Home » Arts & Culture » 2015 Hifa in Retrospect

Another edition of HIFA has come and gone and as usual there are mixed feelings as some people express totall appreciation of the the efforts made while others feel that it could have been better. There was the usual mixture of everything for everyone with those of various nationalities based in Zimbabwe getting a chance to get some of the cultural experience from their homes.

Countries like India and China brought acts from home whwich proved popular with everyone, not just those of those specific ethnic heritages.

If there is any genre which HIFA prides itself in aside from music it has to be theatre.

Each year, HIFA brings world class performances and this year was no different.

No wonder then theatre lovers hailed the HIFA team for ensuring that theatre and circus programme was irresistible.

A glance at the programme shows that there were several collaborations between Zimbabwean and foreign artists.

There were productions such as “Zim Voices” 1 and 2, the Assitej mini fest, that focused on children, the “Taking”, “Sunrise” and “The Greyman Experiment.

The “Zim Voices” production featured an all-star cast of Zimbabwean actors and actresses.

Elton Mujanana who is a theatre consultant for HIFA said the deliberate effort to have a good mix of foreign and local productions is the secret to a succesful run.

“It is almost impossible to have an equal number of foreign and local plays but what we tried to do was to maintain a world class presentation.

Theatre is one of the gest areas at HIFA and this year was no exception,” Mujanana said.

On the visual arts side Doreen Sibanda who co-curated an exhibition titled “Design Zimbabwe Kitchen” together with Saki Mafundikwa hailed this year’s exhibition. Sibanda who is the director of the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe they were happy with the exhibition itself .

On the performing artistes, a good number of Zim dancehall fans said they felt shortchanged by the organisers because that genre was largely ignored.

Mike Choruma, a mbira fan said it was about time organizers bring the traditional bira ceremony and inject growth through collaborations. “The bira ceremony used to bring a lot of established and little known mbira players on one stage and that sort of developed the genre. But for the past three or so years there hasn’t been the ceremony and obviously mbira is on the wane when it should be rising,” he noted.

The festival cannot be perfect for everyone but in general it would appear that most patrons were satisfied and will be eagerly awaiting the next edition.

The fans said they wanted HIFA to give a platform to Zim dancehall artists who lack professionalism in their music.

“HIFA 2015 was a bit silent on Zim dancehall and yet it is one of the growing genres.

Through HIFA the youthful artistes could have learn a thing or two about how international handle themselves or conduct their business.

“There are several artistes who could have been on the line-up the likes of Soul Jah Love, Tocky Vibes, Seh Calaz, Ras Caleb as well as Terminator,” Joseph Mandebvu said.

Another Zim dancehall fan differed saying there was nothing wrong for HIFA organisers to skip zim dancehall.

“You see in Zim dancehall it has come to a point where you do not know who is at the top. Yes there are names but you cannot pin down who is hot and who is not because they are doing the same thing. If one releases a single the other one record a reply or they also release their own singles,” Malvern Tavonga said.

Earlier Tafadzwa Simba, the HIFA associate executive director said each year HIFA team brings a variety to the programme.

He said in cases such as mbira, there was enough traditional music although the bira ceremony was not held.

Meanwhile Malian Salif Keita put up a scintillating performance at the closing ceremony held on Sunday’s Old Mutual Day calling on Africa to unite.

The Mensah of Mali performed before a sell-out crowd amid a flurry of fireworks that lit up the Harare skies.

Highlight of the show was a special appearance by our very own delectable soulful mbira player,Hope Masike who graced the ZOL Main Stage alongside Keita.

It was a moving show from start to finish and Hope as she is known in music circles delighted the multi-racial and multi-cultural audiences with her voice.

She performed two songs, before going a gear up with a duet on Keita’s hugely popular hit, “Africa”.

It was a timely song against the background of the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

On the song Keita called for unity amongst Africans.

It was little wonder why Keita chose to put on a garment that had the map of Africa.

The crowd sang along and no doubt many were reminded of the days of AFroPop, a music programme that used to air on ZBCTV.

Keita who some say inspires the Zimbabwean group Mokoomba, which apparently opened this year’s HIFA, is not new to HIFA audiences.

He has been to Harare and the last time he was around her played mostly new songs.

However, this time he deliberately played all the crowd’s favourite hits.

One his beautiful backing vocalists also showed a thing or two on the microphone and thrilled the audience with a slow jam.

The gig reached its peak when Keita returned on stage to finish off the set with an amazing delivery. This time he also wore dark glasses probably to avoid flash photography from zealous fans who could not have enough of him.

Maria Wilson, the executive director of HIFA could not hide her joy for the support they got from the corporate world. This year’s theme called for artists to “Articulate” themselves through various artistic ways.

Source : The Herald