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LitFest on healing path

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BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO
AN array of creatives across the globe will be part of this year’s edition of the hybrid International Literature Festival (LitFest) slated for November 24 to 27.

South Africa-based English professor Robert Muponde, mbira diva Tendai Mavengeni, and Belgium’s poet Jessie James La Fleur are set to headline the festival that will also feature participants from Germany, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia, Cameroon, Ghana and Scotland.

Going under the theme Healing, the festical will run virtually on social media platforms and physically on the closing day for a concert that will be run in partnership with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany at Theatre in the Park in Harare.

Muponde, an associate professor of English at University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in South Africa, will give a keynote address on the opening night while Mavengeni and La Fleur will perform at the closing night concert.

Festival director Chirikure Chirikure told NewsDay Life & style that the world was on the healing path from various ailments such as colonial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic, thus this year’s event seeks to contribute to the discourse of healing.

“This year’s theme will showcase literature, art, discussions and performances that highlight and celebrate the power of words in healing ourselves, bridging communities and building peace,” he said.

“The world is trying to heal. More conversations on dealing with the painful past have been opening up. Some want restitution for colonial plunder and injustice. The wrongs of historic economic and physical genocides that inflicted personal and communal wounds are being called into light.”

Chirikure said there would be a plethora of panel discussions, book reviews and performances.

“The global pandemic we are grappling with has also brought into sharp focus the need for stronger institutions and common platforms for collaboration on building peace and stability in our world.

“LitFest Harare 2021 seeks to contribute to this pivotal discourse by putting healing, peace building and conflict transformation at the centre of this year’s edition,” he said.

Chirikure expressed gratitude to LitFest partners who include Unesco and the University of Glasgow.

“We are grateful to our long-standing local and international partners whose support enabled us to put the festival together, despite the challenges the world is going through.

“In particular, we appreciate the support from the Unesco Desk of the University of Glasgow, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he said.

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