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Hifa 2009: All About Opportunities

THE Hifa whirlwind which had beset Harare last week has come and gone but it has highlighted how  Zimbabweans’ creative capabilities in various spheres continue to be underutilised.

It was apparent that the 10th edition of Hifa drew much from a variety of cultures and viewpoints –– harnessed them and showcased a unique end product that the rest of the world found palatable. It offered a forum in which frank exploration on the issues of the day — whether social or political –– could take place without people looking over their shoulders as has become the order of the day in the greater society.

Tafadzwa Simba, Hifa head of communications said that the objective of the 2009 edition were audience development, skills exchange, community development through the arts and taking the festival to all sections of society.

In a way it attempted to show the nation what we can become if we set out to use our diversity as a unifying and emancipatory tool rather than a divisive one. As the Hifa 2009 mission statement explains, “enlightenment is the striving for and achievement of greater knowledge and understanding.”

Alexio Kawara, one of the Zimbabwean artistes who performed at Hifa expressed his delight at that opportunity because he was able to showcase his music to a diverse audience.

The workshop programme also gave local and visiting artists the opportunity to engage in skills exchange.

Several collaborative projects facilitated skills exchange such as the closing show which was a collaboration between Abram Wilson and his band from the UK and the Harare-based New Life Covenant Church Choir.

Apparently when it came to dealing with journalists the conduct of the Hifa organisers was nowhere near enlightened, since on the opening night the former were still milling around the periphery of the main arena whilst the opening show was in full swing. This was because in spite of being accredited, they still had to wait for the paying audience to fill the arena sufficiently enough to allow the “accredited” journalists in — at least according to the security personnel.

Ultimately the festival offered, according to Kawara “an opportunity for the rest of the world to see a clear picture of the real Zimbabwe in contrast to the image constructed in the past”.


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