AFTER the cold and the dark of the winter season, signs of a new life begin to emerge as the spring season, a glamorous time in nature, is upon us.
The sights, the sounds and the scent from the atmosphere bring hope and optimism as “more” light and warmth encourage unfurling leaves, not forgetting the colourful blooms.
Spring, which translates to Intwasa in IsiNdebele, is the time to start again in life, it’s an immaculate period to “re-ignite” the burning fire of hope in one’s life.
All the finest moments of weather and nature elements of spring, are mostly experienced in September, a month that saw the birth of Intwasa Arts Festival Ko Bulawayo back in 2005.
Local arts creatives and administrators decided to come together and establish Intwasa, the second biggest festival in Zimbabwe, in a bid to develop the city’s arts fraternity and market Bulawayo as a cultural hub.
The last week of September is of significance to Intwasa as it marks the main dates of a week-long of music, dance, theatre, literature, film and exhibitions in the city of kings.
As this year’s edition is set to start on 21 ending on 25 September, Intwasa will be celebrating 17 years of existence, a momentous of survival despite the previous and this year’s edition being greatly affected by Covid-19.
As we look back, Intwasa is proud to have worked with a number of artistes who featured on the festival and continue to conquer the world stages.
These include world-famed Iyasa, Nobuntu, Umkhathi Theatre Works, Vusa Mkhaya, Nkwali, Sandra Ndebele, Madlela Skhobokhobo, Memory Kumbota and a huge number of talented sons and daughters who emerged from Bulawayo.
Creatives who passed on are also celebrated, as we chew nostalgic bones.
Names like the late Makokoba-bred stage actress-cum-musician Beater Mangethe, Taurai Muswere (who became famous for playing a lead role on ZBC drama Thuba Lami), Yengiwe “MaMbatha” Ngwenya and rapper Cal_vin, are also registered on previous books of Intwasa.
The spokesperson for Intwasa, Nkululeko Nkala, said they were grateful that the festival was affiliated to some of the city’s celebrated artistes.
“There are a lot of people that have graced Intwasa stages that have gone on to showcase around the world. You talk of creatives like the late Cal_vin, Beater (Mangethe), the globetrotting Nobuntu, Jeys Marabini and Iyasa as some of the highlights.
“To claim credit will be something else, but we can claim to have been around for 17 years trying to make sure that there is a platform for Bulawayo artistes to showcase their talents,” said Nkala.
It can’t be taken away that the catastrophic pandemic of Covid-19 has negatively affected the arts sector in Zimbabwe and beyond.
However, Nkala said there had managed to survive through the dark hard times because of their benevolent sponsors.
“I give credit to our loyal sponsors for believing in the brand Intwasa for all these years. It’s hard for everyone out there economically mainly because of the pandemic, but we have managed to sail through because of our sponsors,” said Nkala.
Due to lockdown measures and regulations, Intwasa will be run as a hybrid festival through the showcasing of art on different digital and social media platforms.
There are other shows that will be held physically only for a few numbers of spectators that are fully vaccinated for Covid-19.
Shows that will feature in this year’s edition are Date Night (short film), Intwasa fashion show, social media workshop for creatives and filmmaking masterclass among other shows.
Umkhathi Theatre Works’ Footprints, a flawless musical traditional dance show that hinges on African performance that include poetry, chants, storytelling and rituals, is said to be the major highlight of the festival.