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Hifa: An inclusive arts showcase

The Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) — slated for May 1 to 6 — is open for all and that is why it has maintained its Harare Gardens venue located in the heart of the city, organisers have said.

By Kennedy Nyavaya

Now in its 18th edition, Hifa has maintained permanency on the country’s calendar, but there is the lingering misconception that it is an exclusive show for the affluent.
speaking at a press conference to unveil Old Mutual’s financial backing, Hifa executive director Maria Wilson (pictured above) described the traditional venue as strategic to attract people from different social settings and backgrounds.

“We have maintained our stance of staying in the centre of the city, which is not an easy stance to maintain when everybody is saying let’s move out of the city. However, we are not moving out of the city, we are here in Harare Gardens where most people will be able to attend,” she said.

By far the biggest arts fête in the country, Wilson said their aim was to bring different people together in celebrating the healing effect of artistry.

“It’s important coming together because it lifts your spirits, it does not matter how you feel so put away your tranquillisers and anti-depressants for six days and instead just be revived by this music, dance, comedy, drama and fashion — this is what makes the festival unique,” she said.

Old Mutual CEO Jonas Mushosho said their support of Hifa stems from the zeal to influence healthy social lives among locals

“It is an undeniable fact that the arts play an indispensable role in the societal structure. the daily struggles of life are complex and can be taxing on the physical and mental aspects of our bodies, this is where the arts come in,” said Mushosho.

“That is the role of the arts to bring us to a state where we can relax, renew our minds and spirits so that we are re-energised to face the challenges so that we can secure those positive futures.”

The financial services giant sponsors the CABS Opera Gala night and the Old Mutual Day, which is the last day of the show.

Meanwhile, schools such as Midlands Christian College and Harare International School will this year get a chance to showcase their talent on the Coke Green stage with unique acts and choral ensemble Vabati VaJehova is also expected to dazzle the crowds.

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