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Harare Arts Festival makes a comeback in Zimbabwe
April 5, 2017, 4:46 pm

Zimbabwe and probably one of Africa's biggest annual festival and workshop program, Harare International Arts Festival (HIFA) is to make a welcome return in May, after a year’s absence from the scene. The festival showcases the best of local, regional and international arts and culture in a comprehensive festival program of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, fashion, spoken word and visual arts.

HIFA Festival, which dates back to 1999, has received recognition for its support of arts and culture in Zimbabwe and is seen as a major contributor to promoting and developing African culture. HIFA is now the largest cultural event in Zimbabwe and among the eight major festivals in Africa. This year’s HIFA 2017 festival, being held under the theme of ‘Staging an Intervention’, was launched last week at a function in Harare, with organizers promising the event will be “as good as it has always been”.

"We chose this theme because we are holding the event in the midst of confusion and anxiety, not only in our country but the world over. So we are going to intervene and say let's stop being negative. You will see a different look, we are saying enough is enough; let's celebrate, let's be positive and look into the future and bring people into the country," HIFA Executive Director, Maria Wilson told a press conference at the launch ceremony.

She said they would work with more or less the same artists they have been working with in the past who are involved in music, arts and the spoken word among other creative forms. The music program for the week will see artists from Zimbabwe as well as from across the globe participating. Among those taking part will be the United Kingdom's biggest selling opera superstar, Noah Stewart, Cameroonian singer, guitarist and musical story teller, Kareyce Fotso and Timo ODV, a South African singer, songwriter and producer among others.

There will also be a dance program involving an interactive dance piece from the UK, Tim Casson and Friends, a theatre program featuring a mixture of styles and genres from Zimbabwe, Kenya and UK. The Youth Zone and the Global Quarter will also be some of the main features at this year's extravaganza.

HIFA Associate Executive Director Tafadzwa Simba, said despite the tough economic situation, they had managed to get sponsors for each of the six days of the festival. "It is really not only about sponsors supporting the event, it is an ideal of what Zimbabwe should be like. Everything is basically in place and we have friends who have started crowd funding initiatives. These are people from outside the country who are augmenting what we have put together," he said.


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