Wilson Chipangura, Guest Reporter
HARARE – The first day of LitFest Harare 2021 was more than a success following some top drawer performances from various acts.
LiFest Harare is “an annual international literature carnival, where writers, academics and readers discuss, critique literature.”
The event has grown bigger and better each year and for this year it is being held under the theme ”healing” and will run from 24-27 November 2021.
Artists like Chengeto Maraire Brown, Sekuru Soro, Khadijah Finesse and NAMA award winning poet Sithembile Siqhoza Ndebele (Zingizwanizinja) among others lived up to their billing on day one.
However, the day belonged to one talented poet from Sierra Leone by the name Sai Yans who delivered a vintage poem titled “The Generation” which has received plaudits online.
Day two of the LitFest Harare 2021 began with a Spoken Word workshop hosted by German national Jessy James La Fleur in the morning at 11 am.
The program went into motion from 2pm as the two ceremony directors Moonchild Rye and Afropoetiq opened the session with remarks. Ghanaian national Gameil Tordzro based in Scotland led the Discussion: Stories from the Diaspora session which focused on the question “Does Literature Help in Adapting to Living in the Diaspora?” with South Africa-based author Nobuhle Nyoni also coming through to offer her input.
The discussion was moderated by LitFest Harare member Kudzanai Thondhlana. Zambian author Akashambatwa Mbikusita and Zimbabwean writer-cum-poet Menzi Maseko followed with Book Discussion: The Soul of the Barotse People – A Heritage of Land, Labour, Livelihood and Liberty.
Visual artist Owen Maseko staged a Visual Art performance at 4:10pm while poet Philani Nyoni had a Poetry Interface up to 4:35pm.
The two focused on the aspect of patience during their performance as Gregory Sibanda acted as director. Dr Mary Setrana, a lecturer at University of Ghana moderated a discussion titled “Memory for Healing – Amagugu Centre and Crannog Centre as Sites For Framing The Narratives” which was led by Cultural Policy scholar Butholezwe Nyathi and Crannog Centre director Mike Benson based in Scotland.
A storytelling performance ran from 5:35pm to 5:45pm which touched on the theme of the day “Towards Communal Healing”.
Talented authors Mthulisi Ndlovu (Zimbabwe), Amanda Marufu (Zimbabwe) and Joseph Woods (Ireland) joined Scotland based Tawona Sithole to discuss on “Writing for Peace – Does Sharing Personal Experiences Heal?” which ran from 5:45pm to 6:45pm.
The next interesting discussion on “Reclaiming Stolen Cultural Artefacts and Restitution – Does this Help In National Healing?” followed moderated by Midlands State University lecturer Dr Eve Musvosvi Chandaengerwa.
Professor Shadreck Chirikure (United Kingdom), UNESCO chair Dr Thomas Thondhlana (Great Zimbabwe University) and Innovation specialist Dr Ancilla Nhamo (University of Zimbabwe) joined as discussants.
A documentary of SoxThePoet closed the show for day two. The documentary is about SoxThePoet, a poet from Bulawayo “trying to make a difference through art”.
LitFest Harare 2021 is supported by UNESCO, the University of Glasgow, and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
- stay tuned for day three updates by following us here