The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
WHILE jacarandas have long since flowered, heralding the coming of spring in Bulawayo and other parts of Zimbabwe, the Intwasa Festival koBulawayo will this year seek to bloom in December, with organisers hoping that arts lovers will be able to balance weddings, parties and family gatherings with stage performances from some of the city’s finest artistes during the festival season.
This year’s edition of the festival was set to take place between 26 September and 1 October but was then moved to between 29 December and 31 December. Some events that form part of the fest, which this year was set to run under the theme “Re-Connect”, still took place despite the postponement.
At a time when major festivals around the country are limping, Intwasa was now a rare bright spot during the spring period. While the fest has held programmes in December, through Intwasa Extra, it remains to be seen whether Intwasa will recapture its exuberant spring during a period that is renowned for congestion, as promoters and other entertainment providers seek to cash in on the festive season rush.
In an interview with Sunday Life, festival director Raisedon Baya said that Intwasa was ready to regain its step despite the fact that the extra extravaganza was taking place in a season that is alien to it.
“The festive season is as competitive as ever. You’ll find already there are more than four or five big shows that are happening in December and these shows are about making money and business. That’s where you will find your biggest artistes performing and the largest number of people because the promoters are looking very big for those particular kinds of events.
“As a festival we see ourselves as alternative during the festive season. There are your big events, which happen at mostly clubs and those sorts of venues but when you have a festival you kind of provide the alternative for those that are looking for quiet, mature and peaceful events. So, while we are competing with other events, we are an alternative event that is designed for art lovers, for people that want to see development in our area and that’s why we are there. Having said that competition is also very healthy and we need it,” he said.
Baya said the delay had been necessitated by a failure to reach agreements on time with partners, something that had since been ironed out. Baya also said given the success of Intwasa Extra in the past, it was their fervent hope that the festive season edition of Intwasa would be a hit.
“We have Intwasa Extra which is happening in December and we had to push it to this month because we were still engaging our partners back when we were supposed to have the event. We felt that we needed to sign contracts and do things properly and that is now done. We have also done this before and we have quite a good response and we are hoping that this will be the case again this year,” he said.