The Sunday Mail
The Harare International Festival of the Arts comes to an end today with South African group Freshlyground headlining the closing party.
Music fans should be thankful for the new political dispensation in the country, considering that this group has previously been denied entry for various reasons. So popular is the group that on the day they were supposed to perform at the 2014 edition of Hifa, the tickets were sold out.
It seems like the band remains popular with locals, with Hifa associate executive director Tafadzwa Simba saying: “It has been the most popular ZOL Main Stage show in the lead up to the festival and by the time people read this, the band will probably be at sound check.
“Obviously, there will be a swell of demand on the final day for the final show but already, demand has been incredible.”
He continued: “They were, and still are, an eagerly anticipated act at Hifa. It will be an emotional show as the fans and the band have been waiting for four years for this reunion. It will be a fitting closing show for the new era in which the country finds itself.”
Other artistes who will perform today include Transit Crew, Tamy Moyo, Zimpraise Gospel Choir and Mbeu to name a few.
Hifa 2018 started on Tuesday with an opening show that had over 100 artistes taking to the stage.
While the show had its moments, it failed to really explode as expected for such an occasion. The act which fused acrobatics, music, poetry and puppetry among other art forms was just above average and fell short of the ignition effect it was meant to create. Some of the artistes who took part included Zimspiration Choir, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Derek Mpofu, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Masa Caroleen, Hope Masike and Italian Ambassador Enrico de Agostini.
On day two, the CABS Opera Gala as always was packed and the artistes who took to the stage gave the audience value for their money with brilliant performances, but that was just about it as there was not much activity going on throughout the venue.
Another interesting act was Portuguese group Senza, which also had a good day in the office giving a beautiful performance at the Global Stage.
Besides the main event for the day, the programme did not look that attractive which resulted in very little traffic within the venue.
Things started picking up on Thursday, which came as no surprise considering that Lira was the main attraction on the day.
Before the songstress lit up the main stage, patrons were put in the mood by Sylent Nqo who had the Coca Cola Green dancing to renditions and some of his compositions.
Lira’s popularity cannot be questioned if the numbers that came through for her show are anything to go by.
The jazz sensation did not disappoint her fans as she gave them a brilliant performance with songs that included “Let there be Light”, “Feel Good” and “Wa Mapela” to name just a few, having a mesmeric effect on the audience.
Although there was not much singing along, the loud applause that accompanied every song was testament that she had a solid grip on her audience.
When her time was up, the night was not over as there were still more exciting acts set to perform but a downpour sent a significant number of patrons on an early night.
However, those who stayed behind were treated to some brilliant performances from various acts including Evicted and Rob Macson among others. By the time of going to print, some of the acts that were set to grace the Hifa stage included Winky D, Beatenberg, Tresor, Bali Bandits and Lucky Charms to name just a few. Simba said while the rains had a negative effect on the festival, he was grateful that the artistes who performed had done a brilliant job. “The unseasonal rains have had an effect on attendance but it has been incredible to see even in instances when there has been rain at outdoor venues crowds still thronging the venues,” said Simba.
“Hifa would like to give great thanks and congratulations to all the artistes who have performed so far as their performances have been sterling.” He highlighted that the purpose of the festival was to bring in one place acts that may not have ordinarily have been seen by the public.
“This year’s lineup has accomplished this and it has featured strong, world-class performers. Gems are also revealed, such as the incredible Madalitso from Malawi who has shown exactly why they are on demand on the international tour circuit to the extent of being supported by the Institut Francais.”