Home » Travel » Its Carnival Time – Brazil Takes Over

If the Rio de Janeiro carnival in Brazil is anything to go by then Harare will definitely be set alight next month as the Brazilians invade town for the Harare International Carnival.

Samba dance, exotic salsa and street partying among others will be part of the line up as the Brazilians will be in the capital for a week-long party.

Formerly dubbed the Zimbabwe International Carnival, the festival roars into life on May 16 and preparations are underway.

A brainchild of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the carnival which is in its second year running is a unique brand that will involve people from diverse walks of life.

Speaking during the launch last Thursday, ZTA boss Mr Karikoga Kaseke expressed confidence everything will go according to plan.

“The carnival brand, which involves people from across the political, social and cultural divide, creates an avenue to promote unity among Zimbabweans,” he said.

This year’s edition will run under the theme “Celebrating our diversity” and will draw people from all walks of life.

Participants from over 20 countries from Africa and beyond have confirmed their attendance including the famous Brazilians who last year could not make it while Trinidad and Tobago has already sent a reconnaissance team into the country .

“The Brazilians who could not come last year have given us their word that they are coming. Trinidad and Tobago have also insisted on coming to this year’s event, it’s a move in the positive direction,” said Mr Kaseke

“To date 23 countries which include Brazil, Malawi, DRC, Egypt, Botswana, Nigeria and the UK to mention but a few confirmed their participation,” Tourism and Hospitality Industrty Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi confirmed.

“There will also be participation from several locals comprising traditional contemporary and corporate troupes,” he added.

The festival begins on May 16 and the curtain will come down on Africa Day.

Though still in its infancy, the carnival has managed to stamp its presence on the country’s social calendar as a record 600 000 to a million people graced the occasion last year and the figures are expected to double .

“We had between 600 000 and a million people last year and we expect this year will be better,” said Mr Kaseke.

On the economic front, the carnival is expected to grow significantly over time to become a major contributor to the country’s tourism sector.

“Though still in its infancy, we remain optimistic that the carnival will significantly contribute to the economy as we work towards achieving a US$5 billion tourism economy by 2018,” said Eng Mzembi.

While last year’s event was hampered by lack of funding, it will be a different song this year as a lot of sponsors have come on board.

While many would think the carnival is a borrowed concept from the Caribbean it is actually untrue, carnival represents freedom of expression, a trustee of the carnival organising commitee, Mr Walter Mandizha said.

The event comes into life with the crowning of the Carnival Queen at a local hotel on the opening day, which will be co-hosted by the ZTA and Zim Gossip – a local modelling agency.

Jazz, fashion, a gospel show competition, a traditional fusion in the form of a bira as well as reliving of the old melodies will also be part of the action-packed line up.

For those who would want a feel of the Caribbean experience, a samba night will be held as well as an exotic night for those who love to party .

For the young and young at heart, a Zim dancehall concert will also be hosted as the young chanters entice the crowd.

The highlight of the event will be the carnival street party which is expected to be better than last year as the organisers have taken on board several stakeholders.

To wrap up the event, the ZTA will host the carnival music concert which will see class acts from several music groups from within the country and beyond .

The concept of a carnival originated in Italy but was perfected in the Caribbean.

According to the Guinness Book of records the world’s largest carnival is the Rio de Janeiro annual carnival that attracts approximately two million people and generates up to US$24 million in takings.

Source : The Herald