Tourism night to honour Chiwoniso

HARARE - Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) says the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO theme song will celebrate life of the late mbira diva Chiwoniso Maraire who took part in coining the winning entry.

Head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda said it was unfortunate that Chiwoniso died before witnessing the UNWTO assembly unfold in Victoria Falls this month.

The 20th session of the UNWTO general assembly, to be jointly hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia, will be held from August 24 to 29.

Chiwoniso died last Wednesday at a hospital in Chitungwiza.

“Chiwoniso was among the composers of the UNWTO theme song and we all thought she would be part of our big family on the opening of the assembly, but God had other ideas.

“What will happen is that we will instead celebrate her life during the Tourism Night, we will remember her and all her efforts to promote tourism and culture,” said Chagonda.

He said the ZTA would have loved to honour Chiwoniso by covering her burial expenses, “but we realised she was fully covered by an insurance company.

“That said, we are still planning to honour her in one way or another.”

Chagonda said in devoting her time to working with other artistes to produce the UNWTO theme song, Chiwoniso had shown her love for Zimbabwe’s natural beauty.

“Music is an art and the mbira in particular is synonymous with the local culture and traditions that form it. It is our hope that music and local traditions would be a focus as we market Victoria Falls as a prime touristic destination,” said Chagonda.

Victoria Falls will indeed be a place to be on August 23 and 24 as ZTA hosts two spectacular public events; Street Carnival and Tourism Night.

The Street Carnival will bring traditional dance and music groups from around Victoria Falls who will have a chance of a lifetime to showcase their culture and traditional norms.

Other traditional groups are set to join in from as far afield as Harare and Bulawayo.

“The Street Carnival will comprise a colourful parade by various groups from different cultures and backgrounds. These will parade along the streets and kick-start the activities.The carnival will comprise traditional dances, display of artefacts, street parades and performances."

“After successfully hosting the country’s inaugural carnival in the capital recently, government saw it fit to host another similar event to welcome the UNWTO delegates and showcase the country’s diverse cultures,” said Chagonda.  He added: “These activities are just meant to welcome our visitors as they prepare for the actual assembly meeting which officially opens two days later.”

The welcome party will then go into overdrive on August 24 when ZTA hosts the Tourism Night at Victoria Falls Primary School which will bring the cream of Zimbabwean musicians for an all-night gig.

Musicians who will grace Tourism Night include Alick Macheso, Suluman Chimbetu, Audius Mtawarira and Winky D among a host of other entertainers.

The musicians — who also took part in composing the theme song — will officially launch their track.

“These two events are meant for people in Victoria Falls and are free of charge to the communities here.

“We are putting this event together so as to help people in Victoria Falls to happily welcome the visitors,” said Chagonda.

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