‘The Biggest HIFA Ever’ – Bagorro

via ‘The Biggest HIFA Ever’ – Bagorro – Zimbo Jam 23 Apr 2015

Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) Founder and Artistic Director, Manuel Bagorro, has said that the 2015 edition of the festival will be the biggest that has ever been held.

Zimbo Jam has established that this year the festival features over 45 musical groups, 14 different plays, 14 different dance acts, over 30 spoken word artists and numerous other artists and crafts practitioners. Over a six day period from April 28 to May 3, a jam packed programme will see about 28 different shows take place each day at 15 different venues, in addition to a craft market, side events, parties and workshops.

Over 1,000 local and international artists are expected to participate.

This is despite reduced funding from key partners of the festival and some pulling out totally due to the tight economic situation in Zimbabwe.

At a press conference held in Harare on Tuesday, Bagorro told journalists that this edition of HIFA will be different from other festivals and would be, “the biggest festival to date.”

“This edition has a rich youth empowerment projects. It seeks to create a range of educational exchange network through a wide range of events at the festival,” Bagorro said.

“We are concerned about developing employment opportunities for youth and creating community engaging projects,” he added. HIFA employs over 1,000 people during its six day duration.

The press conference was also attended by various HIFA partners. Bagorro was flanked by former Harare Mayor and HIFA board of trustees chairman, Muchadeihama Masunda, HIFA Executive Director, Maria Wilson, ZOL Chief Executive Officer, Danny Marandure, Culture Fund Director, Farai Mpfunya, HIVOS Director, Tanja Lubbers and representatives from the European Union, the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Royal Danish Embassy.

Norwegian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Bard Hopland, said, “The festival is a place to articulate and share experiences through art.” He added that HIFA is a giant collaborative undertaking that is supported by the embassy and they had added a new venue, the Royal Norwegian Embassy Dome.
Danida representative, Eric Rasmussen, challenged artists and journalists to take their work out of the Zimbabwean borders in order to clear the negative image of the country.

“This is a wonderful place with a rich culture unlike the negative image most outsiders have of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Danida is supporting artistic collaborations like that of ‘The Lion of Mali’, Salif Keita, and Zimbabwe’s Hope Masike.

European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme, said, “The EU is focused on youth empowerment and income generation through supporting crafts, education and engagement.”

One of the biggest festival partners this year is Internet services provider, ZOL. They are sponsoring HIFA’s main stage and are the official Internet providers to the festival. ZOL Chief Executive Officer, Danny Marandure, said that ZOL was passionate about art, hence its continued support of the festival.

Hivos has over the years been one of the biggest supporters of HIFA and has invested tens of thousands of dollars into the festival to support a number of main stage acts, the Poetry Café and other initiatives. This will unfortunately be the last year they are supporting HIFA.

The theme for this year’s edition of HIFA is “Articulate” and the festival runs from April 28 to May 3. This is HIFA’s 16th year in existence and it has become the biggest arts & culture event on Zimbabwe’s annual entertainment calendar. Last year it was named by CNN as one of the top 7 music festivals in Africa.