Book Café closes

HARARE - The Book Café, arguably Harare’s most popular arts venue, has closed its doors indefinitely.

The closure was announced in a press release sent yesterday by Tomas Brickhill, the Book Café managing director.

“I have decided to take a step back in order to re-strategise and restructure the business,” Brickhill’s statement said.

“It was a difficult decision to close the Samora Machel venue, but if Book Café is to have any place in the future of Zimbabwe’s arts and culture scene, I believe that our current course of action is unavoidable.

“At this stage, it is too soon to speculate where or when we may reopen, but I am confident that in Book Café, we have one of the strongest and most respected brands in the country.  I have no intention of letting this be the end of the story for Book Café; but in order for us to start writing the next chapter, we have to close the last one.”

This is the second time the Book Café has closed.

The venue, which was opened at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre in 1997, ceased operations for the first time in December 2011 before reopening on March 8, 2012 at 139 Samora Machel Avenue, its current location.

The closure comes barely a fortnight after Brickhill, who took over the running of the Book Cafe following the death of his father Paul, in October last year, told the Daily News that the iconic arts venue was now on the verge of solving its well-publicised financial problems.

A group of artists, dubbed “The Friends of the Book Café”, held two fund-raising gigs for the arts venue — the first one featuring reggae veterans Transit Crew as well as several poets and comedians during the Easter Holidays.

The second one, held on May 9, featured Transit Crew alongside comedians Simba the comic King, as well as poets Chirikure Chirikure, Barbra Breeze and Larry Kwirirayi.

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