Shoko Festival 2016 Diary

Shoko Festival 2016 Diary

The Harare International Festival of the Arts was very special to me and mine. Since it was first introduced, I have only missed one edition, and not for lack of trying.

It was the one week in every year when we could forget all our troubles and immerse ourselves in the sights, sounds, food and drink of an international arts festival.

HIFA became so important that friends abroad would schedule it a year in advance, and there’d be excitement and discussions over who the biggest act would be each year. My wife even fled a posting in Zambia once, just to be around for HIFA.

Since the untimely demise of HIFA, Zimbabwe’s arts landscape has appeared rather bleak – it occupied a special place not just in our wallets and leave schedules, but in our hearts.

With such a yawning gap in this year’s calendar of festivities, Shoko Festival has stepped up and is improving with each edition.

Putting aside my own personal and professional relationships with Magamba Network, and donning the more comfortable hat of a music-loving, whisky-swilling delinquent, Shoko is becoming an increasingly exciting feature on the Harare arts landscape.

This is my own little diary of Shoko Festival 2016, held on the 23rd and 24th of September in Harare, at the Museum of Human Sciences and Harare City Library.

There will be some gaps in the timeline – being a judge of the Hub Awards again, I did manage to spend some time at the Hub Unconference held at the Library, but never actually managed to make it to the festival venues anytime before lunchtime, on either day.

I also say “either day” because I didn’t manage to visit Chitungwiza on the Sunday, for obvious reasons involving Jah Prayzah and a well-stocked cooler-box.

Lunch

23 September, 2016

Lunch

So, it begins. After a bit of official government business, I head to the City Library to check in, then over to the Museum for lunch. I bump into Comrade Fatso, who offers to buy me lunch. I agree, obviously, because colonialism reparations. There’s all sorts of youthful things happening in the Brickhill Dome. Schoolkids doing things. Good vibes. Bad

The Hub

23 September, 2016

The Hub

Talks, discussion panels and pitches for the Hub Awards. Lots of interesting stuff, and a few engaging pitches. Picking a winner in each category will be a tough job, with so much talent on show. Related

House of Hunger Poetry Slam

23 September, 2016

In keeping with the norms and standards expected from a) a festival, and b) a poetry jam, a few of the participants appear to be operating under the influence of certain herbacious and mildly hallucinogenic substances. Hilarious. Related

Sunset Acoustic

23 September, 2016

Sunset Acoustic

If I wanted to watch a pretty girl dance around in short shorts, I’d have waited til Ammara tomorrow. Expected Tamy to be acoustic guitar music, after what I’d been told, but she had other ideas. A couple of great songs, performance just a bit off. Thank god I’d crashed the cocktail party, so I had somewhere to flee to. Vee Mukarati came after and redeemed the slot like the pro he is. Related

Comedy

23 September, 2016

Great job all round, with a sterling performance from Zambezi News in particular. Were I a rapper, I’d never wanna get on their bad side. Mandla seemed to wanna be like Clive Chigubu, though. Related

Tehn Diamond

23 September, 2016

Tehn Diamond

Came on at the perfect time, that kismetic conflunce of cooler-boxes, and killed it. As expected. Obviously. Related

AKA

23 September, 2016

AKA

Social media will tell you that AKA is a this, a that, a who and a what. Maybe he is, I don’t know the guy. If you pay attention to South African Twitter, you’ll think he’s the national clown. This performance, however, made me realise that the guy is actually famous for a reason. He’s good at his job. I was entertained, which is pretty fucking difficult. Related

Winky D

24 September, 2016

Winky D

Ninja President. Gaffa. Dancehall Igwe. Godfather of ZimDancehall. Legend in our lifetime. Related

Hub Awards

24 September, 2016

Hub Awards

Meeting with fellow judges Vivienne Marara and Caroline O’Donovan. Already the dumbest person in the squad, but tried to make intelligent-sounding noises. Vibrant discussion, results seem legit, then off to Old Georgians for the rugby. Related

Bryan K

24 September, 2016

Bryan K

Bryan Kadengu is a special talent, and although I was a little wobbly after the previous night’s activities, and a few silly doubles at OGs, I enjoyed his set while I fought with the World’s Toughest Pork Chop (don’t ask). Related

Comedy

24 September, 2016

Donovan Goliath is actually pretty fucking brilliant. Had never seen him perform before, and I was pretty damn impressed. Some jokes were low-hanging fruit for us drunkards. I, personally, was so wobbly I had to sit in a chair. Ugh. I’m such an amateur. Related

Jah Prayzah

24 September, 2016

Jah Prayzah

Jah Prayzah, the man of the moment. No longer as wobbly, after an hour in a chair, I was dancing and marching along to every song. Everything was on point, the band, the outfits, the vocals, the … vibe. I wish him all the money on Earth! Related

Ammara Brown

24 September, 2016

As if my black Nikes weren’t already brown enough (ha!), I then had to dance the kongonya. There also may, or may not, have been a couple of Mukoko High Kicks. Thank lawd for knee-braces. Related

Brilliant times. Long live Shoko Festival, and thanks to everyone involved in making it happen.

Forever.

2 Comments

  • Amard

    29 September, 2016 at 15:19 pm Reply

    Your commentary is just the awesomest shaaaziii

  • Joe Black

    6 October, 2016 at 09:08 am Reply

    I’m fool of sheet, my friend

Leave a Reply