The Sunday Mail
ALL is set for the sixth edition of the annual schools arts extravaganza, Let Them Festival, slated for Harare Polytechnic on July 6 and 7.
A total of 35 schools are set to participate and for the first time, the festival will feature schools from the Southern African region.
Schools from the region are Botswana’s Pekenene CJSS, sending their traditional dance group and Masunga Senior Secondary, bringing their choir.
South Africa will be represented by Langelihle Motsi who designed a mascot for the festival. It has been developed into a giant puppet.
“We are excited to be having schools from the Southern African region participating,” said festival director, Chido Musasiwa.
“We believe that their participation will create a platform for exchange which will see Zimbabwean schools also going to perform in those countries. It is also a chance for the students to learn from each other.”
Another new element at the festival this year is the mbira competition.
“New to the festival will be the mbira competition for female students only and the winner will receive a personal guitar and 10 mbira instruments for her school. This was a donation from Ms H Trust,” said Musasiwa.
While all seems to be rosy, funding the festival has been a headache for Musasiwa and her team. They require a total of $48000 to run the show flawlessly but they rarely manage to raise it.
“The running costs are on average $48000 and increases as the festival grows. The funds are not purely for the festival but the planning and work that goes into the preparation of the festival.
“The festival has been sustained by God’s grace. We have seasoned artistes donating their services. Volunteers come to work with us.
Sponsorship has remained constant from companies that bought into our vision from the inception of the project and those that are now jumping on board,” she revealed.
Besides performances from participating schools, attendees will be entertained by seasoned acts that include Ammara Brown, Jah Signal, Junior Bantam, Tamy and Ignatius Mabasa, among many others.
But are there any systems to follow up on how the students are honing their skills after the festival ends?
“We used to go to the Chimanimani Arts Festival with winners of the various categories and also take some schools to participate at Hifa.
We were meant to transport winners to Intwasa Festival but finances have been very prohibitive.
“We hope to improve on this so that the schools that excel benefit and also learn from other acts they see in different parts of Zimbabwe.”
This year’s festival has been themed “Elevate”.
“The theme not only challenges the students to up their artistry, it also challenges us as an organisation to elevate our offering to the schools and audience in packaging everything,” highlighted Musasiwa.