HARARE, May 2 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe's annual premier arts and culture festival, the 2017 Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), kicked off on Tuesday, ushering in a week of joy in a country currently facing economic hardship.
HIFA founder and artistic director Emmanuel Bagoro told a press conference Tuesday that different types of performances were lined up for the week-long event, including the scintillating main opening show to be held on Tuesday night.
Local financial institution BancABC is sponsoring the opening show that will feature several artists including Mahube, a collaboration of 12 musicians from four African countries including Zimbabwe.
"There is such a wonderful array of different types of performances in this year's HIFA. There is a lot of establishing of new programs, for example, the writers program. We have a series of short films which is also a new program where film makers are going to be speaking about their work," said Bagoro.
HIFA executive director Maria Wilson told Xinhua that this year's arts jamboree, running for the 17th year, had attracted artists from 25 countries across the globe including from Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Bulgaria and the United States.
After taking a break in 2016, HIFA had come back with a bang in 2017, Wilson said.
In 2016, HIFA organizers departed from the norm and tried to spread the 6-day festival throughout the year but this did not work.
Meanwhile, Wilson lamented that there were no Chinese artists performing at this year's HIFA.
"The Chinese groups are a huge audience drawer. People really want to see them and it's a different culture which is wonderful to see. We hope they will come in 2018," she said.
Wilson said it was pleasing to note that despite the economic challenges in Zimbabwe, HIFA was still holding its own fort.
This year's HIFA was unique in that it was taking place at a time when things were extremely hard in the country, she added.
"With these economic difficulties, Zimbabwean people desperately need what HIFA can bring; the joy, happiness and celebration. Zimbabweans need HIFA more this year and what makes it unique is the incredible feeling of humanity and brotherhood that it brings," she added.
The arts festival will end on May 7.