AFTER it was put on hold last year, the Harare International Carnival makes a return this year. This information was made available by the Chief Executive of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Dr. Karikoga Kaseke at a press conference on July 6, 2017. Dubbed the 3 Million Man Carnival by the ZTA, the theme of this year’s event slated for September 1 – 10, 2017 is “One Love: Our Unity, Our Pride.” The high point of the carnival will be on September 9 with the street parade and party into the next morning.
Below is the Press Statement by Dr. Kaseke…
A very good morning to you all. We are happy to be gathered this morning to inform the nation and unveil the programme of one of their favourite national event, the Harare International Carnival. As everyone is aware, we did not have the carnival last year so today we are making that definitive proclamation to the nation that, their favourite Carnival is not only back but it’s much bigger and better.
We are gratified that the government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development have already given us adequate funds to deliver an excellent carnival akin to its standards of being the biggest street party in southern Africa. More so we have been fortunate to have found a reliable partner and sponsor with whom we have a shared vision of the carnival. I will tell you more on that later on.
There has never been a consensus in terms of the numbers of people who attended the previous editions of the carnival. We estimated the numbers to be in the region of 2 million. This year we have dubbed the show, 3-million man Carnival. This year’s carnival is being held under the theme: One Love – Our Unity, Our Pride. Over the years the carnival has proved beyond any doubt to be a unifying force amongst our people. In line with the theme, we want to celebrate and foster national unity and love.
Apart from the Socio-cultural benefits accrued from this event most importantly it is has a huge impact on our economy. The last time we had the HIC in 2015, according to our research the event generated around $21 million within the week of the Carnival thereby delivering considerable benefits not only to the individual but the national economy at large.
The carnival will take place from 1 to 10 September 2017 with the climax being the street party on 9 September 2017. There will be a cocktail of carnival events in between. Last time we indicated that the DRC had proposed to be the partner country for the next 3 editions but I must tell you we now have more countries expressing their desire to partner us. We are still too firm up on this. At the edition year, we had about 18 countries that participated in the carnival and this year considering the excitement the event has stirred beyond the Region, we have set our target at 25 countries.
The major change this year is the route of our Carnival street party. Traditionally the procession began at the magistrate courts into the CBD. This year we are converging on the eastern side of the CBD and proceeding to the Robert Mugabe Square opposite Rainbow towers. That’s where the main stage will be mounted for a Carnival musical concert.
Critically this year we are also focusing on a legacy project for the carnival. In partnership with our Headline sponsor, we want to transform Robert Mugabe Road. In its current, the street has become a shame to the country. It is filled with all sorts of dirt emanating from different activities of vending and transport movement rampant during the day and night, activities that also make the road absolutely impassable. We cannot continue to cast a blind eye to that as a nation. Robert Mugabe Road is named after our iconic President. We need to show respect and pay homage to the Head of State by creating order and sanity in this road.
We are going to put proper vending stalls which are also environmentally friendly along Robert Mugabe Road. We want to create a shining model that will also link them with the main stream economy. Vending happens anywhere in the World even where there are strong and vibrant economies like in the USA and Italy but it’s how it is done that makes a difference.
Next year working with our sponsor and our partners the Harare City Council, we will take the project to First Street. We want to restore glamour and glitz to the streets of Harare and they must be manned by Tourism Police particularly the First Street which must be a Tourism Street. So starting this year every edition of the Carnival must have a sustainable legacy project that will benefit our communities and the economy at large. We are also decentralizing the carnival by creating Carnival fiestas in particular in Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, and Bulawayo to create awareness of the main event.
Ladies and gentlemen our headline sponsor for the next three years is BIG TIME STRATEGIC GROUP OF COMPANIES OF SOUTH AFRICA.
In recognition of their invaluable sponsorship, the event will be named BIG TIME HARARE INTERNATIONAL CARNIVAL. The sustainable partnership we have with the Big Time Strategic Group has seen them intimately supporting our programmes. So this year among other critical things they will give us the main stage, public address system, the lighting equipment, sponsorship of both local and Regional artists. With such support, certainly the Harare International Carnival will grow much more in years to come, into a sustainable and viable national event supported by talent, expertise, skills, and knowledge that is uniquely Zimbabwean.
So to give that definitive message to the nation about the carnival, we are launching the Big Time Harare International Carnival on Saturday in Highfield at the Takashinga Cricket Club. We have taken the Carnival launch to the people. It’s a free show that will see the cream de la cream in the music industry playing. Jah Prayzah, Soul Jah Love, Andy Muridzo, Shinsoman, Peter Moyo, Mbira Dze Nharira, Diamond Musica, Ceh Calaz are some of the musicians billed to perform. It’s a family show so we are urging people to come in their number and get a feel of this year’s carnival.
Lastly, I want to thank the media for your continued support beyond the carnival. I wish you all of you and the nation at large a fun filled, colorful and enjoyable time during the Big Time Harare International Carnival 2017.
I thank you…..Ndatenda…..Siyabonga!