BY WINSTONE ANTONIO/SINDISO DUBE
THE country’s top festivals Shoko and Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo ignited the spark that had gone off for long on the showbiz scene due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
After five days of festivity, the curtains came down on Saturday for the festivals held in Harare and Bulawayo respectively.
Shoko Festival, the country’s biggest urban culture jubilee was held virtually under the theme: Shoko Universe while Intwasa was both physical and virtual in line with the COVID-19 guidelines.
The physical shows for the 17th edition of Intwasa were staged at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, the Bulawayo Theatre and the Zimbabwe Music Academy while the virtual ones were streamed on the festival’s digital platforms.
Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Shoko festival director Farai “Comrade Fatso” Munroe said they were satisfied with the success of the event.
“We are really happy with how the festival has gone this year and on one hand we have been able to put out some really cutting-edge new performances, productions and sets,” he said.
“Through the festival we have been able to put out a powerful message using arts to inspire young people to challenge the status quo, to get out the alternative messages and to use music as a way to encourage young people to be part of the positive change in this country.”
Comrade Fatso said they managed to reach out to tens of thousands of viewers across the globe through Facebook and YouTube.
“We are going to keep on doing what we do to bring the best of the festival. Massive shout to the artistes who have been involved, our fans and the production team for managing to put out such a festival during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Comrade Fatso said the Shoko Roast, When Arts Meet Politics show curated by Simuka Comedy was an epic display that pushed boundaries.
Politician and president of Labour Economists and African Democrats party, Linda Masarira was grilled with humour on the show by top comedians Doc Vikela, Admire “Bhutisi” Kuzhangaira and Kaden, filmmaker Joe Njagu, Munya Noble Stylz, and Charmaine Mujeri.
“The closing concert, a jam-packed Peace In The Hood show, was also a breaking boundary in terms of the kind of set, shot in a bottlestore. It brought together some of Zimbabwe’s big names like Van Choga and Tocky Vibes, but also the new kids on the block like Tashamiswa, Tanto Wave and Boss JT,” he said.
Some of the artistes who were part of Shoko festival include musicians Sylent Nqo, Djembe Monks, Thandy Dhlana, Thandeka, Feli Nandi, GZE, Jungle Loco and Dancehall Kedha, among others.
Meanwhile, at Intwasa the curtain came down with new artistes dominating the stage.
Novuyo Seagirl, Msizkay and DJ Crazy D were the only renowned artistes on the stage at the show that really provided the right festival ambiance.
In the evening, Bulawayo Theatre hosted a comedy night themed New Normal, New Faces, organised by Maforty that featured new faces.
Comedians, who wowed the crowd were Dalubuhle “Samadanquinzo” Mdlongwa, Da Nonsense Comedian, Nlisi Bokani, Frank Chirisa, Jahalezansi and Tinashe, the only one from Harare, while Anashe Kachambwa provided the musical interlude.
“This was a great show, we thank Intwasa for providing us a platform. It is rare to have new faces headlining such a festival and people being supportive,” Maforty said.
“We sold out the event, that means a lot to us and the new artistes, it gives them confidence to push more next time.
“Comedy has changed in the city, we now have a new crop, a new life has been birthed on the comedy scene and they all need our support to take on the industry.”
Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe