via 2013 arts festivals in retrospect | The Herald December 31, 2013 by Brenda Phiri
In the last few months, the arts industry has been full of activity. Significant development and growth has been recorded as festivals were taking place in different parts of the country.HIFA
The Harare International festival of Arts came and went but as is the norm, it left a lasting impression. In the month of April when the festival roared to life, fans were treated to master class performances in genres such as music, theatre and film, among others.Senegalese musician Baaba Maal was the main act of the festival.
The inaugural Zimbabwe International Carnival also brought flair not only to Harare but different parts of the country. Organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, it celebrated the country’s cultural diversity from May 24-26.
Highlights of the carnival included a beauty pageant on May 18, a gospel show on May 19 before a samba night on May 22.
The Zimbabwe International Film Festival was among the festivals that marked the end of 2013.
The four day fete celebrated its 15th anniversary that was graced by top South African filmmaker and screen actor Vusi Kunene.
According to Nigel Munyati, the ZIFF acting director and founding trustee, they were happy with the festival though they were disappointed by the low turnout.
Chimanimani Arts Festival
The Eastern Highlands reverberated to the sounds of the drum, song and dance when the Chimanimani Arts Festival burst into life in August. It ran from 9-11 and drew the likes of Sniper Storm, Alexio Kawara, Progress Chipfumo, Selma Mtukudzi, among others to Manicaland. Financial constraints could not dampen the mood at the festival, according to its director, Chido Musasiwa Gutu
The Shoko Festival was bigger and better than last year’s, according to its director Sam Monroe. The six-day festival aimed at pushing consciousness among young people attracted over 250 people from three continents.
It was held on September 17-22 at Water Whirld while running under the theme “We the People, Live Concerts”. Comedy nights poetry slams, photo exhibitions were among the events that took place at the festival. Jamaican musician Tony Rebel came for the festival.
The Intwasa Arts Festival celebrated its 19 edition in style in September. Artistes from Southern African countries joined locals, Willis Watafi, Selmor Mtukudzi and Dudu Manhenga for the six-day event. Festival director Raisedon Baya said artistes based in Durban performed in Bulawayo as a result of the cultural exchanges between the two cities.
Dance groups from different parts of the country clashed at the annual Chibuku Neshamwari festival held in the Harare Gardens in September. The talent search festival is growing each year and shares the same status with Star Brite, Chibuku Road to Fame and Music
Crossroads. This year, it marked its 50th anniversary and contestants were competing for the US$4 000 prize money.
The Zimbabwe International Book Fair remains the biggest annual literature event in the country. Although it was postponed from September 30 to October 4 after the initial schedule was deferred to make way for the harmonised elections, it lived to the billing. Its theme was “ZIBF@30: Enabling Creativity, Writing, Publishing and Reading for Africa’s Growth”.
The year 2013 saw the inaugural Zimbabwe Music Festival Bira coming to Zimbabwe in August. Formed in 2007 by Sweden-based Luckson “Manluckerz” Chikutu, the festival debuted at the Book Café. However, it was fairly attended due to poor marketing.
Midlands Arts And Cultural Festival (MACFEST) held its 6th edition in September in Gweru. Describing the week-long multi-disciplinary fiesta as a hive of happiness Joe Wailer, the creative director said the MACFEST was aiming at a crucial growth market.
Summer Beer Festival
The Lion Lager Summer Festival was amongst the major highlights of the year on the entertainment calendar this year. The main show on October 12 at Harare’s Glamis Arena came amid a successful Lion Larger campus nights that were held in almost all the country’s universities.
Bindura Arts Festival
The Bindura Arts Festival was bigger this year with Chipadze festival. The festival was aimed at showcasing new and upcoming talent, mainly from Mashonaland Central and also encourage artistes from smaller cities to showcase their abilities.
Jibilika Dance Festival
The Jibilika Dance Festival saw more than 2 000 youths taking part in theatrical, dance and other performances.
It ran under the theme, “Step up to HIV’” and 34 dance groups from across the country competed for honours on August 31 at the Zimbabwe College of music.
Mash East Cultural festival
The annual Murehwa Uzumba Cultural Festival (Mucuf) rebranded this year to become Mashonaland East Cultural Festival; a move organisers said cemented the festival’s status.
It was held from October 23-27 at Murewa Culture Centre. However, it flopped due to high gate charges
Intellectual Expo in September ran under the theme “Research Partnership for Wealth Creation”. Students across the country’s colleges and universities came through to showcase their talents through visual arts, fashion shows, drama, poetry, music dance and modelling.
Prof Herbert Chimhundu, one of the organising committee member said 22 institutions registered to take part.
Women’s Arts Festival
The Women’s Arts Festival debuted on November 23 at Alliance Francaise. It was aimed at celebrating womanhood while puting women artistes on the fore front. Pah Chihera dazzled at the fete.
Winter Jazz Festival
There was poor attendance at this year’s Winter Jazz Festival in August. It was low key and attracted half the crowds that used to throng Jazz 105 for the fete.
Besides the low turnout, the line-up of performers comprised mostly local artistes with Max Vidima of South Africa , being the only foreign-based big name.