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Midlands Arts Festival
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Midlands Arts and Culture Festival goes national

THE Midlands Arts and Culture Festival has gone national, giving room for more artistes from all the corners of the country to participate in the annual event. To suit its national scope, the one time provincial showcase has assumed a new name, the Midlands Arts and Culture Festival Zimbabwe.

Festival founding director, renowned reggae artiste, Joe Wailer, said this year’s six-day event was a must-attend as there will be a variety of artistes representing different genres.

“We changed the name because we are now operating at a national level. When we were operating at provincial level, we were limited in terms of sponsorship and even the selection of participants. We were forced to have mostly Midlands artistes but we now can have artistes from all corners of the country.

“Our artistes can now learn from their counterparts from other provinces unlike in the past when they would learn from a limited number of artistes from the Midlands. This time the quality of production in all genres will be enhanced,” he said.

Wailer said some of the genres that will be highlighted at the festival include theatre, music, dance, literal and visual arts as well as film.
The festival will this year run from 16 September to 21 September. Wailer said on the first day of the festival, there will be a cultural tour of Dhlodhlo and Nalatale monuments.

The day will be capped with a traditional lunch at Nalatale Monuments.
On the following day, the Executive Director of the Culture Fund, Farai Mupfunya, is expected to officially open the arts festival. Most of the event’s programme will be held at the Midlands Hotel in Gweru.

“We will have a mbiravolution from Harare also on Tuesday. The event will mainly be an exhibition of mbira.
“We also have the Zimbabwe Prison Services and some traditional music from Zvirimunzeve Mbira Ensemble. All these events will be held between 8am and 12 noon. At around 3pm we will have theatre, Half Full and Half Empty, a Savanna Trust production. This is an internationally acclaimed group which recently toured Southern Africa,” said Wailer.

The Gweru-based reggae artiste said the day’s programme will be closed by jazz maestro, Bob Nyabinde.
Wailer said there will be a host of other forms of arts on display throughout the week.

The programme includes a workshop for practical writers, theatre sessions for primary and secondary schools and Chibuku Road to Fame previous winners, Terry and The Bliss.

“We also have sungura musician, Ronnie Mudhindo, Jeys Marabini, Man Soul Jah, Roki, Nehoreka, Mad Nettol, Nasty Trix and Mafriq.

“All the musicians have signed their contracts and they will all be there to perform during the week-long arts festival. People should expect fireworks at the festival because we have upped our game. Be there,” said Wailer.

Bulawayo-based artiste, Marabini, will bring the curtains down when he closes the event on the last day.