The past five days marked yet another edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) which grinds to a halt today.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
It goes without mention that organisers had a torrid time putting the mega event together, given the economic meltdown the country is in.
But, smiles of gratification worn by festival founder Manuel Bagoro and executive director Maria Wilson on Friday night after the Tuku, Winky D and friends show best described the hard-fought conquest the festival drivers felt.
“I am very glad that what we are doing here today is a statement of the future for Hifa, and I hope it is also a valuable contribution in the arts industry in this country,” Bagoro told The Standard Style soon after the show at the Zol Mainstage.
He lauded the great response and turnout by the crowds, whom he said were the reason they decided to bring back the six-day format after trying to stretch it throughout the year.
“It’s a beautiful thing when people come together and decide this must happen then things can change and transformation can be so positive,” said a visibly elated Bagoro, labelling this edition “a festival of renewal”.
Wilson registered her relief that thousands made their way into the gates, defying cash shortages.
“The turnout is actually more than I expected because I thought disposable income was so small that we would have less numbers, but people are coming and that’s the important thing,” she said.
In the build-up to the fete, Wilson emphasised the purpose of Hifa, which was ran under the theme Staging an Intervention as a healing tool to a divided nation.
“We have achieved what we wanted with Hifa, which is this spirit of upliftment and this feeling of unity — something we rarely feel,” said Wilson.
Meanwhile, jazz icon Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi exuded his usual brilliance during his slot where he was joined by younger artists.
There is no doubt that Samanyanga, as he is affectionately known, has taken a great role at this year’s Hifa as he performed at the official opening as well.
“Like always, it is a beautiful platform to interact with everybody,” he said.
A large section of the crowd who were not privy to the programme setup felt robbed when Zimdancehall sensation Winky D left the stage after performing two songs only.
However, in the snippet showcase, the Gaffa President made a lasting impression, proving that he may as well soon stand in the same shoes as Tuku.
Other artists who joined Tuku’s Friday performance included South African Steve Dyer, Tariro NeGitare, a Japanese ensemble and his wife Daisy.