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#hifamusthappen: HIFA 2017 Appeals for Financial Assistance

Harare – The existing economic frost is biting all, including arts. The latest casualty, the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIF...

Harare – The existing economic frost is biting all, including arts. The latest casualty, the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), has turned to crowd funding to raise $100 000 for the event slated for May.

After a 2016 hiatus induced by monetary squeeze, HIFA is pleading to arts disciples via the internet to raise funds to make the 2017 edition possible.

By Derick Matsengarwodzi
In the past, countless prospective artistes and funders have crumbled as returns dwindled – and HIFA, ranked within the top eight continental arts episodes – and Zimbabwe’s premier performing event, has not been spared from the crisis either.
HIFA 2017: The Next Level

Celebrated novelist, Charles Mungoshi is indebted to well-wishers, after a $9 000 pledged through crowd funding for an emergency operation. Most arts backup ventures have been frozen due to cash scarcity – the former Harare Book Café is now history, thereby exposing talents to the prevailing economic sneeze.

“Have you ever attended HIFA? If you have, you know that this incredible festival showcases the best of local, regional and international arts and culture bringing huge, diverse audiences together sharing the very best of Zimbabwean spirit. Its future is in jeopardy. HIFA didn’t happen in 2016, it must happen in 2017 – and can, with your help,” the organisers pleaded.

As of publication, thousands had been collected from various sources.

Conceived in 1999 by Emmanuel Bagorro, the festival has religiously attracted legendary entertainers such as Salif Keita and Oliver Mtukudzi. In 2008, the gathering endured a tough operating environment, with the collapse of the Zimbabwean currency, alongside political uncertainty.

HIFA is the convergence precinct for creative flairs under the sleepless wintry, skies of Harare, relying mainly on private sources, corporates, donors and embassy missions represented in Harare.

The festival claims to maintain consistent high programming standards, a beacon of all that is creative, progressive and positive in an otherwise rather gloomy and shoeless landscape. For six days, HIFA hopes to inspire and surprise audiences with innovative thinking, creative ideas and unexpected collaborations.

Cash raised will remunerate artists, who are dropping their performance fees to support the carnival. International acts provide depth and necessary interaction between artists, while many have profited from the yearly event as performers, personnel and the media.

“If we, citizens, do not support our artists, then we sacrifice our imagination on the altar of crude reality and we end up believing in nothing and having worthless dreams. We all need to hold on to our hopes, dreams and imaginations.

“HIFA is going to the next level to develop a meaningful and dynamic role in celebrating the arts in Zimbabwe,” appealed Yann Martel, 2001 Man Booker Prize winner.

HIFA 2017: The Next Level will feature opening acts from Mtukudzi and Mahube.

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