By The Herald
“Memories don’t leave like people do, they always stay with you, whether they’re been good or bad,” Tom Jones once sang.
The Harare International Festival of the Arts came and left indelible memories in arts aficionados.
Good or bad memories, is a debate for another day, but what’s certain is the memories of this past edition of Zimbabwe’s premier arts fiesta will stay with us. Well, at least until the next edition of the festival.
Arts lovers who attended numerous shows and exhibitions including, had a flurry of take homes. They were spoilt for choice.
The almost oversubscribed Friday Zol Main Stage show, where Zimdancehall maestro Winky D brought the house down, stands out as one of the major highlights of the just ended festival.
The Gafa, a darling across ages and races, put up a stellar performance, the audience asked for more after his 70 minute slot. He serenaded revellers who sang along to every song on his set.
Soulful girl from next door Lira also commanded the presence with a voice that cast a love spell in the audience. Lovers, on the brink of separation, found themselves once more and mended, with Lira’s symphonies the glue.
Mbira queen Hope Masike’s show in the Global Stage sold out. In fact it over-subscribed and the HIFA organisers might need to consider giving her a bigger venue next year.
Spicing up her Mbira music with different instruments she premièred her latest songs including her hard core classic hits.
Several embassies presented talents from their respective nations, contemporary soul man Klue from Australia showed off his expertise by his performing of different instruments blending an Afro, garage and soul beat.
The Zimboita group with Music According to Percussion a product of Italian and Zimbabwean rhythm took the music lovers to a journey of African drum beats and dances fused with Italian traditional music.
Once again it was a night of electronic music at the return of Sonic Wonderland featuring local mix masters and Dutch DJs who played on Saturday night.
Korean Ambassador Cho Jaichel was proud to have brought in the girl group Drum Cats a drum troupe of vixens with talents in rock, techno and Latino blend with the famous TS B-Boy Crew who showed off some stunning unforgettable synchronized dance routines.
This was a show that a person would love to watch over and over again. The crew had a dance workshop afterwards with our own local dance groups sharing skills and dance techniques.
At the Kidz Zone children were given a platform to show their talents, caught in the act was Avonlea Primary School Marimba Band led by Mrs Dondo, they played a combination of modern and yesteryear music attracting even an adult audience.
The accommodating organisers as always had a free offering for those who could not afford to pay their way into the main arenas, therefore a PSMAS and PEPFAR stage was set up in the CBD along First Street where the public took a glimpse of the different acts on offer.
One of the thrilling showcases was that of B-Boy Sylvester Sly Shonhiwa with the Jibilika Cypher Crew as they showed off their extraordinary acrobatic dance moves not to be copied without training.
A lazy Sunday was converted to a party day starting with the award winning Note2Eton Choral Group on the Coke Green Stage as they automatically brought the people to the dance floor with their tribute to Chiwoniso Maraire songs. The group which will be representing the nation at the World Choir Games in July in Pretoria was fired up showing off their vocal talents.
Mapostori Vabati VaJehova, Masa Caroleen were also part of the Sunday entertainers with the future legend Mbeu and the Mhodzi Tribe delivering what he gathered from his mentor Oliver Mtukudzi.
At the Art Gallery Grounds, people feasted their eyes to artistic talents from the likes of Faith Nunurai’s exhibition of beautiful hand-made fashion accessories, recycled furniture made from tyres by Chipo, coloured bottle chandeliers and used drum chairs by Laurie McPherson and her husband just to mention a few.
While viewing the artefacts a sweet voice could be heard from the Hivos Stand where Batsirai Chigama was reciting her poems. Another noticeable attraction were the three giant puppets that majestically moved around the area speaking of converting waste to artistic craft.
World fashion designer Joyce Chimanye and other upcoming designers had on display their latest apparel and her new fabric called Mabwe natural woven in the land. They also hosted discussions on fashion.
The Zimbabwe Association of Female Photographers members Lucy Broderick, Tsitsi Betha and Musa Bwanali donned the Standard Hall with their images which told the stories in the country.
Carl Joshua Ncube , Kavin Jay and lots more comedians brought laughter with their comedy prowess. The largest line up of female stand comedians took turns at the Girls Killing It Comedy Show.
The Studio at the Standard Complex at Girls High School was the home of theatre, there were several plays from production companies and opera music.
Succulent food from different cultures was on sale giving people a chance to sample many kinds of recipes.
All good things come to an end the week long show was officially closed by Freshly Ground and a fireworks display.