“The Harare International Festival of the Arts is probably the best-organized festival in the sub-continent and one of the most manageable diverse. Most importantly in the current economic situation, HIFA has come to be seen as an important symbol of something positive about Zimbabwe.” – Robert Grieg
Such is the impression that HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) has made since the festival made its debut on the Harare scene. Conceived and created in 1997 by Manuel Bagorro, who is also the Artistic Director, HIFA had its first edition in 1999. Over the years, HIFA has become the biggest cultural event in Zimbabwe and among the Top 10 festivals in Africa.
Held annually in late April or early May, HIFA is a major contributor to the development of arts and culture in the country. The 6-day festival/workshop program showcases the very best of Zimbabwean, regional and international arts and culture via theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, fashion, spoken word and visual arts.
As much as fifteen stages spread around when Harare hosts HIFA. At the last edition of the festival (HIFA ’15), held from April 28 to May 3, which had the theme “Articulate!” there was a total of 192 performances featuring 289 regional and international artists, representing 43 nationalities, together with 1041 local artists. HIFA ’15 was the 16th edition of the festival.
It is impossible to see every single performance at HIFA and for those attending it would be wise to try and choose your events. You can easily download the HIFA app or buy the print schedule once in Harare. The events have varying fees from $6 to $30.
The next edition of HIFA has been scheduled for 2017 with the theme “Next Level.” While the festival will not be held this year, organizers insist that 2016 is not a gap but rather a change of format to host a series of activities spread across the year as a build up to HIFA ‘17.
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