THE government yesterday deported popular South African group Freshlyground, which was billed to mark the closure of this year’s edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) last night.
The group was sent packing soon after it touched down at the Harare International Airport around 4pm.
But reasons for the deportation remained sketchy last night with Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke saying he was equally puzzled by the development.
When our sister paper NewsDay crew arrived at the airport, the group had already left aboard a South African Airways flight.
“I can confirm they have been deported, but I really don’t know the cause,” Kaseke said.
“This is why I am here to establish the cause. I have checked with Clemence Masango of the Department of Immigration, but he refused to give me the reasons.”
According to Kaseke, over 5 000 tickets had already been sold at a cost of $20 for the closing event.
Informed sources at the airport said the group could have been turned away for political reasons after producing a controversial video, Chicken for change 2010 in 2008, denouncing President Robert Mugabe for clinging on to power.
“They were led to a room and shown the video before they were deported,” the source said.
The video castigated Mugabe’s leadership and urged him to retire.
NewsDay could not establish the size of the group.
An official at Hifa who refused to be named said they had organised a replacement for Freshlyground to avoid hitches in the closing ceremony.
Watch the video to “Chicken to Change” below: