Our Africa-born, Kenya-based correspondent Dion Van Aardt returns with some cool info about a week-long arts festival in Zimbabwe:
When you say ‘Zimbabwe’ negative images spring to mind, not to mention 91 year old President Robert Mugabe who has ruled the nation for 35 years, but there is a lot more to this great country than the world would have you believe.
If you want to be part of something really cool, worthwhile and that none of your friends have already done, then you have got to go to HIFA. It’s a week-long festival of diverse artistic fun beginning April 28!
You can expect to see a number of international performances that range from Opera, Hip Hop, Portuguese Fado and Chinese acrobats to name but a few. Each year the festival takes gentle risks with the countries censorship laws to push the boundaries both politically and socially. One show that sticks in my mind was seeing a musical called ‘Treasure’. The lead star appeared to be impersonating the country’s President and sang, ‘I am a material girl’ by Madonna. At the end of the show He vacated the stage symbolically for the last time to the sound of 7000 spectators singing in earnest ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor. It was a moving moment that epitomized a heroic country’s hopes to live for a better future.
Is it Safe? – Like any foreign city common sense is a must. Zimbabwe is considered a safe country by African standards.
Where to stay? – With me of course! www.kizingocottages.com
When is it? – HIFA is held each year in late April and details can be found on their website www.hifa.co.zw