Zimbabwe Performs


Photo by Timo Arnall — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Manuel Bagorro’s work answers his own question: How can an international arts festival benefit people who are struggling with so many everyday necessities?

Bagorro is the founder and artistic director of the Harare International Festival of the Arts, or HIFA.

As posted this week in KArts Culture News from the BBC coverage of Zimbabwe, Bagorro has been writing a diary while keeping the upcoming festival alive in Zimbabwe. (The festival begins April 29.)

Producing an international festival in the midst of the surreal elections, where eight of ten are unemployed, and the inflation rate is 100,000% (officially), is more than challenging. For Bagorro and his colleagues in Zimbabwe, it has become necessary.

His diary posts run through the daily obstacles: budgeting in an economy where the cost of paper changes drastically from 10 am to 2 pm in the same day; water and electricity are never a given; the box office’s computers are stolen at customs; and, the ever-present fear of violence coupled with the constant hope of national resolution.

Still, HIFA’s platform for Zimbabwean artists and artists from twenty other countries opens a space for the “power of the arts to unify” and “to nurture the creative aspect of national identity.”

It is easy for philosophers and politicians to spout such noble phrases.

For Bagorro and HIFA, the nobility is in the doing, the acts of creating of art and community.

The theme of this year’s festival? The Art of Determination.

- Bill Reichblum

One Response to “Zimbabwe Performs”

  1. KadmusArts - where culture speaks » Blog Archive » A Lesson from Lessing: Didn’t Win? Good News!
    May 12th, 2008 03:22

    […] Born in Iran, and raised in Rhodesia, which is now Zimbabwe, Lessing’s voice also counts in politics: “Mugabe is a disaster.” […]

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