Mtawarira hits out at Hifa

HARARE - Zimbabwean R ‘n’ B singer Audius Mtawarira says the decision by the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) to deny him a chance to perform at this year’s edition is both offensive and disrespectful.

The Day Like This singer, who wrote and produced music for top artistes  like American pop rapper Flo Rida while working as a producer for Sony Music in Australia, believes he has not been given a fair chance by Zimbabwe’s leading festival.

“It’s offensive to say the least because they have international and regional artistes performing there but they tell me I do not fit into their programme,” fumed Mtawarira.

“They contacted me two days ago saying my application had been denied, stating that my submission did not fit into their programme. They said they contacted my manager but she says she didn’t get the message, but I can’t contest them on that. What I am worried about is why they have denied me.”

Mtawarira added that his achievements as a musician merit better treatment.

“Looking at the work I have done in the music industry, I am very disappointed. In fact I take it as an insult. It was my first time applying and to be treated like this is just bad,” said the singer.

“Some of my fans actually encouraged me to apply and I am sure they will be pretty disappointed. I was actually practising and rehearsing.  Hifa is a very big festival in Harare, in the region and internationally so it is a big deal for me to perform there.”

The award-winning artiste has produced four albums: Audius (2002), Ever After (2003), Music and Me (2005) and Day Like This (2008).

Hifa Head of Media and Community Liaison, Tafadzwa Simba denied that the turning down of Mtawarira’s application was personal.

“There are many applications received for each festival and, needless to say, not all artistes can be accommodated in one festival.

"There are different presentations for different years and it would not be a festival if there was not a different mix of artistes each year. This inevitably means some artistes would not be able to perform in a particular festival edition but would be able to perform in another one.

“Mtawarira is one of those artists who would be performing at another edition of the festival. As for his receiving his notification late, this is truly an exceptional occurrence as artists are usually notified well in advance,” he said.

The 15th edition of Hifa will take place in Harare from April 29 to May 4.

Comments (3)

Audius is a very good artist he will fit in with the HIFA programme very well, but now might not be the right time for him to come and play here. Next year's edition of HIFA will be the right platform for him.

Reginald Masvosva - 26 April 2014

In as much as your music is good,, you have to realise that HIFA invites musicians based on their theme not kuti wakanga uri australia.

PACHOKWADI - 4 May 2014

Mtawarira's music is not all that relevent at this time',he sounds more american than zimbabwean.Producing for this and that American doesn't mean you automatically qualify to be invited .

Believe chizeya - 8 May 2014

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