Freshlyground shuts down Hifa in style

HARARE - South African African Afro-fusion music group Freshlyground, put up a perfect performance to end the six-day Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa).

Fireworks even erupted as the group was finishing up their act as they performed Waka Waka: Time for Africa.

The group also performed their “controversial” song Chicken to change which mocks Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe.

Freshlyground’s lead singer Zolani went on to congratulate Zimbabwe for the new dispensation.

The Hifa main stage was filled to capacity and the group did not disappoint.

The group, which had previously been banned from performing at the Hifa in 2014, finally got a chance to perform after Mugabe’s downfall.

“We have just played one of our best gigs ever at one of the best festivals ever in one of our most beloved countries ever. Thank you Harare. Thank you Hifa. Thank you Zimbabwe #newdispensation #fgcantstop #lovenohate,” they wrote on their Facebook page.

The group believed that their failure to enter Zimbabwe after being blocked by the country’s immigration had been as a result of their chicken to change song which mocked Mugabe.

In 2010, the South African Afro-pop band did a controversial Mugabe puppet video from their song — chicken to change.

This time, Hifa organisers said everything was in order for the group to perform, pinning their hopes on the “new dispensation”.

“They approached us as university students ... and we said okay, let’s hear what they can do, they were incredible. They thank Hifa that we gave them their first concerts ever.”

Freshlyground is a South African Afro-fusion band that was formed in Cape Town in 2002. The band members have different backgrounds, including South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe.

In an interview with the Daily News sister paper just after their deportation in 2014, the group said Zimbabwe was a long way from accepting that satire was a component of a robust democracy.

“The fact that at the time we wrote the song, the country was starting to believe that change was both desirable and possible.

“The only thing standing in the way of this desire was Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his stubborn hold on power and an almost 38-year reign.

Change is inevitable, even in the game of politics and power.”


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