The Chimanimani Arts Festival is an annual festival that was established in 1998 with the aim of nurturing and developing emerging arts and is held in the Manicaland province. The fete prides itself in being the largest free entry arts carnival in the country.
Goals Of the Festival
Among the many goals of the festival is the desire to promote and encourage emerging forms of art in the country. They also try to create employment for the unemployed youth by encouraging them to take the arts as a profession, bringing public attention to topical issues such as gender and the scourge of HIV and AIDS.
The festival is a non profit making enterprise and relies on donor funding and contributions from several embassies as well as Zimbabwean companies. Some of the major donors to the Chimanimani Arts Festival include Hivos, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe and African Distillers who have over the years provided the much needed funding to the festival.
As with many other festivals, the Chimanimani Arts Festival also uses themes to highlight the various goals and aspirations influencing the festival they will be running that particular year. Some of the themes that have been used over the years include " youth and culture in harmony", “One Love, One Nation — Peace” among others.
Career and Skills Development
One of the key objectives of the festival is to develop the careers of upcoming artists engaging in various forms of art be it painting, acting, music or theatre. For musicians, they are provided with a chance to perform alongside seasoned artists such as Selma Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah Sulumani Chimbetu just to mention a few. Some of the emerging musicians that have been given a chance to perform at the event include Josh Meck, Jusa Mupostori and House of Stone. This also gives these artists a chance to perform in front of a much bigger crowd and allows the patrons to familiarise themselves with the music of upcoming artists who do not get as much airplay.
The festival also endeavors to develop other forms of art besides music. The 2010 edition of the fete held workshops for creative writing, theatre, poetry and storytelling. Workshops of this nature are also facilitated by experts in the respective fields such as David Mungoshi, Memory Chirere and Ethel Kabwato. Other stakeholders in the event like Culture Fund also made workshop presentations on how artistes can access funding, they also used informal discussions to inform artistes on various issues.
Highlight of Recent Festivals in Retrospect
The festival has seen some of Zimbabwe's top artistes performing at the event. One of the star studded festivals was the 2008 edition in which artistes like Oliver Mtukudzi, Andy Brown, Victor Kunonga Nicholas Zachariah and Willom Tight headlined the event. Other editions were also graced by foreign based arts groups. The 2010 edition saw Barcelona based Spanish street performers Pa lo Q'Sea who used mythology, tradition, ritual elements and legends to realize a contemporary ’Fiesta” featuring recyclable large puppets, stilt-walkers, unicyclists, jugglers, drummers and acrobats.