Having endured a long-dreaded winter in the past year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the resultant regulations, we believe it was about time we were wowed by artistes from all walks of life, to show us that they still know their craft, and to give us a sneak preview of what to expect should things get back to normal, or even under this new normal.
And what better way to showcase talent than to celebrate the coming of age of the city, that came into being 127 years ago. Bulawayo, and the rest of the country, and the world is reverberating to the sounds of different arts genres around the region as we celebrate Bulawayo. And the catchy, We Own Winter(WOW), under which the festival is being held couldn’t have been more apt.
Bulawayo is being celebrated in its totality as a melting pot, the cultural centre that has evolved over generations tapping into different cultures to produce a product that has captivated the world, as shown by the reception of foreign audiences of performances by local artistes. We are also witnessing the packaging of an inviting tourism product.
We applaud those behind the Bulawayo Arts Festival, and point out that in documenting our history and taking pride in our heritage, we at the same time create history. We are even happier that the highest office in the land of Zimbabwe also appreciates the importance of the arts sector, its unifying potential, its economic potential and likely contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.
It is such festivals around the world that have drawn our artistes and kept them busy on tours over the years. We believe we also need an arts calendar that recognises the importance of the arts and keeps the artistes at work. This will mean that authorities should look into and refine funding models while also paying attention to the geographic spread in terms of the artistes.
We realise that with Baf the organisers went far and wide in the region to scout for talent. Imagine that on a national scale and the results of such work as we up our game in terms of competitiveness. It is our hope that since not all our people will be able to access the performances for the duration of Baf, the different performances will be packaged in other formats so that they not only market our artists but break the audience disconnect over the years where some of our artistes are appreciated more outside our borders than they are in the country. For artistes we say let your creative roar wow audiences while those creative juices continue to weave yet another cultural gem drawing from our diverse yet complementary heritage. Halala Bulawayo!