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City of Kings celebrates Bulawayo Day

by Staff reporter
01 Jun 2021 at 08:03hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to officially open the Bulawayo Arts Festival (Baf) on Thursday during the Urban Heritage Tour and Eco-Tourism Programme and the Creative and Cultural Industries Conference.

The Baf will be held from today and will end on Friday under the theme, We Own Winter (WOW).

Today is Bulawayo Day, celebrating the city being declared a town 127 years ago and the day will kick-start the festival programme.

Bulawayo Day is a day to promote everything about Bulawayo and celebrate the diversity of local cultural expressions and heritage.

In May 2019, the Bulawayo Cultural Affairs Office and Nhimbe Trust lobbied the Bulawayo City Council to declare June 1, the day of Bulawayo and council acceded to the request.

BAF was birthed after the launch of the National Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy in 2019 by President Mnangagwa during the Cultural and Creative Industries Indaba held at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel under the theme: Leveraging Arts, Culture and Heritage for Enhanced Productivity, Job Creation and Economic Growth.

There were two festivals that were spoken about on that day, a National Arts Festival and the Bulawayo Arts Festival.

On Thursday, President Mnangagwa will lead a high-powered delegation as he officiates at the Urban Heritage Tour and Eco Tourism Programme and the Creative and Cultural Industries Conference.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) executive director, Mr Nicholas Moyo said it was an important visit by President Mnangagwa after the last meeting in 2019.

"It's good that the President is returning to the city to officiate at something that was cemented at his meeting (in 2019) with the artistes.

He said then that Government was committed to ensure that the Arts, Culture and Creative Industries were at the centre of economic development," said Mr Moyo.

He said the Bulawayo Arts Festival was being held at the most opportune time.

"We see the Bulawayo Arts Festival coming at the right time when Government is working on reviving
industries in Bulawayo, building the economy around local resources. The festival is therefore playing a critical role in the economic recovery by creating a platform for artistes," said Mr Moyo.

He said the Bulawayo Arts Festival had taken a national outlook.

"The festival is on a growth trajectory and has already taken a national outlook hence the coming of the President to officiate. This is because they have included artistes from across Zimbabwe. They aren't saying that it's Bulawayo arts Festival and its only for Bulawayo artistes but are saying Bulawayo is a cosmopolitan province and anyone is welcome," said Mr Moyo.

The BAF team working with NACZ officers visited the country's provinces to identify diverse content for the festival. This opened up the festival to the nation at large and will see artistes from Plumtree, Gwanda, Mutare, Murewa, Harare, Kwekwe, Hwange and Victoria Falls taking part at this year's edition.

The Bulawayo City Council has been running an online campaign to celebrate Bulawayo Day through the hashtag I love Bulawayo.

Last year, the BAF was held virtually due to Covid-19.

The event was viewed online in at least 45 countries and the ultimate goal this year is to reach all corners of the globe and showcase local art and culture

The BAF will be hybrid this year, meaning that there will be shows online and others for a limited live audience in adherence to Covid-19 regulations.

Source - chroncile

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