The Sunday News
ON Friday, the country’s largest arts festival, the Harare International Festival of the Arts, announced that it would not be holding this year’s edition of the arts extravaganza, a move that has shaken some of the country’s smaller arts fests, including the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo.
Hifa announced on Friday that due to the prevailing economic situation in the country, it would not be able host this year’s edition of the festival, despite previous assurances that 2019 would be business as usual.
“Hifa confirms the 2019 edition will sadly not take place. Zimbabwe is dealing with many important issues, both social and economic. In this context, Hifa cannot responsibly commit to presenting a feasible and viable event of the same quality and impact that Hifa is known for this year,” the organisers of Hifa said in a statement.
In an interview after the announcement of Hifa’s cancellation, Intwasa director Raisedon Baya said because of the different outlooks between the two festivals, they had not yet cancelled 2019’s edition despite festivals facing difficulties of their own.
“What I know so far is that Intwasa has not been cancelled yet. That’s something that the organisers of Intwasa have not considered yet. One thing that everyone should take note of is that Intwasa and Hifa have always had different outlooks. Hifa has a standard of international artistes that it has always looked to attract but Intwasa, especially in the last few years, has tried to bring a more makeshift line-up because of the limited resources. That’s the main difference. We’ve always tried to improvise,” he said.
Baya said should Bulawayo’s premier arts festival disappear from the arts calendar, it might be the last time arts lovers see it in the City of Kings.
“If Hifa goes away maybe for a year, it can always return, but if Intwasa does the same, that might be the last time that Bulawayo ever sees it so that’s another key difference between the two,” Baya said.
While most music lovers will be crying about the absence about the absence of Hifa this year because of the arts feast that the fest usually serves, Baya said everyone should be worried about the loss of employment some will suffer because of the cancellation.
“There will be severe income and job losses because a lot of people depend on Hifa for that. That’s what everyone should be screaming about. This doesn’t affect the arts only as some would love to believe.
Look at the loss of jobs and income in the catering industry for example,” said Baya.