and harmonious relationship of the people from Asia and Africa.
“The success of the festival echoes the appetite of Zimbabweans to receive any new rich cultural offerings including from that vibrant, dynamic, diverse and culturally pluralistic India. The response and support we received last year has encouraged us to expand the content of the festival this year to include more items to make it bigger and better so that the festival will continue to add value to the cultural and art-loving people and city of Harare, in particular, and Zimbabwe in general,” he said.
Rungsung has called for more support to make the festival more inclusive and be an important mark on the Zimbabwean cultural calendar, adding that after the inauguration of the event, a number of exchange programmes were initiated between the two countries and they are in the process of getting a troupe from India for the forthcoming Harare International Carnival.
Part of the activities to be featured at the festival include Mahatma In Me an exhibition by Vibhor Sogani at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Indian Film Festival under the theme 70 years of Indian Cinema at Reps Theatre in the capital, Indian Food Festival with Chef Vikram Udaygiri at Monomotapa Hotel, Bollywood Dance Workshop, a musical collaborative dubbed Bollywood Extravaganza and yoga sessions at Reps Garden.