HIFA calls for 2017 entries

HARARE - Zimbabwe's biggest arts event — the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) — is calling for applications from artistes who want to perform at its 2017 edition which will run between April 25 to 30 next year.

Hifa associate executive director Tafadzwa Simba said the six-day festival, which will bounce back next year after an 18-month hiatus, is targeting top-rate artistes.

“Hifa is always looking for exceptional levels of quality of content and presentation; novelty as well as having a particular focus on ability to collaborate.

“The application forms (one for craft and applied art and the other for the rest of the genres), which are available on the Hifa website even to artists unable to come to the Hifa offices or other local distribution points,” Simba told the Daily News.

He poured cold water on claims that the festival favours certain artistes and music genres.

“That is clearly not true. A simple comparison of the each year’s programming will prove this untrue. It is understandable that there can be individuals, with unclear levels of artistic ability, who might be disappointed that they do not make it onto a particular year’s programme.

“It is also useful to note that Hifa, a couple of years ago, started a series of annual workshops called Hifa Access that allows all interested artists to participate therein and learn Hifa’s thinking pertaining to applications . . . offering insights into what a successful application should look like,” said the Hifa spokesperson.

Simba added that Zimbabwe’s leading festival has attracted partners for its 2017 edition.

“I can confirm that there are new partners who have seen the value that they and the country can get from association with Hifa projects.

“All Hifa partners will be highlighted as the programme roll-out is conducted,” he said, adding that they never focus on the quantification of sponsors.

“There is an unfortunate flaw in the way ‘sponsorship’ is generally viewed and approached in Zimbabwe. There tends to be an unhealthy focus on hoarding ‘scalps’ of sponsorship brands whilst sacrificing the quality of partnerships and projects to which they give birth.

“Hifa’s focus is creating partnerships that are of high quality in terms of offering a good return to those who invest in the Festival whilst ensuring that the project being undertaken is of good quality. Therefore, it is always about quality and not quantity, with a fastidious focus on value creation for those who invest in Hifa.

“If any entity seeking sponsorship takes care of that first, everything else being sought will follow. Having said that (and perhaps as evidence of the importance of the focus on the project and value created for the investor as I have just highlighted,” said Simba.

Hifa, which is led by its founder and artistic director Manuel Bagorro and executive director Maria Wilson, shelved the 2016 edition of the event to enable the organisers to come up with new partnerships and strategies.

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