HIFA kicks off on high note

...VIPs impressed by opening show
hifa_2011_2HARARE - The annual Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) 2011 kicked off on a high note at the Harare Gardens last week, with an impressive fireworks display that mesmerised the multi-racial audience.

In separate exclusive interviews both local and international personalities said they had “thoroughly enjoyed themselves” at the annual display – the largest in Zimbabwe’s cultural diary. “This shows that Zimbabweans are now very mature and there is a lot of tolerence from both black and white people,” Sarah-Joan Nott, Chief Operating Officer of Transaction Payment Solutions (TPS) said in an interview.

“This never used to happen and I can see this country becoming even more tolerant, politics aside. HIFA is great.” The HIFA official opening always draws a diverse and united audience to experience magic of the official opening of the Festival. This year was no different.

The packed to capacity crowd in the grounds of the Telecel (Private) Limited (Telecel) Main Stage was treated to a dazzling display of art with a social consciousness created by the visionary theatre impresario Brett Bailey. Bailey returned to HIFA after a year’s absence to create his fifth opening show.

Titled “Treasure”, the Opening Show combined memorable music and dazzling dance to tell the story of the diverse experiences of the entire spectrum of our modern society, especially the dangers of being caught up in the rat race.

The show opened with a display of opulence, with pianos turning into fabulous cars and giant washing machines that symbolised that “life was good”.

Farai Mupfunya, Zimbabwe Culture Fund Executive Director, told The Zimbabwean that while he felt honoured to have Bailey around, Zimbabwe must “nurture its own talent” to be able to handle such important events. “Let us not take anything away from Brett,” he said.

“However, I feel that other Zimbabweans must now be allowed to handle this important ceremony. Brett has been doing this for about five years now and we need variety especially coming from locals.” Mupfunya also said the arts and culture industry in Zimbabwe was “picking up at a great pace”. “You can see for yourself just how much work has gone into some of the displays,” he said.

Top songster, Busi Ncube, who performed on Friday night said she thought the event was “very organised”. “I am performing too and so I cannot say much about other performers,” she said. Ncube of the Band Rain and a former star with the Bulawayo-based Illanga Band, got down to poet Albert Nyathi’s hit song “Isikokiyana” produced in 1963 by Musarurwa.

Nyathi went on to read a poem called “My Daughter” to the audience which he dedicated to “all girls from serious crocodiles whose mouths are always wide open and from black mambas whose mouths hate to miss a target”. “I need more time to perform more songs,” Nyathi hinted to HIFA supremo, Manuel Bagorro, after the audience had requested that he perform his famous “Senzeni Na” hit song.

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