HIFA - Harare International Festival of the Arts (pron. "High-Fa"). The biggest cultural gathering of the year in Zimbabwe. Placed in the capital's central park, Harare Gardens, this art festival has the high-budget edge of the Austin City Limits music festival without all the white people or hipsters. This is an African experience. The festival takes place in the center of this beautiful capital city. The dense urban center, unlike Joburg or Pretoria in South Africa, was clean and safe. The architecture was outstanding. Everything from Art Deco to Post-modern. Truly remarkable. The only thing you'll start to realize is that most of the buildings are from before '84.

There is no event-long or day passes; each show or concert must be purchased individually, and it can get pricey (15$ per ticket). But this means you can end up saving if there is one band you're dying to see.

The best performers I saw were Ismael Lo from Senegal, a group of local Shona bira music, and a South African jazz-hip hop favorite, Tumi and the Volumes (see clip below).
Musicians from all over Africa come to perform at this six day festival: Zim, South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, and Kenya.

From Italy, the ScarlattineTeatro troop performed a three person play called 24583 Little Creepy Wonders that was inventive and minimalist with set design and wildly humorous without understanding any of the Italian lines. The story was about a boy named Pasquale trying to fit in. You see, Pasquale has Dracula-sharp teeth. What makes it funnier, is that the boy was a balloon, and the actors don't miss a chance to take advantage of this helium figure, and even joke about.

To give you a taste of what it was like, below is a clip from HIFA made by a local radio station. The opening song is Tumi and the Volumes' most well know song where he raps every African country in 30 sec. At minute 2:16, you will also see my profile. Notice the black hat and wolf-tail. This was not the only media to capture my image that weekend; to be posted.


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