THE Victoria Falls International Jazz Festival concert opened on Friday amid calls on artistes to bring the much-needed foreign currency in the country through hosting such events.
BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI
The fiesta took off with a jazz tribute dinner and awards ceremony at Victoria Falls Hotel in honour of three of the greatest Zimbabwean jazz artistes — Dorothy Masuku, the late Green Jangano of Harare Mambos and the late August Musarurwa, composer of the popular song, Skokiaan, which was adapted worldwide by various artistes including Louis Armstrong.
Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation permanent secretary Thokozile Chitepo, who was the guest of honour, said such events were critical in generating foreign currency for the country.
“Music, as we have all witnessed in our lives, is a vehicle we use as we work, think, play, celebrate and even grieve.
Music thus soothes, nourishes our souls and helps in fostering a sense of national and regional identity among people,” she said.
“Victoria Falls is one of Zimbabwe’s biggest tourism destinations. It is through such festivals that the nation is able to realise the much-needed foreign currency.” Chitepo said her ministry was working towards providing a conducive operating environment for artistes. She urged citizens to join hands with organisations such as National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Musicians Union to help fight piracy.
Chitepo said her ministry was also working towards promoting President Emmerson Mnangagwa’ vision of reaching a middle-income economy status by year 2030.
“My ministry rallies behind this vision and we are putting in place necessary strategies that create employment opportunities for the youths and everyone else in the creative and cultural sector,” she said.
South African jazz music promoter Peter Tladi, who attended the event, was also honoured at the three-day event which ended yesterday. The fete was established by Sam Mataure in 2005 with the view to develop musicians by giving them a platform to interact and test their musical ability, create a background for the lifelong appreciation of jazz music and grow the genre.
Entertainment was provided by Klara Wojtkowska of Poland, Edgar Bere as well as Jazz Invitation and Friends.