Freshlyground . . . Zim unbans group, Band makes a welcome return to HIFA

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Jonathan Mbiriyamveka

Harare – South African Afro-fusion band –Freshlyground makes a welcome return to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (hifa) after two failed attempts due to brushes with Zimbabwean immigration authorities.   

The Immigration Department denied the group work permits, forcing them to cancel their show in Harare in 2010.

Fours year later in 2014, the group was denied entry after landing in Harare, ruining a hugely anticipated performance at                                                         HIFA.

This year’s HIFA runs from May 1 to 6, and Freshlyground will perform on ZOL Main Stage.

HIFA founder and artistic director Manuel Bagorro confirmed to The Sunday Mail Society that everything was ready for the group’s performance.

“The festival is extremely pleased and honoured to present a group that not only is of high artistic quality but is a friend of the festival and has been a great ambassador for the African continent. To put it simply, they are simply a great music band and a collection of great people,” said Bagorro.

Critics, however, said the Freshlyground issue was a political one since they performed a song against former President Mugabe’s rule.

Their performance at HIFA will come on the back of their new album, “Can’t Stop”, set for release this month.

The group commands a huge following in Zimbabwe, as indicated by sold out tickets during HIFA in 2014 where over 3,000 tickets had been bought for a venue that carries between 3,500 and 4,000.

Freshlyground’s breakaway hit was at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in collaboration with Shakira, after it attained its global brand                           status.

Their first appearance at HIFA was in 2003 with their debut “Nomvula” that the group first performed at HIFA in 2003.

A year later, their global hit “Doo Be Doo” set the band on a course to stardom in the Afro-fusion genre. Other albums from the group include: “Jika Jika”, “Nomvula”, “Radio Africa”, “The Legend” and “Ma’ Cheri”.

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