Intwasa kicks off amid cholera fears

BULAWAYO - Bulawayo’s premier event Intwasa Arts Festival opened on Monday amid fears that the cholera outbreak, fuel shortages and cash shortages will dampen the arts extravaganza.

As part of the efforts by government to bring the cholera scourge under control, police banned public gatherings which saw many arts events particularly in the capital being cancelled as a result.

The 14th edition of the arts fete, however, kicked off in the city under the theme “Bloom Bloom”.

“We are hoping that the looming fuel shortage, sudden price hikes and cholera fears don’t seriously affect the festival,” festival director Raisedon Baya told Southern News.

On Monday, the festival which for years has been losing its lustre due to economic hardships and lack of funding saw the music and dance presentation called Bloom Bloom by award-winning Umkhathi Theatre being showcased at Bulawayo Theatre.

Despite the rather low-profile start, Baya is happy with the progress so far stemming from months of preparation for the annual event.

The festival is happening at more than five venues across the city which include Bulawayo Theatre, Arts Gallery, Devine Car Wash and City Hall car park.

According to the programme, today (Wednesday) there will be a schools’ poetry workshop and schools’ theatre.

On Thursday, revellers will be treated to Women, Wine and Words event at the Art Gallery which has turned to be a permanent feature on the annual fete.

The following day, it will be a battle of internationally-claimed musicians as all-female imbube outfit Nobuntu battle it out with imbube legends Black Umfolosi in a
clash that is likely to amaze those who love the type of music.

On the same day, comedy lovers will get the chance to be entertained at a show dubbed Comedy Gig which will be featuring some of the city’s best joke crackers.

It is however, on Saturday that the controversial Gukurahundi atrocities which claimed thousands in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in post independent disturbances will be on the spotlight as part of the festival.

Seasoned journalist Zenzele Ndebele will present his documentary Gukurahundi Genocide 36 years later at a local hotel, an event that has already attracted the attention of many, signalling there might be a huge turnout.

On the same day, another controversial play 1983 The Dark Years written by Bhekumusa Moyo and directed by Adrian Musa will also be showcased, in as many years after it had been banned by the former president Robert Mugabe regime.

The play exhibits the cruel nature in which the Gukurahundi atrocities unfolded.

However, it will be the annual gig, Umcimbi Wabantu which will bring down the curtains on the otherwise eventful week.

The gig which is part of celebrating the city’s first commercial radio station Skyz Metro FM’s anniversary will see the likes of Jeys Marabini, Clement Magwaza, Zinja
Ziyamluma and Madlela Skhobokhobo. The show, will however, play host to South African mbaqanga legends Soul Brothers.

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