Harare Open Mic : A Celebration of Young Talent

Saturday 2 December 2023, Ela the Garden, Newlands 2pm

The Harare Open Mic returns this Saturday 2 December at Ela the Garden in Newlands, in what promises to be an exciting afternoon of entertainment featuring poets, rappers, singers and musicians, including 11 students from the University of Zimbabwe Maestro Band.

The ‘Open Mic’ concept became a beacon of hope and activity for young artists of Harare back in the early 2000s, established by Pamberi Trust at the iconic Book Cafe in Harare’s Fife Avenue, where the stage was literally open to all-comers: a microphone, instruments, adverts and ready audience, and off you go!  Monday nights were dedicated to young artists of every description and Saturday afternoons created a special space for poetry, and for young women to come out and perform in the safety of daytime – the Sistaz Open Mic.  From these platforms a number of notable performing artists have risen, growing, learning, testing themselves and reaching new levels in the city, the country and some even now touring in the world.

Now back after a two-year hiatus, this open mic platform is revived by former Pamberi Trust staff – women artists in their own right who helped to build the powerful gender programme FLAME and BOCAPA youth programme – Batsirai Chigama (poet, writer), Rudo Chakanyuka (graphic artist, filmmaker) and Penny Yon (musician, singer, writer). With strong links lasting years since the sad closure of the Book Cafe in 2015. The three have joined forces to organise the event, seeing the need for such a platform for emerging artists.

Chigama said, “…it is important to keep these kinds of spaces active as this allows young artists to experiment, find their voice and gain confidence on the stage thereby grooming them for fruitful careers.” 

This Saturday 2 December event is sponsored in part by One Billion Rising, a global movement whose main aim is to end violence against women and has been making the call for the past 10 years in Zimbabwe.  

The event will feature, among many others, the rising poet and rapper Tatiana Kondo, affectionately known as Banshee – a human rights defender who uses spoken word poetry and music to creatively advocate for women’s and children’s rights, and mental health issues. Banshee spearheads a womanist movement called Shee, and hosts an annual mental wellness event ‘Battlescars and Healing’.  Renowned poet Ruth Tsopotsa, author of Oasis in Crisis will also perform.

The line-up of 25 diverse and exciting artists includes Ruth Tsopotsa, Tashinga Ndindana, Nothando Mhlanga, Tawanda Vombo, Bernadette Mutangara, Gamuchirai, Viviana, Tendai Mhlanga, Millicent Yedwa, Nelson Mbewe, Abel.S.Royikop aka i-Simba, Ariphileng Munashe Kwela, Cecilia Kamuputa, Florence Amanda Muzambani, Tronix Carter, Rutendo Chichaya, Ropafadzo Maumburudze, Obert Gwari, Shelton aka Wagwizi, Dumiso Brickhill, Clive Robin Change aka Wa-B.B, Ian Ndondo, Delight Hungwe.

The Harare Open Mic offers a chilled and relaxed atmosphere for a family outing and promises nothing but good vibes in the cool leafy surrounds of Ela the Garden.

Post published in: Arts

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