News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo / Sunday, 02 May 2010 21:27

 

HIFA_MC_5The calm that has usually characterized Zimbabwe's capital Harare took a break this past week. Defying all odds, African drumbeats and sounds of other nature pierced the air as thousands converged to make the fourth edition of one of the continent's most prominent cultural manifestation, the Harare International Festival of Arts (HIFA) a reality.

Coming from across the globe, visitors to this annual event spent buoyant moments savouring Africa's irresistible visual and oral arts displayed at the festival ground situated at the city centre. The said ground was a miniature of the continent with virtually all that one can imagine about Africa's incomparable cultural heritage.

Through the stands, excellent pieces of stone, wood and iron sculpture and exciting paintings told the story of African solidarity and hospitality. The indigenous costumes lined-up for exhibition refreshed visitors' mind of the continents' pleasant and sad past.  As they traded on, HIFA 2010 visitors saw, touched and appreciated objects such African traditional jewelry, musical instruments, utensils, etc. 

Perhaps, the bloom came from the oral arts display that turned out to be a significant attraction. Hosted by solidly-erected thatch huts, the performance poetry cafés was source of thunderous applause each day, especially with the passage of celebrated Jamaican dub poet, Yasus Afari. Zimbabwe's emerging female poet, Batsirai Chigama also thrilled.

On what was observed as the biggest podium, some of the world's favourites, including Emeline Michel Xalam,  Royst, Moto The Magnets, thrilled huge crowds that always  honoured  the daily musical rendezvous throughout HIFA. Interestingly, female singers stole the HIFA 2010 show, holding spectators spellbound with soul-searching melodies. Who would recall HIFA 4 without mentioning Haiti's Emeline Michel whose performance charmed everyone? Or WoCalling, a fusion of Norwegian and Zimbabwean voices, who sang and danced with such mastery, making music lovers longing for more of such performances?

Side-by-side artistic displays, intellectual  conferences and workshops held. HIFA_Event_picIt was either Zimbabwe's most talented performance poet, Chiriku Chiriku enlightening arts journalists from across the continent on his country's social development vis-à-vis arts or Takura Zhangazha, Political activist, looking at the relationship between arts and the political landscape of Zimbabwe. It was either been Godwin Muzari, Arts and Entertainment Editor of Zimbabwe's leading private daily, The Standard exposing on Arts, Politics and the Media in his country or a battery of writers and publishers discussing the state of the book industry in Zimbabwe.

On their part, arts journalists coming from the four corners of the continent laid ground work for the creation of the pioneer Pan-African network of arts journalists. Benefitting from the financial and logistical support of Arterial Network (continental platform for actors in the culture domain), the reporters will owe much to HIFA 2010 for being the kick-off point.

As Harare saw off its visitors, book makers have already been penning on the success of the HIFA 2010 which organizers confirm it's was quite challenging to make it happen. "Despite ambiguous moments Zimbabwe has gone through lately, our sponsors have stood by us and today HIFA 2010 is a reality," said Maria Wilson, Executive Director of HIFA.

 

 


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 May 2010 18:04

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