ZIMBABWE’S leading musicians and artistes, among them poet Albert Nyathi, sungura ace Sulumani Chimbetu, singer and dancing sensation Sandra Ndebele and the world-acclaimed dance group Iyasa are billed to headline probably the biggest gig dubbed Bayethe Bulawayo Concert on the second last night of the Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo.
Intwasa is the second biggest arts events in Zimbabwe after the Harare International Festival of the Arts.
It was created in 2005 by local artistes and arts administrators with a vision of leading arts development and marketing Bulawayo as a cultural city. The festival is set in spring, in the last week of September. Dates for this year’s 10th edition are September 23 to 27 2014.
The festival is multi-disciplinary. It celebrates and promotes music, literary arts, visual arts, dance, spoken word, theatre and crafts.
The festival gives opportunities to everyone, from women to men, old and young, local and foreign artistes to come together and celebrate human creativity and cultural diversity.
Under the theme Unforgettable, this year’s edition will be hosted in six venues around Bulawayo’s central business district.
The venues are City Hall Car Park, National Art Gallery, Bulawayo Theatre, Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel, The Hope Centre and Large City Hall.
These venues were chosen strategically because of their location and nature. All of them are within a walking distance from each other. The other reason for the choice was safety.
All the venues are safe. Festival audiences can watch and enjoy all arts events without looking over their shoulders or constantly thinking about their safety.
This year’s edition of Intwasa will host about 40 arts events. These will include workshops, discussions, public readings, performances and exhibitions all designed to celebrate human creativity and diversity.
The National Art Gallery in Bulawayo will host the annual Intwasa Visual Arts Competition and Exhibition.
The exhibition is a major event in the visual arts calendar in Bulawayo. The same venue will also host the inspiring Women, Wine&Words — a poetry and music event meant to promote women voices in the arts.
A Producer’s Forum will also be held at the gallery. The Producer’s Forum, to be held on the last day of the festival, will host about 50 local art and culture promoters, event managers, content producers and investors.
The Bulawayo Theatre is the festival’s theatre venue. All theatre performances — professional and non–professional — will take place at the theatre. It is the most ideal venue for theatre.
Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel is the traditional venue for the Spring Jazz Show which will see performances by Cool Crooners, Outfit Band, Jam Signal and Tariro NeGitare. The Spring Jazz Show is a premier festival event and popular with Bulawayo jazz lovers.
The City Hall Car Park is the festival’s nerve centre. It hosts the biggest open air stage called The Chibuku Stage. This stage is supported by Chibuku and offers top entertainment in the form of traditional dance and music.
This year Chibuku Stage will be hosting top performances from Jeys Marabini, Clement Magwaza, Zimboita, Chicken Bus Band, Ndux Junior, Umkhathi Theatre and many other groups.
The Hope Centre is a new venue. This will be a workshop venue. All festival workshops will be held at the Hope Centre. The following workshop will take place: Arts and Culture Teachers’ Platform, Master Class Play Creation, Writing Workshop, Combating Piracy, and Arts as Business.
These workshops are part of the festival’s developmental agenda meant to assist local artists with different skills. Artists also use workshops for networking purposes.
The festival will close with probably the biggest show of the festival at Large City Hall. The show dubbed Bayethe Bulawayo Concert, will be held in collaboration with Bulawayo City Council and will feature top musicians like Sulumani Chimbetu, Ndolwane Super Sounds, Albert Nyathi, Amawala collaboration, Sandra Ndebele and Iyasa.
This will be the shutdown show — a show everyone hopes will be unforgettable.
Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo owes its success and survival to its traditional supporters and partners. These are Hivos Foundation, Norwegian Embassy, Chibuku, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe, Plan International–Zimbabwe, British Council, Nhimbe Trust, Pamberi Trust, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and Africalia Belgium.