GERMAN-BASED South African choreographer Jesica Yupen and award winning Zimbabwean dancer, Vein Alfazima have been confirmed as part of the artists to grace the inaugural three-day Mafuwe International dance festival scheduled for August 16-18 at Reps Theatre in Harare
BY PRECIOUS CHIDA .
Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style last week, Yupen said she was excited to be bringing her Johannesburg-based Rebellion group to Zimbabwe for the festival that she described as the gathering of the creatives on a Pan-African stage.
“I am thrilled to be presenting work from the continent, which is a real opportunity to engage in discourse on social and politically pertinent topics that affect us daily,” she said.
“It is also a wonderful opportunity to connect within the arts on a pan-African basis and contribute to strong and diverse scene.”
National Arts Merit Award winner Alfazima applauded the festival organisers saying the event brings opportunities for cultural exchange.
“This is a great and bigger platform to perform at, and I am so happy to be part of it. It is an opportunity for local and international artists to really showcase their work,” she said.
Other international artists who are expected to perform at the festival include Coren Oran from Germany, Renegade Dance Company, Espace Darja Dance Company from Morroco, Moving into Dance Mophatong and Faizzal from Uganda.
The festival’s co-founder, Plot Mhako (pictured) said workshops, panel discussions, networking events as well as projects for younger audiences and the local community will be part of the festival.
“We took a very bold step to launch the festival at a time when the country is going through a difficult economic phase. We believe this is the right moment to use creativity to spark new energies and imagination,” he said.
“The arts play a key role in inspiring a people and Zimbabwe right now needs that and we are also hoping that the festival promotes tourism and improve perceptions of the country.”
Mhako added that the fete will be made an annual event to promote the dance industry across Africa.
“Our goal is to create a sustainable contemporary dance network across Africa and a world that nurtures professional artists.
Through this event we aim to offers high quality and in-depth knowledge sharing as well as to encourage semi-professionals and amateurs to discover the joy of movement and artistic expression,” he said.