Midlands Arts and Culture fest unviels programme

By Martin Chemhere – The Midlands Arts and Culture Festival (MACfest) 2010 programme was recently unveiled by the organizers and reveals exciting and diverse activities aimed at impressing both artists and culture enthusiasts. It will be staged from 29 September to 2 October around the city and surrounding areas.

Hloseni Arts in performance

Describing itself as “a place of arts and culture where people meet, explore and create music, dance, theatre, drama, literary arts, visual arts, film and cultural heritage” it promises to reflect that premise, given the cross section of represented activities.

The festival’s rich programme opens with a parade through Gweru City Centre of Drum Majorettes and Traditional Dancers. Also on offer will be cultural tours to Dhlodhlo (Danan’ombe) Ruins, Nalatale Ruins, National Museum, among others.

The programme includes music, cultural tours, theatre, parades, exhibitions and story telling and reading. Sungura musician Tongai Moyo leads music performances also featuring other groups like Hloseni Arts, Soul Panorama, Afro Vision, and a host of traditional music groups.

More music will be by Soul Panorama, a high energy eight piece band, will perform their music – a vivid mix of genres, bringing together traditional Zimbabwean poly rhythms with modern southern African flavors, and rhumba with a jazz feel to make a highly listenable and danceable Afro-fusion style.

A performance by Midlands State University based Afro Jazz Group Afro Vision will see on stage a band using traditional instruments (mbira, marimba, hosho and ngoma), backed by guitars, keyboard and drums, all overlaid with vocal harmonies and energetic stage work.

Scintillating and tantalising stand up poet, actor and comedian, Masvingo based Tatenda Chinoda, popularly known as “Dhege” makes his debut at MACfest 2010. Dhege is no stranger to the big stage having performed at HIFA 2009, BAFA 2009 and Dzimbahwe Arts Festival among others.

Virginia Phiri will present story readings. She was born in Mzilikazi Township, Bulawayo and now lives and works in Harare. She is well known for her three thought-provoking books Desperate, Destiny and Highway Queen.

In recent years, festivals have taken another level where the different cultural expressions have been showcased. Many organisations have used the festival approach as a means to bring people together in order to pass on certain messages. Festivals have become a platform to educate, inform, celebrate, and indeed unite the people.

The Midlands Arts & Culture Festival (MACfest) seeks to provide a platform for artists and cultural practitioners to come together and showcase their products in a carnival and celebratory mood. This is an annual multi-disciplinary festival encompassing music, dance, drama/theatre, visual arts, heritage exhibition and cultural tours.

Gweru (formerly Gwelo) is a city near the centre of Zimbabwe. It has a population of about 200 000 people, making it the fourth largest city in Zimbabwe. It is the Capital City of the Midlands Province. Gweru was founded in 1894 by Dr. Leander Starr Jameson.