First time for me, even though I was proudly wearing a Hifa T-shirt a decade ago, a gift from my then girlfriend that turned into my beloved wife. One thing to say first, is that the Harare International Festival of Arts is one of the best festival I've been to, which is a lot to say since I consider myself as type of expert in that domain due to my huge experience gathered in festivals all over the world. Fine, I kinda went into the desert whist in Beira. Lome and Cotonou were not really on the scene neither. But hey, at the end I can say that I haven't been to such a great festival for the last 10 years. Ha.
It has theatre, music, DJ (thumbs up for playing that great remixed tune about the eat a huku satisfaction), and other things for all tastes. 5 days were the city accommodates nearly 1500 performers and artists from all over. We've seen opera, classical music, Korean dancers, Irish folk musicians, and we've missed much much more performers from Senegal, England, France etc. The vibes were great, the organization 100%, just an amazing festival all together.
Next year we'll be there, with some change probably on our program, and lesson learned. For example, kids under 6 (my 4), do not appreciate to sit for 2 hours for a Paris-themed-classical-2-handed-piano-concert, even coming from excellent Dutch performers. The eldest was showing sure signs of boredom, number two snoozed all the way, and I had to get out with number 3 and 4 for recklessness, those little ones preferred to jump up and down a log tree or cuddling in my arms watching the rear end of a police officer instead of listening to Debussy's notes.
Mental note, kiddies need a moving crowd and lots of loud music. They did love the dance moves from the Korean, and went ballistic to the Irish band.
Other mental note, even if it might bring me to sleep in the sofa for the next month, there is no real need to bring a fully equipped 4x4 pram in that festival. To get it in/out the buses, up/down the stairs and realizing that at the end you just have to leave it behind because you are getting hugely unpopular trying to get your way through to the pit with it. Naah doesn't worth it. Kids have 2 legs and if they don't walk they end up preferring to be carried anyway.
So Hifa should be on any one with sense' s bucket list.
One good thing that we also managed to do was to participate to za flash mob. So fun. Lou had the moves right, I had the motivation all right. Nothing else than suddenly popping into a choreography along 6millions other people in front of a bank and a parking in a busy shopping mall, Avondale for the connoisseurs. A well planned Zesa sponsored power-cut helped even those that have been practising in front of their mirrors for weeks but were still a bit unsure about the public thing to join the group. I was absolutely awesome, I do really stand out on videos, and if not, did feel like a true offspring of Michael - Jackson (RIP) and a bollywood star who just won a street dance competition live on the strictly come dancing show. No disrespect for He who gave us thriller and smooth criminal but I was so in the act that I actually was moving like one of the zombies fresh out of the grave, whilst everyone else was wiggling like they were somewhere in Hindustan, accompanying the moves of the exhilarated beauty who let her moustached-free hero know that she might be considering blowing him a kiss 3 hours later, if the setting is right and all the baddies dead.
I should in any case thank the girls that were in front of me for constantly reminding me of the previous correct move.
So Hifa, next year, cool.