Artists, fans support Solo Fest


HARARE – Local artists came out in droves to support this year’s seventh edition of Pakare Paye Spar Solo Festival on Saturday.

With a stellar lineup of prominent artists, hundreds of fans also made sure they thronged the small town of Norton for the solo bash.

The festival, taking place at the spacious open arena capable of holding more than 10 000 people, was a marvel as its setting in the gardens brought out the best as audiences sat and watched proceedings.

The gigantic performance stage was well marshalled by corporate brand images that supported this year’s edition — Spar, the Daily News and Culture Fund Trust of Zimbabwe.

What a night it was as more than 30 local artists performed during the six-hour tight programme that put an icing to two artistic days that included a schools’ workshop programme.

The schools’ workshop saw children from various institutions taking part in a day of serious arts deliberations and workmanship that accumulated to some fascinating performances.

The festival events proceedings began with a colourful afternoon, police procession from the Norton suburb of Katanga to Pakare Paye Arts Centre.

The procession took Norton’s residents hostage as they followed it up to the festival centre.

In the afternoon, Tuku and visiting Kenyan musician Suzzana Owiyo visited Danhiko where they were to be guests at the school.

The main solo festival turned the tempo in the evening and saw the venue’s open arena vibrate to various sounds and star stage performances by dancers.

As usual, the festival was graced by a number of prominent artists who included patron Dominic Benhura (who was in attendance throughout the night), actor and theatre producer Daves Guzha (who is always notable at the annual gala), musician and arts columnist Fred Zindi; sculptor Stanford Derere and several others who while not participating, had come to offer their support.

During a lunch meeting of sponsors the festival chairperson Nick Manyame said he was proud to be associated with Pakare Paye Spar festival.

“Right in this place where we sit today, is where the festival’s concept was developed. We have a vision and as Tuku told kids yesterday; our mission is to develop emerging talent, hence the schools’ workshop held yesterday,” said Manyame.

Master of ceremony Chris Timbe said it was unfortunate that Nigerian Kunle Ayo could not make it due to problems with his passport.

“I understand there is an embassy holding his passport and it could not be released on time,” said Timbe.

Benhura said this year’s festival had everything for everyone.

“The presence of our sister from Kenya, Suzanna Owiyo has provided an added dimension to the festival.”

The renowned sculptor said this year’s performances were so captivating that he watched almost all of them.

“The performances were of a high note and I was impressed by Jah Prayzah, Steve Makoni, Kudzai Sevenzo and the two Mtukudzi undergraduates — Munya and Donald,” said the sculptor.

Benhura said as always, the festival is guided by the principle to develop individual talent and grow confidence among artists performing solo and reassuring them that they can still entertain fans and earn a living away from bands and groups.

“I am yet to see another festival that will live up to this billing. When Mukoma Tuku asked me to be patron of the festival, I was at first hesitant. I told him that I was not a good speaker, hence my incapability to hold such a role.

But Tuku was easy with me and challenged me to take it up.

He said: ‘I am not asking you for your opinion, I am just appointing you. You are appointed’,” said Benhura.

Performing artists who took part in this year’s festival include Kudzi Sevenzo, Batsirai Chigama, Edith We Utonga, Jah Prayzah, Albert Nyathi, Donald Kanyuchi, Munya Mataruse, Clare Nyakudyara, Diana Samukange, Steve Makoni, Bob Nyabinde and victor Kunonga among others. – Entertainment Writers

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