Evans Mapfumo

AFRO FUSION artist Evans Mapfumo will join other regional and international artists at the festival of arts and culture (Festac) in May.

Festac 2024 will run from May 20 to 26 in Kisumu, Kenya.

It is one of the biggest festivals in Africa that celebrates culture, arts, crafts, fashion, music, dance, travel, tourism, trade investments, food, poetry and sports.

Mapfumo told NewsDay Life & Style that  he was elated to be chosen to perform at such a big platform, with also a big audience.

“lt is a great opportunity for me and my band (Kiat Afrika) to showcase our talent at a very big platform.

“The good thing about the festival is, it is not just about music, but also involves cultural exchange, networking and establishing new markets,” he said.

“We are going to market the Zimbabwean brand through musical instruments like hosho, mbira and marimba that we play; we are also going to exhibit those instruments.”

The music teacher at Zengeza 1 High School in Chitungwiza, was once funded by government in 2022 when he performed at Sauti za Busara festival in Zanzibar.

“We are looking for funding to cater for airfares and accommodation to travel there, the organisers don’t offer anything for the participants.

“We have started engaging corporates, individuals and organisations to help us.

“We are also going to engage government through different ministries; this is a national duty, we will be representing the nation.”

Festac started in 1966 in Senegal to celebrate African arts, culture, music, fine art, drama, dance and literature from African countries and those in diaspora.

American singer and songwriter Stevie Wonder and Miriam Makeba are some of the notable names that performed at the second edition of the festival in 1977 which attracted over 16 000 people. At that time it was described as the largest pan-African gathering to ever take place.

Last year, the festival was held in Tanzania.

The talented guitarist hopes that the 5th world’s black and African festival of arts and culture will act as a springboard for him and his band.

“I am confident that, during the festival we will be able to find new markets to showcase our talent and Zimbabwean history to the world.

Mapfumo released his debut album titled Afamba Apota in 2022 and is set to release his second offering, later this year. — NewsDay

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