“NGUVA Yedu – Our Time – Thuba Lethu” is a celebration of African youth and renewal, creativity and a vision for a future Africa through music, poetry, comedy, workshops, arts journalism, open discussion and cultural exchange.Â
The five-day multi-disciplinary arts programme, which started on Tuesday and ends tomorrow, includes debates, workshops, performances and a live webcast reaching other artists from Africa and the world. Â
A joint presentation by Pamberi Trust and it’s South African sister organisation African Synergy Trust, the festival is funded by the Danish Centre for Culture and Development.Â
Artistic discussions revolving around culture, identity, direction and civil society will be followed by exciting performances of young African artists from Africa and elsewhere who are already “putting it out there” in the region and beyond.
Debates and discussions between artists and writers, dubbed “Mindblast!”Â were scheduled to start at The Book CafÃ© yesterday ending today, and all are welcome. Â
The festival culminates tomorrow with a huge outdoor concert (under tent), where some of Zimbabwe’s top young contemporary artists will welcome their neighbours to mark the end of the celebrations.
Victor Kunonga, Dudu Manhenga, Cde Fatso & Chabvondoka and Mic-Inity are all household names in Zimbabwe.
Musicians from the region include Gang Of Instrumentals (South Africa) who have taken Southern Africa by storm in the last few years, Nomad-Yi’s Afro hip-hop from the melting pot of Jozi and the renowned Ugandan group Chameleone. Â
Artists confirmed also include Tomas ‘Zhindina’ Brickhill, home from London, and Johannesburg-based poet, lyricist and actor Antonio David Lyons, who is reported to have a sound that “peels back its house roots to reveal a movement of soulful sounds with a jazz base”.Â
The line-up would not be complete without Zimbabwean groups from the Music Crossroads competition that is held around the world annually, and the festival welcomes 2007 winners Bongo Love and 2008 winners Mokoomba from Victoria Falls.
These groups are spreading their wings beyond our borders, and gaining international exposure through the programme.
The festival is also a great opportunity for young artists emerging from Pamberi Trust’s youth, gender and poetry development programmes, popularly known as Bocapa Xposure, Flame (Female Literary Arts & Music Enterprise), and “House of Hunger Poetry Slam” respectively.Â
They will have the chance to share the stage with young giants in the music world of the region, and be launched into the big time of music performance in readiness for the future – the first big steps of a journey on which they have already started.
Project Officer Penny Yon said: “It’s amazing what talent has emerged in the last year or so, and in the midst of difficult times. We have seen that people need the arts and entertainment, and of course, artists always need to perform.Â As someone once said, ‘the art of survival is the survival of art’. Â
“Gifted young musicians and singers have stepped forward to join the development programmes which include access to instruments and rehearsal space, opportunities for performances at The Book CafÃ© and The Mannenberg, and wide exposure from the publicity that goes along with it.
“Poets who have risen to new heights in the last year include Cde Fatso and Chabvondoka, a serious fusion of poetry and music featuring excellent young musicians in the capital today.Â The group is expected to travel to South Africa and the US in the near future.”
Youth and Poetry project officer Mandla Ncube, who also handles Pamberi Trust’s website, said they would present these artists to a wider Zimbabwe audience, and also to the world through the festival webcast.
He said: “What this means is that anyone on the internet, anywhere in the world, can go to our website and literally participate and enjoy the concert on the web while it is actually happening. Visit www.zimbabwearts.org and follow the link on the front page.” Â
The webcast takes place today at 3-7pm and tomorrow 2pm to midnight.
The cover charge for the festival is US$5 from 2pm, and US$10 from 6pm to midnight.– Own Correspondent.Â Â Â