HIFA 2014 – Day 4

5 05 2014

Friday was Day 4, also known as Golden Pilsner Day (a local brand of beer). I re-attended the DFC Baobab Shadows to get some photos that had eluded me the first time around. That done I watched Short & Sweet, a series of 5 short plays by local writers (though one was actually impromptu). Coming Out by Blessing Hungwe about a son’s clash with his father was excellent. What are the Odds was a bit Monty Pythonesque but not bad. I did not care for City Angel or A Woman Called Carol about a prostitute and social mores respectively. The World Ten Minutes at a Time was an impromptu show by Kevin Hansen and 3 others. Genuinely funny, it went down well.

I Wish Her Well by Norwegian contemporary dance theatre Panta Rei was beautifully danced at REPS. In two acts, it told the stories of 4 women closely related to the dancers in the first act and the second act was based on the diaries of a teenage woman now 82.

Any Other World was a dance production by local (and new) 8 Count Dance Company. Colourful, energetic and fun! They won a NAMA (National Association of Music and Arts) award earlier this year.





The election part 2 – where to now?

7 08 2013

As Helen said to me on Saturday; “If it’s such a landslide victory for ZANU-PF where are the celebrating crowds?”. They certainly weren’t on the street in Harare. Or anywhere else that I have heard. A client coming through the airport on Sunday night said the officials there were in “shell-shock”. The stock market, that perennial barometer of things economic, reacted on Monday by dropping 11% in value. Austin muttered at the gym that once again we’d failed to grasp the scale of what ZANU-PF was capable of doing. German Embassy officials I spoke to on Saturday commented that it was a blatantly fraudulent election and yes, it would be declared fraudulent in a court of law. But perhaps not a Zimbabwean one. The USA, UK and EC have described the elections as deeply flawed.

As I type this on Wednesday morning 2 ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) officials have resigned in disgust.

Jacob Zuma, the South Africa president, has endorsed the results as “free and fair” as has the African Union observer team. Other African observers have declared various degrees of reservations on the veracity of the outcome.

Botswana is asking for an audit (their president, Ian Kharma, and ours have never seen eye-to-eye).

ZANU-PF are crowing that they “have a mandate from the people” to change the constitution with their 2/3 parliamentary majority and will be enforcing the 51% indigenous ownership (that means black Zimbabweans) of all companies. Hence the stock market slump.

Most Zimbabweans I have met are continuing as normal. Yesterday I watched as a group of older women bought roses in the next-door nursery.

My doctor said she’d not prescribed any more Prozac than normal.

On Saturday night I attended the first graduation of the current Dance Foundation Course (DFC) for which I am a trustee. Politics could not have been further from anyone’s mind. The students had great fun showing off their new skills, proud families celebrated and even the guest of honour, the US Ambassador relaxed a little. So to answer the question in the title; I suppose we will just wait and see as we have been doing for the last 45 years.





HIFA 2013 – day 5

4 05 2013

A day of dance – mainly. The National Ballet put on When They Are Gone. Lots of colour and fun with a serious message highlighting the plight of the desperately endangered rhino. A great performance from and amateur dance group and completely choreographed in-house. Encore! (This show will run again at REPS soon – a chance to see it if you missed it at HIFA)

Dance Foundation Course put on their first show after only 9 months training! Seriously energetic, they seemed to revel in the dancing. The second half of the show was some aerial ballet on a rope by Belgian artistes les Cliquets

Last show of the day was Acoustic Night Allstars, a show by a group of local musicians supported by the German Embassy in Harare.





HIFA 2013 – day 1

30 04 2013

HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) 2013 started today.  I had a relatively quiet day photographing 3 shows.





HIFA 2012 – Day 1

1 05 2012

HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) kicked off today. This year was particularly difficult, not only due to the dire financial situation of the country and a lack of sponsors/partners, but also due to government interference. Anyway, I resumed my usual role of a photographer for the daily news-sheet and was given carte blanche today to get on

with it. I started with Big Boys Don’t Dance written and performed by Bradley and Ash Searle.

Big Boys Don’t Dance

The South African brothers play brothers whose bachelor party goes wrong with hilarious results. The upset a few stereotypes of male dancers along the way too.

But they certainly can dance!

I stayed at the same venue for Live Vibe, a mix of various hip-hop dance crews. Some were OK,  others not. I don’t mind hip-hop at top level but this was not that good.

Live Vibe – one of the better dances

Live Vibe – a local dance crew

Between the Lines was a collaboration between Tumbuka, a local dance company and Belgian based director Harold George.

Between the Lines

Between the Lines

I was a bit late getting to the recital hall where Nicky Crow and Kymia Kermani were playing contemporary classical music so had to go for the “atmosphere” type of photograph. Contemporary classical is not my forte, I suspect one has to be a bit musical to appreciate it but the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Nicola Crowe – the atmospheric shot!

Ricardo Coelho and Cristina Castro of Pe na Terra

Portuguese group Pe na Terra were sold out at the Global Stage and with good reason. Vibrant was the key word and they really put on a show of “jazzed up” Portuguese music.

Pe na Terra – all but the drummer

Lead singer Cristina Castro was extraordinarily charismatic and very photogenic to boot!

Pe na Terra

It is going to take a while for my ears to recover but I was very pleased to see that the lighting has been vastly improved from last year – I used to dread taking photos at this venue.