The fifth edition of Shoko Festival hits Harare again this week on Thursday 24 until Saturday 26 September. The festival features a whole host of local and international artists with music, comedy, and spoken word to look forward to. We spoke to Festival Coordinator, Natalie Kombe about what to expect this time around:
What makes Shoko Festival this year different from previous years?
This year Shoko is more affordable than it has been in previous years, with tickets from $5 for two schoolgoers in uniform, $4 for card bearing college students, and $5 for the rest. Oh, and of course the Peace in the Hood concert in Chitungwiza will be free. We want to give Harare quality performances at an affordable rate so that more people can attend and enjoy the festival. We have also combined the different artistic elements into all the days. In the past we had one ‘comedy night’, one ‘spoken word night’ and a ‘music night’. This year there is spoken word, comedy, and music every night, so that people don’t miss out on a genre in case they can only attend a specific night.
Which international and local acts can people look forward to?
Cassper Nyovest (SA) will be performing on Friday night. Bucie (SA) is so ‘easy to love’ and she will perform at the festival opening on Thursday night. Our featured local celebrity artists are Souljah Love and Junior Brown. They will be setting the stage alight in Chitungwiza on Saturday night. From the UK we have Blak Twang and Silvastone, who will perfoming on Friday and Saturday. That is going to be a real party!
On the comedy front we have Tol A$$ Mo (SA) and Deep Fried Man (SA). Some of our local comedians featuring at Shoko this year are Clive Chigubhu and Doc Vikela. There are so many more acts to look forward to, so people have to come through and see.
Tell us about this year’s venue.
This year we will be hosting Shoko in the Harare Museum grounds. The Museum is situated on Rotten Row next to the Harare City Library, which will be where our Hub labs and new media workshops will be taking place. We feel that the Museum and the Library are very important institutions on the landscape of Harare, so we wanted to bring a new energy so that more people could see these cultural spaces and utilize them more, as there is such a wealth of knowledge in both of these places. The more people visit them, the more revitalized they become.
Shoko is not only about music, spoken word and comedy. Please tell us what else it has to offer Harare residents.
Shoko values the importance of education and progress, so through our hub labs and Hub Unconference we offer new media workshops. The world is currently in the technological age, and we feel that it is crucial as Zimbabweans to equip ourselves with the knowledge necessary to navigate the new world, so that we too can prosper and build the country with the tools acquired from this knowledge. We will also be having workshops at the festival, notably the “Identities” workshop for women poets which will be hosted by UK Poet Deanna Rogers, and a Shakespeare workshop for high school students hosted by UK poet Francesca Beard. Both poets will be performing at Shoko, and the workshops are courtesy of the British Council.
We will also be providing stall space for those who will be selling urban culture crafts and clothing. There will be a full bar and catering on site.
Image by Harry Davies