Zimbabwe: Shoko Festival Defies Govt Order

Shoko Festival

Organisers of the annual music and spoken word fiesta, Shoko Festival, insist the three-day event will proceed as planned despite the cholera outbreak that has seen many high-profile events and gatherings being cancelled.

Although the public gatherings ban still subsists, Shoko Festival director Samm "Cde Fatso" Monro told The Standard Style that they were determined to proceed with the festival, having put in place arrangements to avert the spread of the disease at the fête set for Friday to Sunday.

"We are putting in place various ways to mitigate [the cholera spread] in addition to working with different organisations in ensuring that the environment will be safe as we are now also using it as an event to raise awareness on cholera," said Cde Fatso on Friday.

"We are also quite hopeful that it will be contained by next week based on the pronouncements made by government that the daily rate of recorded cases is dropping."

This is not the first time that Shoko Festival has come under threat of a government ban although last year it was an instruction to tone down political banter during their comedy night or risk shutdown.

The festival -- running under the theme Peace in the Hood -- is expected to take place at multiple venues, including Reps Theatre, Harare City Library grounds and Unit L Community Hall grounds in Chitungwiza.

This year's edition has gone under a couple of changes with the Peace in the Hood programme on Sunday becoming the main event, which South African Gqom diva Moonchild Sanelly will headline along with local rapper Asaph.

"We have gotten a great response so far since announcing the change as we wanted to honour those who frequent our Peace in the Hood event each year by taking international acts to the hood," said Cde Fatso.

In addition, the programme will also feature a new affair dubbed Mash-Up Night with mind-blowing collaborations between apostolic outfit Vabati VaJehovha with DJs Zyon Black and DJ Tricks, rapper T Shoc and ZCC Mbungo Stars, while Tamy Moyo will combine with Norwegian hip-hop act Awesomnia on Saturday.

A second edition of the Zim Hip-hop Summit will also take centre stage as well as the Hub Unconference that will also take place as part of the traditional free educational talks for artistes and the public.

The festival, a production of Magamba Network, is the country's most popular and longest-running urban culture fiesta that has over the years provided a platform for artistes across genres, among them comedians, musicians and spoken word artistes, to perform at the same stage.

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