HIFA arts festival well attended despite Zimbabwe’s economic challenges

HARARE, ZIMBABWE (MAY 04, 2O17) (REUTERS – Hundreds showed up at this year’s Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) a major annual festival which opened on last week in Zimbabwe’s capital.

The six day annual festival features a vibrant display of local and regional arts and culture.

It presents a platform for artists to share ideas, make contacts and showcase their talent in various disciplines including fashion, spoken word, music, theatre and dance among others.

Among the acts lined up on this year’s edition was Dyer-Logue, a collaboration featuring veteran South African jazz artist, Steve Dyer and his son, award winning pianist, Bokani Dyer.

The pair performed a show featuring music influenced by experiences in Botswana where Steve was based and Bokani born in the 1980’s.

“I think very many different artists that come from not just the region but from outside it expands the mind so in as much as Africa needs to assert itself we also need to see what interesting things are happening in the rest of the world,” said Dyer.

Zimbabwean reggae-dancehall artist Winky D headlined at the event, attracting hundreds of revellers with his upbeat music.

Legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi, also joined the artist on stage to the delight of many fans.

Many artists continue to struggle for public funding in the country though, where most events depend on private donors.

The festival was held at a time when cash shortages in the last 13 months have forced banks to impose daily maximum withdrawal limits for most Zimbabweans of sometimes as little as $50 per day.

The cash shortages have come against the backdrop of slowing economic growth and a devastating drought that has left millions facing hunger.

Despite the challenges, many who attended said they still had a good time.

“I like this year’s edition of HIFA because there a lot of Zimbabwean shows and we get to see Zimbabweans who are based outside the country and are coming back with their companies and they are coming back with their acts so I’m really excited about this year’s HIFA because of that,” said Chido Mushaya, a Harare resident.

“2017 Zimbabwe right now we are in Harare and it’s tough. We are using bond notes, US dollars and all kinds of currencies but to get that currency, to get the money in fact to even get it in your bank is really difficult,” said Anthony Mutambira another Harare resident.

The event which started in 1999 also featured workshop programmes this year that included dance, circus, theatre and fashion among other arts.

“What people really love is the intense six days, that’s what’s important about the festival, the kind of melting pot of different typed of artists coming together. You can hear an opera gala is rehearsing next door and we have got mbira players in the stage in the opposite direction. All of those mixtures are important,” said HIFA founder and artistic director, Manuel Bagorro.

The festival also attracted international acts from South Africa, Turkey, Ghana, Italy and Japan among others. HIFA came to a close for another year on May 07.

Associated Links

  • Geography of Africa
  • Provinces of Zimbabwe
  • Harare
  • Harare International Festival of the Arts
  • Zimbabwean art
  • Geography of Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe
  • Nathalie Pownall
  • Victor Kunonga