Manuel Bagorro
Manuel Bagorro, HIFA Founder
BornManuel Bagorro
EducationHartmann House Prep School and St. George's College
  • Musician
  • Festival Curator
Years active1999 to present

Manuel Bagorro is a Zimbabwean festival organiser, concert pianist and the founder of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

Manuel Bagorro who was born in Zimbabwe of a Portuguese father and an Irish mother.[1] He was educated at Hartmann House Prep School and St. George's College. He grew up loving music and studied music formally at the Zimbabwe College of Music. He went abroad in the 1980s to pursue his career as a concert pianist and during his 15 year stay in the UK he won a number of awards and performed for, among others, President Robert Mugabe, Nelson Mandela and the Queen, Elizabeth II.[2]

Founding HIFA

He enjoyed playing at festivals because of the rare opportunity of meeting and sharing his talents with other artists.

I developed a keen interest in festivals and especially in the organisation of such events. I wanted to produce one for my country, Zimbabwe, and so the idea of HIFA was born.[2]

Manuel Bagorro served as Artistic Director for the festival for 14 years as the 2012 event started, he announced that he would be stepping down and taking on a role as an board member.[3] Bagorro said that he was spending a lot of time out of the country and that he would provide better value generating interest and engaging participation internationally. HIFA later appointed Gavin Peter to take over.

Bagorro however returned as Artistic Director for the 2014 festival and HIFA squashed suggestions that the return was due to Gavin Peter not performing well enough in the 2013 edition.[4]

Bagorro said in 2012 that HIFA is not his source of livelihood and that he earns his living from international arts consultancy. He said HIFA was his contribution to the country.

Hifa is my service to my country; we all have ways in which we can contribute to our country in whatever field we find ourselves, in whatever way we can, however small it may be. Hifa is my small contribution to the monumental efforts that others put in for the benefit of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans.[3]

Festival and Arts Consultant

Bagorro has been an arts consultant for organisations in New York City as well as serving as the artistic director of a music festival in Maine called the Bay Chamber Concerts.[5]


  1. Art imitates violent life at the festival that dares to defy Mugabe, Zimbabwe Situation (republished from 'The Times ( )', Published:5 May 2007, Retrieved:20 April 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 HIFA Team , HIFA Official Website - via Internet Archive, Retrieved:20 April 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 Manuel Bagorro steps down, The Herald, Published:24 April 2012, Retrieved:20 April 2014
  4. Hifa clarifies Bagorro's return, Daily News, Published:27 February 2014, Retrieved:20 April 2014
  5. Music - Bay Chamber Concerts, Bay Chamber Concerts, Retrieved:20 April 2014