HIFA returns after a year’s absence

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ZIMBABWE and probably Africa’s annual festival and workshop programme that showcases the best of local, regional and international arts and culture in a comprehensive festival programme of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, fashion, spoken word and visual arts, will return this May after a year’s absence from the scene.
HIFA 2017 was launched this Wednesday in Harare under the theme “Staging an Intervention” with organisers saying the event will be as good as it has always been.
“We chose this theme because we are coming 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 the launching press conference in Harare Wednesday.
Wilson 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.
“There is some good news; HIFA is going to be as much as has been in the past. We are fighting to have it like that,” Wilson told a press conference in Harare.
She said the opening session would include a concert featuring Mahube, Oliver Mtukudzi and a dance and gymnastic companies and guests.
The music programme for the week will also see artists from across the globe; among them 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 programme involving an interactive dance piece from the UK, Tim Casson and Friends, a theatre programme 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 usual 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, among them top financial institutions coming in for the first time whose identity he was not at liberty to immediately reveal.Advertisement

“It is really not only about sponsors supporting the event but an ideal of what Zimbabwe should be like. Everything is basically in place and we have friends who have started crowd funding initiatives with one having started already while the second one will be next Tuesday. These are people from outside the country who are augmenting what we have put together,” he said.
Simba said the pricing will not change from the previous festival due to the current economic hardships in the country.
“The paradigm has been to keep the tickets as low as possible. We also have special programming for young people where we will have about 50 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds coming in for free.
He said there will be two extra venues this year which will be revealed in due course.
HIFA Festival, established way back in 1999, has received recognition for its support of arts and culture in Zimbabwe and is seen as a major contributor to development in this area. HIFA is now the largest cultural event in Zimbabwe and among the eight major festivals in Africa.