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Photographer's Note

Festival Frames #2 - Black Bazar

Part 2 of a short look at festivals and African preformers.

Black Bazar was taken at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) which tends to take place over one week in late April / early May (in 2017 it will be 25 April to 30 April). Despite political difficulties the festival has run annually since 1999 - although the organisers did take a break in 2016 to review, they seem to be back on track with an open invitation to artists and the start of advertising for this years version. This is one of my personal favourite festivals = there is a commitment to nurturing local talent, but there are also a lot of embassies represented in Harare who seem to have an informal competition going to sponsor quality acts from their home countries. There is no fringe, and with all acts on the main program there is a guarantee of quality (although not everything may be ones cup of tea - it should at least be good, thought-provoking what-the-hell-was-that).

The shot was taken during a performance of Black Bazar, a Congolese dance band playing very hot rhythms which should be familiar to salsa dancers. Performers come from both Congos (DRC and Congo-Brazzaville). The guy on the right is the lead singer of the band, the woman on the left was a member of the audience who got up on stage for some interestingly dirty dancing. Taken from as far forward as I could get in the audience - which is a fun experience in a dancing African crowd.

In terms of visiting the festival - Zimbabwe is very visitable. Like many places: awful government, great people. It is a little bit pricier than most of its neighbours - partly because a local currency does not exist after a period of hyperinflation and the entire visible economy runs on US dollars (no need to pack anything else in terms of money). However, still very affordable by Northern Hemisphere standards. If crossing by land from Southern Africa try to avoid the dreaded Beitbridge border post from South Africa where the queues are from hell - it is a 500km detour from my home in Swaziland to Plumtree on the Botswana / Zimbabwe border, but that is my entrance point of choice by road.

pajaran, ourania, CLODO, jhm, holmertz, delpeoples, danos, ChrisJ has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Iain Pearson (iainsp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 482 W: 0 N: 698] (3298)
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