The curtain came down on the six-day Harare International Festival of the Arts last week with a scintillating performance by South Africa’s top band, Freshlyground, amid a flurry of fireworks and ‘Waka Waka’.
‘Waka Waka’ is a song performed by world-renowned songstress, Shakira, featuring Zolani Mahola of Freshlyground. The “We Count” edition of HIFA, ended on a high note with thousands of festival-goers in attendance.
‘Waka Waka’ was a befitting song to what was already a thrilling six-day festival marked by intermittent rains and exuberant talent from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Like never before, HIFA 2018 had mostly South African-based artistes than ever before. From Beatenburg to Lira and Freshlyground, HIFA 2018 was a lot better than last year as more people attended the festival with organisers expressing satisfaction. Freshlyground, who was the closing act at the festival, came prepared for the show and boy, oh, boy, what magic they brought on stage.
First and before HIFA, it was Dr Thomas Mapfumo who performed before a sell-out crowd at Glamis Arena some two weeks back where he played “Chauya Chauya” (Come what may) to rapturous applause. As for Freshlyground, they came with a message of hope and a better Zimbabwe.
“We are excited to perform tonight in Zimbabwe and what a pleasure to be home,” Zolani said to wild applause.
She continued her performance playing some of the old songs and moving to the latest. The song “Chicken to Chinja”, which referred to the deposed former President Robert Mugabe and previously landed the group in trouble after the state denied them work permits and visas on two occasions of HIFA, was played just before the close and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Zimbabweans go to the polls in the second quarter this year, where the two front-runners Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu-PF and Nelson Chamisa of the MDC Alliance face off for the first time.
HIFA 2018 ran under the theme “We Count”, a reflection that the ‘povo’ have a say in the geopolitical sphere. Those that did not make it, surely do not know what they missed!