Nyanga Arts Festival a success ……Black Umfolosi charmed 


Langalakhe Mabena 

The Nyanga Arts Festival (NAF), which was in its second edition this year, was held successfully from 27 to 28 October, with different artistes from all over the country taking part in the festivities.

The festival, organised by Nhimbe Trust was held at Chief Saunyama’s homestead at the Maereka Primary School, where an audience estimated at over 1200 thronged the grounds to watch, dance and celebrate the rare explosion of entertainment provided for their pleasure.

Black Umfolosi, performing at the Nyanga Festival

Artistes and groups who featured in this year’s edition of the festival are Suluman Chimbetu and The Orchestra Dendera Kings , Sarungano and The Storytellers, Katso, The Expression Band, Counselling (‘C’) Boys, ‘Equalizah’ (Panashe Mujuru).

Scenes from Nyanga Arts Festival

Others are Young Dancers from Maereka Primary and the John Cowie Primary schools stage – ‘Wisodom Wizy’ (Tatenda Mayakayaka), Elias Makande, Aleck Chakauya, Chirirangwe Express, Neddy Charamba, Shain Chimboza – and more.

New to this part of the country were world-renowned artistes Black Umfolosi who travelled nearly 1000 km from Bulawayo and introduced to the fascinated audience, for the first time, the magic voices of the Imbube music tradition.

Other festival activities were held at the luxurious Montclair Hotel and Casino, in the majestic mountains of Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands.

Scenes from Nyanga Arts Festival

Sotsha Moyo, who is the founding member of Black Umfolosi said they had a marvelous time in Nyanga and they learnt a lot as far as culture and tradition is concerned.

“Firstly I would like to congratulate the NAF organising team. They all did a sterling job. When we were invited we thought we were just going to perform in another festival, but the reception we encountered made us realise that people of Nyanga have another rare culture of handling things and their visitors.

“It was our first time as a band to visit the area, and their traditional way of receiving people made us feel at home right away. The programming itself was that of an international standard. One would for a moment think he is somewhere outside Zimbabwe.

“This feeling, complemented by the surrounding scenery in this beautiful corner of our country, made it special for us. The performances, which were a mixed bag from young school children to the professionals, is a cause for applause; this diversity is commendable and should be kept up.

“The tour offered to us as visitors to view some important sites completed the conclusion that NAF is up to a high level of hospitality rarely encountered in so many events like that in this country. We have learnt a lot. If called there again, which is our wish, we will go running and we now know how to prepare ourselves for such a unique community,” said Moyo.

Josh Nyapimbi who is the creative producer of the festival and executive director at Nhimbe Trust said the success of the festival would not have been possible without the support  from partners including Montclair Hotel and Casino, African Distillers Limited, Allied Timbers, Nyangani FM and ZiFM.

He also gave credit to Chief Saunyama for allowing them to hold the festival.

“For a moment I thought the second edition would not happen due to limited sponsorship. We count on old and new supporters for the 2024 edition.

“We would like to give thanks to Maereka Primary School, Claremont Golf Club; Brondesbury Park Hotel, Zororo Guest Lodge, Pine Tree Inn, Village Inn; and the support of Nhimbe Trust’s institutional partner Africalia.

“The support of the Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture and the Provincial National Arts Council in Mutare is also much appreciated. The Festival is also grateful for  the safe carriage of artistes from and back to Bulawayo and Harare, and around Nyanga by the award-winning Murare Car Rental company,” said Nyapimbi.

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