New era for arts sector … as Hifa, Government join hands

Government and the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) seem to have joined forces in efforts to grow the country’s arts sector.

In years gone by, some disputes between the two parties threatened to throw cold water on the festival. This is now a thing of the past.

In 2014, South African music group, Freshly Ground, was denied entry into Zimbabwe in unclear circumstances.

Freshly Ground was supposed to be the main act at Hifa that year.

Freshly Ground
Freshly Ground

Speaking at a Hifa 2018 launch Press conference in the capital on Tuesday, a senior Hifa official revealed that the festival has engaged Government and will be working closely with its various offices.

“We are glad to reveal that from this year on, we will be working with a number of Government ministries. We are going to be working very closely with the Ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation; the Ministry of Home Affairs and Culture as well as the Department of Immigration,” said Hifa board chairperson, Muchadeyi Masunda.

Muchadei Masunda
Muchadei Masunda

This revelation comes at a time when there are high hopes in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s reforms, which could also see major steps being taken to support the country’s arts sector.

Addressing journalists at the Press briefing, Hifa executive director, Maria Wilson, revealed that the18th edition of the festival will be themed “We Count”.

“Looking at the events in the country in the past few months, we have come to understand that as Zimbabweans we count, we mean something and the theme for this edition is both a reminder to the world and to all Zimbabweans that we surely do count,” said Wilson.

“Our votes count, our experiences count, celebrations count and the Hifa audiences count,” she added.

Maria Wilson
Maria Wilson

The forthcoming fiesta, scheduled to take place from May 1 to May 6, provides an opportunity for artistes, partners and audiences to think and express their ideas creatively.

Bearing in mind the theme of the festival, no matter how small their contributions to the festival will be, these will count as they will be communicating a powerful artistic vision.

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