Bulawayo blooms as Intwasa comes alive

BULAWAYO - It's that time of the year once again when Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo assumes a larger-than life tag; when the City of Kings and Queens transforms into a flourishing Garden of Eden; a time the former capital of King Lobengula is virtually turned into a blossoming and colourful terra firma.

It is only two days to go to the city’s prominent week-long multi- disciplinary arts fete, the Intwasa Arts Festival when arts enthusiasts really have something amazing to look forward to.

The festival will run from September 18 to 22.

Camouflaged in a befitting banner, “Bulawayo Blooming” the city can only be nothing short of the event that falls in the magnificent “blooming” Spring.

It is such a moment that will definitely leave lasting memories not only to the locals, but to the visitors too.

When the festival was mooted some eight years ago right in the heart of the city of Bulawayo, one might have thought that it was a flash in the pan that would fizzle out in the cut-throat arts fraternity, but almost a decade now the festival continues to grow in leaps and bounds.

Today, the event has rightly assumed the not-to-miss label as an important event on the annual calendar that has put the city under the artistic radar at international level despite the fact that unlike the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) it has not captured the esteemed international tag.

With a variety of artistic genres set to be swanked at the festival, this can only be one of the befitting platforms for local artistes to showcase their prowess in the industry.

Talk of music in its various genres and poetry, theater, visual arts among a cocktail of artistic episodes scheduled for the top arts extravaganza in the country’s Southern Region.

It is again such an opportunity for the local artists to mix, mingle, network and share experiences with international and regional artistes who are expected to tumble down for the event.

In addition, friendships, bonds, collaborations, artistic inspiration and motivation are all set to be born at this year’s Intwasa Arts Festival.

To this end, the artists should not only see the oncoming event as platform to showcase their talent and get paid for their services but to fully embrace all opportunities that come along with events of this magnitude.

Book launches, book reading and arts workshops make part of the growing festival that is only but a pride of Bulawayo.

Graced by various international artists drawn from as far as Britain, Austria, United States of America and Canada among others the occasion should best be described as a potentially explosive and never to miss affair.

The support from various organisations, individuals and the government of Zimbabwe itself signifies how art in the country has over years grown to become a highly prized institution.

Despite a decade long economic and political strife in Zimbabwe the art industry has limped on defiantly.
However, although the Bulawayo festival is standards below Hifa, arts lovers have something to follow up outside the capital.

Most importantly, Intwasa has not forgotten the future in the arts industry- pupils.

Primary school pupils and secondary school students are expected to engage in debates, workshops, poetry, storytelling and drama among other activities while their teachers have also been roped in, making the whole process inclusive.

Activities at the event will be spread across various venues in the second largest city.

For the event that is being spearheaded by seasoned art personnel Raisedon Baya, whose life script speaks for itself, we say let the Intwasa Festival rollercoaster unfold and rumble through to greater heights.

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