BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, ZTA is mooting partnering with Bulawayo’s mega arts fiesta-the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo for their 10th annual edition.
ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke who was the guest of honour at this year’s official opening of the arts festival told guests gathered in the City of Kings that they had confidence in Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo which this year celebrated nine years.
Kaseke said Bulawayo was “by no doubt the capital city of culture in Zimbabwe because it is the nerve centre of culture.
“The festival is not about Bulawayo but a window through which the world is made to view Zimbabwe and its culture.”
Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo director Raisedon Baya said of ZTA’s proposal: “I wouldn’t want to call it a partnership yet but the beauty is they have agreed to work with us although we are to sit and finalise on the whole process.”
Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo commenced showcases on Tuesday and ended on Sunday evening after a six-day fun filled, engaging and educative event.
The festival saw local and international audiences converging to celebrate the wealth of arts and culture in the former capital of King Lobengula.
People from City of Kings have finally accepted Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo as their own prime destination in terms of showcasing artistic talent and local culture.
Running under the theme “Cultural Diversity, The Common Heritage of Humanity,” the official opening event appropriately atoned to that as various local groups took turns to showcase their artistic and cultural prowess on stage.
Various performances from there on proved that Intwasa was indeed a festival of colour.
On the first day, a gathering of poets was the place to be where Bulawayo’s crème de la crème on spoken word battled it out leaving the audience spellbound.
Local and foreign plays gracing the festival included The Dolls House, The Lion, The Jewel, The song of Lawino, Song of a Woman, The Village Bull, Itsoseng from South Africa and Stronger Women from Botswana.
Several local music groups had a wonderful opportunity showcasing their brands at arguably the most popular stage, Chibuku Stage at the Large City Hall car park.
Tukuye Sounds, Jeys Marabini, Chase Skuza, Charles Ndebele, Martin Sibanda, Kwela Kings and an all-female acappella outfit Nobuntu among others gave a good account of themselves.
From outside the city, Harare-based Three Generation headlined the Spring Jazz Show while Selmor Mtukudzi also did justice to her first performance in the city where she featured Willis Watafi.
The festival turned out to be a learning process for many artists as various educative workshops were lined up. These ranged from dance, storytelling, play writing and directing among others.
However, school kids were not left out in the celebration as they benefited through a Plan High School drama competitions which are currently part of Zimsec O’ Level and A’ Level syllabus.
All the plays surprisingly drew full houses, a move that suggested how important including pupils is at such festivals.
Speaking to the Daily News festival director Raisedon Baya said he was impressed with the rate at which the people of Bulawayo have finally accepted that the weeklong event is theirs as much as people in Harare have accepted Hifa.
“Overall, we believe it has been a success. The excitement and feedback we have received so far shows that people have accepted that the event is theirs.
“The quality of performances particularly from local artists was beyond expectation, not forgetting the wonderful mixture of audiences from all walks of life,” Baya said.
The festival director said he was impressed by foreign acts particularly the talented South African-based Flatfoot Dance Company.
“I was happy at the way Flatfoot performed particularly the dance workshops which some people complained were very short but already we are now working on trying to bring them back for the next festival. For three years we tried to bring them to Intwasa without a success but finally they heeded our call.”
While he paid tribute to local acts who gave their best for the entire week he also applauded the performances by Harare-based artists, Three Generation and Selmor Mtukudzi.
Baya urged the audience in Bulawayo to promote the festival and the arts fraternity in general through paying for the shows.
Having realised how children were not given much space at the festival Baya said it was one of the areas they will be looking into for the next year edition.
“During the festival we discovered that we need a comprehensive programme for children. Children really need to be part of this festival as evidenced by the response we got for the folktale and children’s dances programmes. They were really excited and we need that at Intwasa,” he explained.