Shoko Festival on the roll

Vimbai Zimuto

THE Voice 2 Rep Watch Party will tonight set the ball rolling for the country’s biggest annual urban culture jubilee, Shoko Festival which runs until Saturday at venues spread across Harare and Chitungwiza.

The festival is capitalising on the relaxed COVID-19 regulations to assume a hybrid format whereby most of its events will be physical, while others will be online to cater for those who may not be able to physically attend.

Festival organisers Magamba Network have hosted the event annually since 2011 amid difficult circumstances ranging from COVID-19 to economic and social challenges which have continued to choke the arts industry.

The opening ceremony set for the festival’s main hub, Moto Republik in the capital, will feature new voices from across Zimbabwe that are demanding accountability through music.

The event is being held in partnership with Accountability Lab Zimbabwe.

The five-day fête will be held under the theme PARTYcipate, which according to the organisers, is a clarion call to encourage young people to be part of public processes that define their future.

In its 12th edition, this year the fête has a special focus on local talent which kept people’s hopes alive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up-and-coming artistes have been accorded the opportunity to showcase their talents and rub shoulders with the country’s heavyweights at the festival.

Some of performers at the festival include dancehall singer Freeman, king of drill Voltz JT Crooger and Kikky Badass a hip-hop star.

Also, in the line-up are new hip-hop stars, who include trap sungura pioneer Tanto Wavie, Brian Jeck from Chegutu and Bulawayo-based rapper Luminous.

To add a new flare to the event, international performers TMRS AwaGe and Rhodalia Silvestre from Mozambique and multi-creative Dj Lady Light from Zambia will share the stage with local artistes.

“During the two years of lockdowns and a pandemic, our Zimbabwean artistes were the ones who kept us entertained and motivated while we were stuck at home. So, this year at Shoko Festival we want to celebrate our amazing local acts,” Shoko Festival director Farai “Comrade Fatso” Munroe said.

“As we want to show that locals are legit, this year all our headlining acts are proudly Zimbabwean as we salute the power of our artistes. The theme of the festival is befitting the election season that is upon us.”

Some of the events lined up for the festival include Women’s Cypher, Mash Up Night, the Roast of Temba Mliswa and the main event Peace in the Hood to be held in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

The Women’s Cypher, set for Zimbabwe German Society tomorrow, will celebrate African women in hip-hop, featuring TMRS AwaGe from Mozambique, multi-creative Dj Lady Light from Zambia and Mary Jane and Lisa Afonso from Mutare with Dj Fafi on the decks as well as an all-female band.

Mash Up Night will take place at Moto Republik on Thursday and will feature a special musical collaboration, according to festival organisers, while the headline act Voltz JT will shut the night down.

On Friday, Simuka Comedy will curate the second edition of the Shoko Roast of Norton legislator Temba Mliswa at REPS Theatre in Belgravia, Harare.

The show panel will feature self-proclaimed Prophet Madungwe, songbird Vimbai Zimuto, Lorraine Guyo, Sokostina, Ckanyiso Dat Guy, Bustop TV founder Lucky Aaron and Comrade Fatso.

The festival’s final day programme will include the main event Peace in the Hood to be held in Unit L, Chitungwiza, featuring headline acts Freeman and Kikky Badass, who will get the crowd jumping with their electric performances.

Over the years the festival has provided a platform for hundreds of young Zimbabwean rappers, comedians, musicians and spoken word artists to perform, collaborate and express themselves.

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