Beitbridge International Arts Festival Roars Into Life

Beitbridge International Arts Festival (BIFA) 2015, roared into life yesterday with the primary schools traditional dance competition. 6 schools from Matabeleland South performed one common dance, the Hosana Dance and one dance of their own choice. BIFA is a multi-disciplinary, participatory festival of the arts that seeks to provide artists from the Matebeleland region with exposure and capacity building opportunities through workshops and platforms for showcasing talent. The festival, in its third edition will primarily feature dance, theatre and musical performancesdrama, and comedy
For the first time since its inception, the arts festival will be held over three days, from 22 to 24 October at Beitbridge Inn. This year’s edition is running under the theme “Big Art, Small Town” The opening show featured artists including Winky D, Iyasa and Wadada theatre. The first group to perform for the official opening was the Wadada theatre group which is a cast of 4. They used popular social commentary classics from music greats such as MakoSibanda and Paul Mpofu.

IYASA who performed after,gave a polished performance that left the crowd asking for more. The group had several skits that thrilled the crowd ranging from IYASA’s own pieces to adaptations of various classics from across Africa. Their musical performances took the crowd down the memory lane as they belted master pieces including “Banolila”. As the night progressed Winky D thrilled Beitbridge crowd during hisperformance in the early hours of today. He brought the crowd to its feet with youths streaming into the Beitbridge Hotel open area after midnight. Zim Dancehall appeal was evident with the crowd singing along to each tune.

The festival which is scheduled to end tomorrow shall also be featuring minority cultures from the Matabeleland region. Nkululeko Nkala, the Festival Director, highlighted the importance of show casing minority cultures in Beitbridge as this is a transition town with multiple cultures. He emphasized the need for more Venda Acts as they are the primary culture in the area and risk of disappearance and dilution. This project is supported by the Culture Fund and Swedish Embassy_DANIDA partnership under Culture Impacts Free Expression programme.