The Herald (Harare)

26 April 2012

Zimbabwe: Fans Upbeat As HIFA Approaches

WITH less than a week before the 13th edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts roars into life, excitement has once again gripped the nation with fans expecting scintillating performances at the event. The event is a medley of music, theatre and dance, among other art genres by both local and foreign artistes.

Fans from all walks of life this week said they were looking forward to the annual event, not only because of its unique entertaining value but for the business opportunities it brings.

Smith Mutakura, who guards cars along George Silundika Avenue in Harare, said Hifa provides him with a rare opportunity to make money.

"For some of us who survive on the streets, Hifa -- although I don't know what really happens there -- is an opportunity for us to make a lot of money because it brings many motorists who need our services. I only wish it could take longer because business is good during that time," he said.

Wellington Nyakabau, a photographer in Africa Unity Square, said he enjoys good business during Hifa.

"This is the only time, besides the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, that we get many clients at Hifa. Our business is subdued and I'm looking forward to the event," said Nyakabau.

However, some people dismissed Hifa as an elitist event that was designed for the affluent in society.

Emilia Hokonya of Budiriro said Hifa entrance fees were exorbitant as compared to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show.

"Hifa is meant for those who live in the northern suburbs of Harare and not those from the ghetto. The entrance fees and the performers they bring do not adequately satisfy the needs of people from diverse backgrounds. They should take a leaf from the agricultural show where people can afford to bring their entire families even for 10 consecutive days," she said.

This year's edition of Hifa will run from May 1- 6 May under the theme "A Show of Spirit".

It promises to be a star-studded affair with some of the continent's best artistes gracing the event.

Senegalese music legend Ismael Lo, famed for his tracks "Tajabone" and "Dibi Dibi Rek", will share the stage with superstar Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi on the closing night on the Telecel Main Stage, bringing to an end to an event that is expected to surpass previous editions.

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