This year’s edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) is set to explode to life from the 1st to the 6th of May 2018 with 250 visiting artists from 33 countries expected to jet in to the country to participate in what will surely be an unforgettable lifetime experience.

Officially opening this year’s face of the festival to journalists in Harare, the HIFA Associate Executive Director and Media Expert, Tafadzwa Simba highlighted that the event would be just like all other annual celebrations, which have a flavour that savours the flesh and spirit, coupled with the euphoria of the new dispensation.

‘’Like always, we live to score on our goals of bringing the spirit of culture through promoting arts, not only in Zimbabwe but also in Southern Africa and all over the world. The public must cherish our arts flavour and this makes us the best in the Southern African region. For sure, we deliver the best in covering distinctive artistic genres with a taste of unique skills gained through experience and training.

‘’Like always, we are friends of the media, therefore information dissemination remains critical as we bring the community closer to us, linking it with artists to promote arts and culture in the country ‘’.

HIFA which encompasses around 14 venues in the city, covers music, theatre, drama, comedy, fashion, spoken word poetry, youth programming, dance, applied arts, design and visual arts. This is meant to open up Zimbabwe for the arts business and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product through foreign currency brought by the visitors during the festival.

Speaking at the same occasion, Jonas Mashosho, the Old Mutual Chief Executive said the corporate world must focus on economic development through supporting arts and culture, which are vital pillars in supporting economic development.

Mushosho said HIFA was not a profit making organization but a Trust monitored by members of the Zimbabwe business community to foster the spirit of accountability and transparency that are vital values for economic growth.

‘’Yes, HIFA thrives as well on values of transparency and accountability. This attracts partnerships from the corporate world, diplomatic corps, donors, local and visiting media, local and foreign artists and the public. This can be panacea in developing our own economy because the country is fostering policies that attract foreign investments so that we can boost the country’s economy, he said.

Maria Wilson, the HIFA Executive Director said the agenda was to bring people together in social cohesion. This is important because it builds up on values of peace and unity, which contribute to the development of the economy.

‘’The people of Zimbabwe are capable of achieving their goals when they put their differences aside and work in unison towards economic growth and development. However, like always, values of transparency and accountability lead us all the way to victory,” Wilson said.

HIFA attracts people of all races, creed and colour from all age groups, gender, various political and social persuasions. The spirit of inclusivity exhibited at HIFA builds strength in fighting and differences among people.

HIFA is arguably one of the largest arts festivals in the SADC region. Muchadeyi Masunda, the HIFA Board of Trustees Chairman said it creates employment to around 1200 artists and support staff around the country.

‘’HIFA offers employment to the public and youths and to about 1200 artists of which there is no doubt economic growth and development is inevitable though the country is facing challenges. It must be noted that such annual events are a strongholds in lifting the economy out of its current hardships.’’