Hifa comeback is good news

HARARE - Elsewhere in this newspaper, we carry a story on the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa)’s call for applications from artists wishing to be part of its 2017 edition.

This is a rare dose of good news for our artists who suffered in a big way when Hifa pulled the plug on its six-day 2016 edition in a bid to allow the country’s leading arts event “to step back, reinvent and come back bigger and better in 2017.”

When the news to shelve this year’s edition of Hifa was announced, organisers insisted that the festival would bounce back next year with more platforms for artists and their development. 

We just hope Hifa organisers will keep their promise.

We are also hopeful that the 18-month break offered Hifa organisers the opportunity to come up with a funding model which will allow it to remain vibrant despite the obvious effects the country’s tottering economy has had on the country’s best arts fiesta.

From its inception in 1999 right up to the 2015 edition, Hifa relied, to a great deal, on investments from some of the country’s biggest companies. But just before their 2015 edition, the festival felt the pinch when they lost four corporate investors due to severe economic challenges.

But as difficult as it, we somehow hope that Hifa organisers — who should be lauded for being visionaries — have come up with ways to make the people’s festival remain alive despite the serious economic and viability threats it faces.

Since its inception, Hifa has been an oasis of hope in a country where most key sectors across the whole spectrum have been struggling, thanks to the stagnating economy.

Hifa is a beautiful dream which should never be allowed to die. Given the high employment figures in Zimbabwe, any organisation or event which provides jobs, whether short term or long term, should be supported and encouraged.

According to figures availed by Hifa, the festival offers short-term jobs during its six-day existence to around 1 000 people who include event assistants, general hands and technicians as well as over 1 000 Zimbabwean artists.

If Hifa bounces back next year and continues to maintain the good corporate governance principles it has become associated with, we are convinced that other smaller festivals will go the same way and offer both artists and arts fans events of the highest order.

Comments (1)

Hopefully HIFA will be awesome next year!

Young Zimbo - 28 November 2016

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