14 August 2017

Zimbabwe: Harare Carnival Spirit Is Here

Photo: Nehanda Radio
Carnival Street party.

It is almost that time of the year again when the city centre becomes a hive of activity as hundreds of thousands of people walk down the streets of Harare celebrating the carnival.

The Harare International Carnival begins on September 1 and it will be a 10-day affair of merrymaking and display of some of the world's best performances.

Samba dancers from Brazil have shown the nation how it is done at international carnivals. Many countries have come to take part and share their cultural dances with the local audience.

And the audience has enjoyed it over the past years. The carnival has been growing with each year and this year it promises to be bigger.

So far, almost 30 countries have shown interest in this year's edition and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), which runs the event, says it will have 25 participating countries this year.

ZTA is targeting an attendance of three million people at this year's carnival and they have changed the venue of carnival concert gathering from Africa Unity Square to Robert Mugabe Square that accommodates more people.

This year's precession will begin along Simon Muzenda Street (formerly Fourth Street) and go down Robert Mugabe Road to the Square that is adjacent to Rainbow Towers Hotel.

The street party will take place on September 9 and will lead to the carnival concert that will take place at the square and will feature a number of local and international musicians.

Local musicians billed to perform include Oliver Mtukudzi, Winky D, Soul Jah Love, the Charambas, Seh Calaz, Peter Moyo, Suluman Chimbetu and Jah Prayzah.

Numerous musicians from South Africa will also make their way to the carnival and present their best acts. Socialite and dancer Zodwa Wabantu, who recently stole the limelight with her appearance in Bulawayo, will be returning to Zimbabwe during the carnival.

Other countries that have confirmed participation at the event include Cuba, Brazil, India, Nigeria, Zambia, Trinidad and Tobago, Mozambique and Seychelles. It will be a milestone achievement for the country that has been battered by negative publicity from some countries that want to paint a sombre picture of Zimbabwe.

ZTA has promised a memorable event and rate this year's edition as 'mother of all carnivals".

ZTA head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda said they have done their groundwork and waiting for 10 days of merrymaking.

"Everything is now in place for the carnival. We have set the ball rolling and we are happy that this year many countries have expressed interest in taking part at the carnival. We are calling it 'mother of all carnivals' because we are targeting a crowd of about three million people at the event," said Chagonda.

"It will be an event to bring people together and we are preaching love and unity. Besides international guests, we have people from across the country that are travelling to Harare to witness the historic event.

"We are working with our departments in many parts of the country and the response has been encouraging. We can proudly announce that we will have more than 100 local acts at the carnival.

"It is set to be a memorable event indeed and we are happy because our main sponsor, Big Time Strategic Group, has set the motion for a memorable event. They are bringing one of the biggest stages in Africa and they have engaged South African artistes that are coming to perform at the carnival."

Chagonda said the carnival is set to generate business for individuals and corporates and they are likely to record brisk business at this year's edition.

"Last year's festival recorded great business and our research revealed that about $50 million was made from transactions that were made during the festival. This year we are targeting more and we are encouraging individuals and corporates to take advantage of the event and make business.

"We want to promote domestic tourism through the carnival. People that are coming from other parts of the country should have memorable time in Harare. We are hoping to take the carnival to other parts of the country and make people feel the vibe of the festivities."

Last year Koffi Olomide stole the show at the rhumba night and this year carnival organisers intend to bring Werrason for the night that will be presented in partnership with the DRC embassy.

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