Popular southern African music, sport and culture festival Zimfest looks set to make a strong return to the London festival scene with a new venue and a fresh new impetus.
Adored as a summer highlight for diasporian southern Africans and their Brit hosts alike, Zimfest celebrates life outdoors through its diverse music and cultural offers, sports tourneys and African cuisines with the famed traditional braai (BBQ) at its heart.
Zimfest coordinator, Hilton Mendelsohn, said: “This development is a mark of the festival’s growth as an event and a popular fixture on the London calendar.
“Apart from the change of venue, the festival’s range of entertainment on offer will be enhanced, with a bigger and better kid’s corner, more competitive and social sport. We will also have art installations and a music line up with artists from Zimbabwe and around the world making up an innovative and exciting programme on the day.”
This year Zimfest has found a new home at Grasshoppers Rugby Club after sealing a partnership with Western Union, UK Sports Club and EAT Festival. The event has grown to become a fixture on the London calendar, as well as spreading to South Africa, Australia and recently Zimbabwe.
Hilton said: ”Zimfest started life as a massive Zimbabwean piss-up party to raise funds for the community back home, as well as a “therapy gig” to drown a few sorrows as at the time the majority of attendees were forced to leave Zimbabwe for political or economic reasons. The first Zimfest was also a statement of resilience and unity culminating in a huge group hug and a thunderous if somewhat out of tune rendition of Nkosi Sikeleli Africa/God bless Africa.”
For the first time in its history, the event will this year take place over two days with Zimfest being held on Saturday 18th August while EAT Festival will cap the weekend of festivities the following day.
Saturday’s programme will kick off with both full contact and touch rugby tournaments while Netball will make its Zimfest debut. All of the sport will be organised by The UK Sports Club, with the Rugby pre-season cup attracting some of London’s best clubs.
Music as always will be the centre piece of the event. The main stage will feature strongly African inspired music with highlights Afro Funk band Thabani lead by the mercurial Zimbabwean singer Tee Nyoni, bass and drum duo Mashasha and Sam, acclaimed Nigerian Afrobeat and Soul singer Wunmi, South African Jazz legends Pinise Saul and the Lucky Ranku Band and the remarkable talents of South African born singer songwriter Frankie Rudolf. Other bands include rockers Kamikaze Test Pilots from Zimbabwe, The Spindle Sect from South Africa and hip hop acts Team Kontroversial and Boyz Retonaz.
Zimfest’s popular dance arena will be headlined by Londoner Zepherin Saint of the globally acclaimed Tribe Records, rising star in the Deephouse scene Djeff performing under the same label who will be the first Angolan ever to perform at Zimfest. The Tribe sets will be backed up by Zimbabwe’s Rob Macson and Mixolis. Pretoria born and London based South African Samantha Blackburn rated as one to watch in a recent copy of Mixmag will make her Zimfest debut.
As always Zimfest will feature all the favourites in terms of Southern African food and drink as well as a host of other culinary delights from around the globe providing a mouth watering array of meals to choose from. The festival will also feature the usual market with a wide array of items to purchase and charitable causes to support.
Tickets to Zimfest can be purchased at www.zimfestlive.com and the event welcomes all to celebrate Zimbabwe and Africa in the heart of the UK.