The Shoko Festival, the largest urban cultural anniversary in the country, was launched yesterday under the motto: Shoko Universe.
It runs virtually. Bulawayo’s largest arts and culture fiesta, Intwasa, begins today as the city also hosts the 2021 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
THE showbiz arena will be alive this week as the country’s two biggest festivals, Shoko and Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo, take place in Harare and Bulawayo respectively until Saturday.
This is a first for Bulawayo, which is hosting events as big as art meets business.
The Intwasa, which will be held both physically and virtually, begins with the Monetizing the Arts Through Social Media workshop at the National Art Gallery in Bulawayo and the Filmmaking Masterclass (physical events).
The official opening show will take place in the evening (6:00 p.m.) at the Bulawayo Theater with a range of performers including Bulawayo singer Mimmie Tarukwana, Thandy Dhlana, dancehall singer Tocky Vibes, rapper Tashamiswa, Voltz JT, Jungle Locco, Gze and Lady Bee, among other.
The spokesman for the Intwasa Festival, Nkululeko Nkala, promised an educational festival.
“We are ready for this year’s edition amid COVID-19, we will have our hybrid, this is the new normal and we have to face the changing times,” he said.
Shoko Festival director Farai “Comrade Fatso” Munroe said the festival will be a celebration of diversity.
“Covid-19 and Lockdowns challenged us to be more creative as festival organizers.
“In response to the times we live in, this year we’re inviting audiences to join the Shoko virtual universe,” he said.
“It’s critical that we continue to find ways to create events creatively so that we can support our artists and inspire our audiences with crazy new sets and powerful art. explosive music, crazy sets and unprecedented collaborations. “
Comrade Fatso said they teamed up with the Dutch Embassy in Harare to come up with a cutting edge spoken word program.
“This year’s edition will showcase a unique collaboration between Holland and Zimbabwe for its spoken word program as well as an innovative spoken word journey.
“In an unprecedented creative collaboration between leading Dutch spoken word artist Smita James and Zimbabwean top poet Shaldo, who will collaborate on combined themes that explore a world of violence against women, climate collapse and growing authoritarianism while they are Talk about hope and social justice. “
He said the performance would lead to a presentation of Lost – A Spoken Word Journey, which will feature several leading local poets, including Thando, Yanta Limie, Munyaradzi Bopoto, Kuda Rice and Banshee, on the current political and economic situation in Zimbabwe – presented very creatively. Over the years the Shoko Festival has become a platform for hundreds of young rappers, comedians, musicians and spoken word artists to perform, collaborate and express themselves through their diverse artistic talents.
The festival also curates innovative collaborations between local and international acts and arranges international tours for young local artists.
Tribal house trio Djembe Monks, who will traditionally perform at both festivals, said fans should expect a sizzling, energetic and spiritual performance.
At the Shoko Festival, Djembe Monks will perform at Mash-Up Night and then appear in the final Intwasa show on Saturday at 8 p.m., with the performance being broadcast live on the Intwasa Arts Festival’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
“Bass jerking, over the edge, mind-altering singing and uplifting vibrations are what we promise people at both festivals,” says Emmanuel Roots Nkomo of Djembe Monks.
“The fact that we’re going to be at both festivals is good. It’s a great time to be alive right now.”
One of the highlights of the festival is the Africa Satire Convention, scheduled for Thursday, which will bring together satirists from across the continent, including Ugandan poet and human rights activist Stella Nyanzi, who was delighted to share her experience of writing political satire about Uganda’s dictatorship.