Zimbabwe Cancels Flagship Arts Fest Over Economic Crisis


This year’s edition of Zimbabwe’s flagship Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) has been called off due to the social and economic crisis, organisers announced Friday.

“HIFA will not stage the event in 2019,” they said in a statement, adding “the decision has been taken after much thought, soul-searching and discussion”.

“Zimbabwe is dealing with many important issues, both social and economic,” it said.

Zimbabwe has been battered by years of economic misery and in recent months been roiled by high inflation, a currency crisis and shortages of basic commodities.

Annual inflation shot to 56.90 per cent up from 42.09 per cent in December 2018, according to official statistics released Friday, the highest increase in a decade. Economists say in reality prices have gone up more than three-fold in recent months.

“It is obvious that the nation is seized with incredibly momentous and all-pervading matters that naturally, inevitably and clearly affect the feasibility and viability of any undertaking whatsoever and that the full focus of the nation should be on those issues,” HIFA director Simba Tafadzwa told AFP.

“It is in those conditions and under those circumstances that HIFA is unable to responsibly commit to staging an event that is feasible, viable and a service to artists, audiences and the nation at large.”

Founded in 1999, HIFA was first cancelled in 2002 and then abandoned again in 2016 as Zimbabwe’s economy crumbled and left desperate locals unable to withdraw money from banks.

Despite many sponsors pulling out, the following two years, festival organisers revived the event which is normally held in Harare’s central park.

HIFA is Zimbabwe’s largest and one of Africa’s top arts and cultural festivals bringing together local, regional and international artists, and draws huge audiences.

In previous years HIFA has brought together international artists including Malian singer Habib Koite, Portuguese Sara Tavares, Penelope Jane Powers from South Africa and a host of local performers such as the late Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi who died last month.

Arts and Culture: FG Urges Youths To Utilise BOI Grants

Nigerians, especially youths, have been asked to take advantage of the N300m grant which the Bank of Industry has promised to fund the business of arts and craft in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who gave this challenge says the grant is capable of generating two hundred thousand jobs in the sector.

The bank of industry at the weekend signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Council for Arts and Culture, to support Nigerians who are in the arts and craft business to grow their businesses.

According to Mohammed, the MoU, can ensure the growth and development of the craft industries.

He said, “I am reliably informed that top on the list of benefits that will accrue from this landmark MoU is that it will create about 200,000 jobs. This is indeed epochal and is in line with one of the cardinal programmes of this administration, which is job creation and empowerment.

“The MoU will also act as a catalyst for the development of the country’s craft industries, create a finance window and make available loanable funds to be accessed by all in the arts and craft industry, as well as assist in capacity building for this people.

“In a nutshell, the MoU will enable producers of cultural products and services to work towards the attainment of global practices in the packaging of our cultural products to enable them compete favourably in the global markets and earn our artists a decent living.”

Arts, Entertainment, Considered Major Economic Boosters

arts, entertainment, economyIn the face of the current economic crisis that Nigeria is facing, arts, entertainment and recreation have been said to increase the nation’s GDP by 0.23% in the second quarter of 2016, although lower than the 0.26% contributed in the first quarter of the year.

This is according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The movie industry which started merely as a means of expression and entertainment, is said to have employed over two million people in 20 years.

This is only a fraction of the benefit that Nigeria enjoys from the entertainment industry.

The industry which is generally perceived as a world of glamour and ‘make belief’; only accommodating the good looking as well as the wealthy, has slowly grown to be a massive money machine for key stakeholders and the nation at large.

In 2014, Nigeria was considered as the leading economy in Africa, a recognition that was attributed partly to the six billion dollar contribution of Nollywood, music and the telecommunication industries.

Asides economic value, the entertainment industry has since been a huge arts, entertainment, economyemployer of labour as millions of individuals are involved in the technicalities of content production.

The Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood which is said to churn out over 50 movies on a weekly basis, was considered the second largest film industry globally, with an estimated annual revenue of about 590 million dollars, according to African Movies News.

The music as well as comedy industries, have not been left behind either.

arts, entertainment, economyIn 2010, record sales were estimated to about 50 million while at least 550 albums were said to have been released annually as at 2013.

Nigeria is said to have held an estimated 1,200 concerts, with a combined annual turn-over of musical shows to the tune of 105 million dollars.

The statistics have so far indicated that the industry may hold an answer to the economic recession.

More so, with the increased number of content in the movie as well as music industries, it is believed that the industry would contribute more significantly to
the nation’s economic status.

arts, entertainment, economySpeaking on the growth of the entertainment industry, Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said that the government has been trying to create a more enabling environment, in order to ensure more development of the creative industry.

“Our aim remains to transit from a mere creative industry to a creative economy so that we can really create more wealth,” he said.

400L Plateau State University Students Protest Non Accreditation Of Courses

Plataeu State UniStudents of Plateau State University have staged a protest to express their concern over non-accreditation of courses at the University since its inception about eight years ago.

The protesting students who carried placards round the university prevented their colleagues in 100 to 300 levels from sitting for their examinations as part of their protest. They also prevented the acting Vice Chancellor from entering the school.

The administration of former governor of Plateau state, Joshua Dariye had established the state university about nine years ago with the mind of providing quality education as well as complimenting the University of Jos in admission of students from its catchment areas.

High hopes heralded the birth of the ivory tower which took off from its permanent site and offered courses in arts, environmental sciences, management sciences, natural and applied sciences as well as social sciences.

However, eight years after its establishment, non of the courses are yet to be accredited by relevant authority.

Professor John Wade was appointed the pioneer Vice Chancellor in 2005 and the school further produced three other Vice Chancellors within nine years. However, none of the students who have passed through the institution have graduated.

A situation that has been berated the academic staff forum led by its chairman, Gilbert Yalmi.

In a bid to placate the students, acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Malo assured them that the process of accreditation is being vigorously pursued by the institution.

It is still unclear what the fate of the 400 level students of the Plateau State University that will be writing their final examination will be when their courses are yet to be accredited by the relevant authority.

Art House: Music, Dance And Art At The 2014 Women Rising Concert

arthouseCelebrating the wisdom, objective motherly and admirable nature of women through arts is what has brought women to the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos, for the Women Rising 2014 Music Concert and Art Weekend.

On this week’s episode, Art House will be focusing on the Women Rising 2014 Music Concert and Art Weekend

Book Club Features Promoters Of Nigerian Literature, Reading Culture

This edition of Channels Book Club features two promoters of Nigerian literature, writers and books. Titilayo Oyinsan, host of ‘Titi’s on air book club’ on Inspiration fm and Chuma Nwokolo, publisher of African writing magazine both play important roles in promoting Nigerian literature and encouraging our reading culture.

Titilayo Oyinsan is a popular radio presenter with 92.3 inspiration fm, one of nigeria’s leading private radio stations. She is the host of ‘Titi’s On Air Book Club’ a program focused on promoting Nigerian books, writers and a reading culture. Titi is also the founder of Naija Women in Business Network which serves as a platform for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Chuma Nwokolo, Jr. is a Nigerian lawyer, writer and the publisher of African writing magazine. He is author of the poetry collection: memories of stone, the serial tales by conversation, and a few novels, including diaries of a dead African and the ghost of Sani Abacha.  He was writer-in-residence at the Ashmolean museum in oxford.

Tosin and Chuma joined us to share their observations and thoughts on what went down in 2013 in Nigeria as far as literature is concerned.

Channels Book Club Features Andrew Eseimokumo Oki, Dayo Oladele-Ilori

This edition of Channels Book Club features two emerging voices in Africa’s creative writing space, Andrew Eseimokumo Oki and Dayo Oladele-Ilori.