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Zodwa Wabantu attendance still not clear

by Staff reporter
05 Sep 2017 at 05:32hrs | Views
THE Minister of Hospitality and Tourism, Walter Mzembi, has urged people to converge on Harare for the ongoing Harare International Carnival as his ministry, together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority prepare to attract up to three million people at the carnival street party on Saturday.

The 10-day carnival, which kicked off last Friday with a Carnival Bira in Domboshava, will culminate in a street party in the capital's city centre where 26 countries and over 100 diverse groups from across the country are set to showcase their cultures. Regional and local artistes including Oliver 'Tuku' Mtukudzi, Sandra Ndebele, Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Soul Jah Love, South Africa's Oskido, Uhuru, Babes Wodumo and Busiswa as well as Jamaica's Beenie Man are some of the artistes who will also take part in the street party.

But before the street party, a series of block parties across the city are already ongoing with people being merry. Every day is now a weekend as the City of Harare, a carnival partner, as well as the ZRP have allowed people to imbibe in the city centre where block parties are being held in order to set the carnival mood.

Mzembi yesterday said he was glad the carnival was back this year after it was not held last year due to lack of funding, thanking headline sponsor, Justice Maphosa through his Big Time Strategic Group for coming to the rescue. He said the carnival was an important event as it moves people away from their daily struggles.

"The carnival is back and there's no going back evidenced by its first three days where all the events that were held were a resounding success. I'd like to thank all the local and international groups who are participating as well as the carnivalists (carnival goers) for their support because without them, there'll be no carnival to talk about.

"I'd like to encourage all the people out there to be part of this carnival, a platform bringing us together to celebrate our oneness and unity as aptly captured in the theme for this year: One love, one unity and our pride," said Mzembi.

The minister thanked the Government for believing in the event and supporting it as well as new platinum sponsor — Big Time Strategic Group for rescuing the event.

"Apart from Government funding, this event has been made possible through the adoption of a public private partnership which saw the coming on board of Big Time Strategic Group from South Africa as the headline sponsor. On behalf of Government, I'd like to pay homage to them for their invaluable support for sharing the same vision with us."

He said he was optimistic that Government funds would yield results.

"As Government, we're optimistic that the carnival will yield returns in the next five to 10 years hence the reason the project has continued to receive major support from Government."

While he evaded talking about South African entertainer, Zodwa Wabantu's ban from performing at the carnival, Mzembi said he would be presenting the Harare International Carnival to Government today during Cabinet. Zodwa's appearance hangs in the balance as conflicting statements have been issued regarding her visit to Harare later this week.

To ensure that the carnival attracts a lot of people, Mzembi has implored the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe to ensure that hoteliers as well as key service providers do not take advantage of domestic and international tourists who will be in the country for the event by overcharging them and instead come up with special and affordable packages that will entice them.

Once again, the minister urged carnival organisers to consider spreading the carnival to other parts of the country as he wants locals to take time out and have fun.

"I'd like to see this carnival concept celebrated, if not simultaneously, across the country in various capitals and districts then it shall follow the Cuban example where it moves from one province to the other."

Source - chronicle