Top Musician Salif Keita Headlines HIFA

April 10, 2015

Top African afro-pop singer-songwriter, Salif Keita, will be the star performer at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Zimbabwe’s premier arts festival.

The 2015 arts showcase will run from April 28 to May 3 under the theme: “Articulate.” According to a statement by HIFA, the Festival in 2015 is an opportunity for artists and audiences to think creatively, to express ideas clearly, and to communicate a powerful artistic vision.

Born an albino in Djoliba, Mali, Keita is credited with being the “Golden Voice of Africa” for his mellifluous voice. His repertoire of music, which has endeared him to music fans the world over, blends the traditional griot music of his Malian childhood with other West African influences from Guinea, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal, along with influences from Cuba, Spain, and Portugal, and an unmistakably overall Islamic sound.

“The arts can articulate the best aspects of who we are as individuals, as productive and imaginative communities, and as a vital, multi-dimensional nation. We are our words, so we speak; we are our ideas, so we think; we are our communal commitment to being expressive, so we all articulate,” said Manuel Bagorro, HIFA’s artistic director in an interview.

HIFA is arguably the most important and successful annual events on Zimbabwe’s arts calendar. This six-day annual festival showcases the very best of Zimbabwean, regional and international arts and culture in a comprehensive programme of theatre, dance, music, circus, street performance, spoken word, craft and visual arts.

Interspersed between a wide variety of entertainment and performances, there are other activities taking place, which include artistic debates and discussions, skills training workshops, and press conferences.

HIFA brings together socially and culturally disparate groups of Zimbabweans to celebrate the healing and constructive capacity of the arts. The Festival has received recognition for its support of arts and culture in Zimbabwe and is seen as a major contributor to development in this area. In effect, HIFA has been rated as one of the top 10 festivals in the world in a survey carried by CNN.

Hivos Southern Africa Hub is one of the founding funders of HIFA and has been supporting the festival for over a decade. This is year is particularly significant because it marks the end of Hivos’ traditional support to the festival.

One of the highlights of HIFA is the Hivos Poetry Café, which brings together professional and upcoming poets from all over the world.

Hivos supports festivals and cultural spaces to strengthen the cultural landscape, facilitate exchanges between artists and reach wider audiences.

Festivals and cultural spaces provide an ideal platform for cultural expression, public debate and cultural exchange both nationally and internationally, while offering artists the opportunity to increase their income and distribute their creative products.