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‘The Harare International Festival of the Arts is probably the best organized festival in the sub-continent and one of the most manageably diverse’ – Robert Grieg writing in the South Africa Sunday Independent

HIFA 2012 Harare Zimbabwe festival

This week Tuesday sees the start of Zimbabwe’s flagship 6-day annual festival. Founded by Zimbabwean concert pianist Manuel Bagorro, and his actress sister – the event plays host to the best of Zimbabwean performance, along with the work of international artists. In a culmination of music, theatre, dance and street acts – the festival injects celebration into a troubled Zimbabwe. In the year before last, an estimated 50,000 revelers descended on Harare Gardens, fireworks illuminated the skyline and media coverage included BBC and Al Jazeera reporters, among others.

Since its inception in 1999, HIFA is now established on the global map of arts festivals, and backed by an international range of embassies and NGO’s. Every year, various stages offer a feast of artistic genres – from classical compositions like Carmina Burana, to contemporary Southern African favourites like Freshly Ground. Local culture is honoured with traditional acts such as the extraordinary Nhau dancers with their massive stilts and masks.

HIFA 2012 Harare Zimbabwe

This year the theme is ‘A Show of Spirit’ – expect acts like Tumi and the Volume – a groove-laden gig combining jazz and hip hop with politically charged lyrics. Check out the 2012 programme for more info.

Where: Harare Gardens and surrounds, Zimbabwe

When: 1st to 6th May, 2012

Contact: HIFA Website

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I’m Holly - born and raised in the rural British Counties, my mother began life on a sugar farm in Zululand. After reading Anthropology at university in London, working for a political activist filmmaker in India, and doing a short stint under the bright lights of Bollywood – I decided it was time to return to the motherland. To earn a crust in the name of wanderlust, I finished up a post grad in media and hotfooted around South Africa as a freelance travel journalist.