Hifa breathes life into a ‘dying’ city

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The Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) has brought life back into a city whose night life is experiencing a slow death.

By Zivisai Chagaka

As all-day entertainment fiesta enters its third day today, it has a rich line-up of activities and performances which are sure to leave a mark in the hearts of many.

As all-day economic downturn persists in the country, the entertainment sector — particularly local artists — has consequently been affected and very few musicians are holding any shows at all.

However, it’s party time again as Hifa illuminates the city.

The self-proclaimed “spirit medium” of Zimdancehall, Winky D, will be one of the star attractions tonight on the ZOL Main stage. He is currently riding high with his recent release Gombwe.

But the day is filled with other not-to-miss performances — from dance and theatre to yoga, music and comedy — for all age groups and tastes.

Earlier in the day, there are dance classes and theatre performances and even yoga classes for kids. As the day warms up, the Congo Cowboys — The Congo meets the Deep South in a raw, gritty exploration of Americana and ol’ timey hits — will perform on the Global Stage. Rome and Juliet will be at the Handlebards Glade.

Opera Stars Song Recital will be at Theatre at The Standard Complex. This is a performance by opera singers with a deeply moving recital of musical theatre pieces, art songs and spirituals.

Flying Bantu and Beatenberg will also be on the ZOL Main Stage today while Zimbabwean stand-up comedian Carl Joshua Ncube will cap it on the Global Stage.

Hope Masike and her Mbira Magic band, who are now a regular on the Hifa list since her collabo with Malian superstar Salif Keita on the same stage in 2015, will also perform on the Global Stage tomorrow.

Sonic Wonderland 3: Dance for Democracy features two fun and happily crazy guys, the Bali Bandits, for a late night show on the ZOL Main Stage. Evicted — an “Afro-Rock Fusion”, fusing traditional Zimbabwean music with rock and funk, this much-loved local band offers a unique blend of ethnic and Western styles, backed by amazing passion and energy — will also be late on the Global Stage.

On Sunday, the final day of this arts cauldron, famed South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground will wind it up on the ZOL Main stage, while Zimbabwe’s finest and internationally acclaimed reggae outfit Transit Crew and Girls Killing It will take care of things on the Coca-Cola Green and Global Stage respectively.

Carl Joshua Ncube attempts to present an all-female line-up of stand-up comedy in an open mic show in the Girls Killing It show. Carl will be working behind the scenes to give a new crop of comedians coaching on being stand-up comedians and showcasing it on one night. Come and witness the future of comedy.

Dubbed the greatest arts and musical fest in Africa south of the Sahara, Hifa attracts artistes from the global scene in a captivating week-long fiesta. This year it is running under the theme “We Count”.

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