Donors, corporates hail Hifa

This article was originally published in News Day

24 April 2015


DONORS and corporates have thrown their weight behind the 16th edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) despite the difficult economic environment prevailing in Zimbabwe.

The corporates as well as donors said as much as Hifa was a cultural and entertainment event, it had the power to unite and develop the country.

In an interview, ZOL chief executive Denny Marandure, whose company is sponsoring the ZOL Main Stage activities at the festival, pledged to continue to support the festival in future.

“When I first came to Zimbabwe I never knew that one day we would sponsor the festival. I attended one of the shows and I was stunned by the amazing performances. The creative industry has evolved and has had an impact on the arts especially music,” Marandure said.

“Now music can be distributed for less and reach far beyond our borders through the Internet. This means that the artistes should earn more because of downloads anywhere in the world.”

The Norwegian Embassy which has been one of the international partners for Hifa from its inception in 1999 affirmed its commitment by supporting the creative industry. Norwegian Ambassador to Zimbabwe BÃ¥rd Hopland said Hifa was more than just entertainment.

“Hifa is a platform for artistic expression. It provides youth empowerment and a celebration of cultural diversity,” he said.
“We give the biggest bilateral contribution to Hifa. We are sponsoring the festival because it is supported by the people of Zimbabwe. We support it because Zimbabwe and African arts and culture are of high quality compared to other cultures anywhere in the world.”

Hopland said the festival sent a true message about Zimbabwe to the rest of the world.

“Hifa is something Zimbabweans can be proud of as it unites people and creates national identity. It shows the real meaning of cultural diversity and it makes us reflect out life and has power to change our lives,” Hopland said.

Hivos director Tanja Lubbers reiterated the unifying effect of Hifa as well as its thrust to empower youths through providing platforms to express themselves fully.

“Hifa offers a platform for ordinary people and organisations to celebrate the joy the arts, music and dance. I remember when I first came to Zimbabwe, I had a negative picture of the country until I attended Hifa and witnessed artistes openly expressing themselves,” Lubbers said.

The Royal Danish Embassy Chargé D’Affaires Erik Rasmussen said outside Zimbabwean politics, Hifa was a platform to reach out to communities on social issues.

“We used last year’s Hifa to send out messages about gender-based violence. Hifa is broader and art has the ability to bring people together,” he said.

Culture Fund executive director Farai Mpfunya said Hifa created one of the most recognisable brands which in turn attracted an assortment of sponsors.

“Hifa gives an opportunity for artistes, local and foreign, to exchange ideas. It shows that it is possible for artistes to come together and collaborate,” Mpfunya said.

Some of the companies that supported Hifa this year include Old Mutual, Golden Pilsener, Stanbic Bank, iWayAfrica, Deloitte, Lays, LaFarge, Crowne Plaza, ZB Bank, MultiChoice, Rooney’s, Dairibord, Bon Marché, CABS, Minerva and, among others.

Other international partners include the British Council, Osisa, Prohelvetia, Australian government, Embassy of Finland Lusaka and Zimbabwe German Society among others.