Following the absence of the traditional six day format Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) last year, corporate sponsors have come on board once again to enable this year’s exciting showcase.
HIFA assistant executive director Tafadzwa Simba said, “39 companies have come forward supporting HIFA, a resounding number, and better than the 2015 showcase.”
He expressed his gratitude towards corporate and NGO sponsors including ZOL, United Nations, United States Embassy, British Council, Culture Fund Zimbabwe, and Hivos who are among the main financial contributors that brought HIFA back to its six day, and much more popular format.
British Council will this year ‘take HIFA to the people through crowdsourcing creativity in the city. Hivos will return as a major sponsor, this time with a new focus, divorced from their usual free speech sponsorship of the Poetry Café.
ZOL as part of the biggest corporate sponsors will provide free Wi-Fi for everyone in and around the Harare Gardens festival site.
All funders congratulated HIFA for returning to their traditional format. “I would like to offer my congratulations to the HIFA team for creating space that powers creativity,” said Culture Fund Director Tawanda Mupfunya.
He went on to explain to the members of the media how art can engage the public to think about not just cultural, but developmental issues.
“It is important to use the energy around HIFA to see whether there are things we can do better, innovate and create and use that to develop our economy,” said Mupfunya.
He paid tribute to artists who spend their lives trying to make the ordinary Zimbabwean see how art can be used to highlight social issues.
Mupfunya said, “We monitor the festivals that happen around the country of which HIFA is the biggest. If we don’t have HIFA, it means the continent of Africa doesn’t have its biggest festival.”
He juxtaposed HIFA with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) outlining how the festival can be of interest to investors who want to be part of the local cultural sector as well as outlining how the creative industry must work in parallel to developments in the local economy.
HIFA is running in and around Harare Gardens from 2-7 May.