The Sunday News
SO news filtering in is that Kalawa Homecoming Annual end of year show is not happening this year. We are told a smaller club version has been slotted for the usual day but at a local club. For ordinary party lovers this is bad news. It means that big great party to shame all parties will not be happening this year. It also means they must quickly find or plan alternatives.
For local artistes who were hoping to rub shoulders with South African artistes while at the same time performing for the biggest crowd of their lives the cancellation means another long wait. Or maybe now it’s never going to happen.
For event organisers the cancellation is a serious sign that the economic challenges the country is facing are affecting every sector. The arts too are not spared. What event would you hold and expect to make money when there are serious cash shortages, when the ordinary person has no basic foods in his/ her home? The cancellation could turn out to be the best decision the organisers made. For reference let’s look at the Thomas Mapfumo show. Everything was there except the crowds. For event organisers that’s the worst nightmare. Many promotion companies have gone under as a result of one or two flops.
In the past some of us have been very critical about Kalawa and our criticism has mainly been to do with how they rope in locals and the overall benefits of the event to Bulawayo. While critical we are also aware of the positive energy and vibe the event has always brought to the city.
For the last years Kalawa has been the biggest end of year event in Bulawayo, bringing together thousands and thousands of people. Yes. The economy is bad. Yes. It will be difficult to organise. Yes. It could made a sure loss for Oskido and company. But Kalawa should never go away forever. It should happen and in whatever format. It is an important platform that many have used to gauge the power and effect of art in bringing people together for celebratory purposes. Kalawa Homecoming is one event that has shown many the potential of art as a business venture.
But Kalawa or no Kalawa Christmas will be there and people will be looking for alternatives. We know starting from next week there will be many activities meant to celebrate the festive season.
The City of Bulawayo is putting up a few performances at Nketa Park. This has been a tradition for years. Some of us fondly remember Nketa Park performances we attended decades or so ago. The festivity shows are meant to kick-start merrymaking in our different communities.
A friend and colleague, Lewis Ndlovu, is hosting his annual Santa Comes to Makokoba. Santa never visited Makokoba until last year when Lewis Ndlovu introduced the concert to Makokoba and it has been a welcome breath of fresh air. On this day children from Makokoba get to drink and eat and sing Christmas carols like any other kid in the world.
There is also Ibumba International Arts Festival come back. Under the theme #BOOM the people’s festival comes back with a lot of promises. Again for three days Makokoba will be alive with different performances from various groups. As we write the organisers are running around putting final touches to the programme. Maybe by the time you read this the Ibumba programme will be out and people will be talking about particular shows then.
After Ibumba there is Arts Extra, a series of 10 shows dubbed alternative festive season programming. Arts Extra starts on 27 December and ends on 1 January with most shows taking place at Bulawayo Theatre and Devine Car Wash.