By Bridget Mananavire
Local artists engaged to perform at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) should not expect a high pay-out as this is just a platform for exposure, a Hifa executive has said.
Over the years local artists have complained that Hifa was unfairly paying their international counterparts far much higher than them.
The Hifa 2018 edition, which will be the festival’s 18th edition, will run from May 1 to May 6 under the theme “We Count” where at least 1 000 local artists are set to perform.
Artists who will perform at the festival will be selected via an application process.
Hifa executive Maria Wilson said performing at Hifa was not just for the payment, but also offers a platform for artists to get the needed exposure.
“We cannot afford high fees from any artist, but we try to be as fair as we possibly can. Remember we are not for profit.
“Hifa is known to be a reliable payer first, to create a stage that allows one to perform and to make an audience available. What Hifa does is say to the artist, you do what you do, which is to perform, we will take the expense of everything else, so we will take the technical expense, the marketing expense , the audience venue management expense. We will do everything else and we will still pay you for your performance.
“Peanuts is definitely the wrong word, we are known for being extremely fair. When you then compare this to a visiting artist, 90 percent of them that are coming in to Hifa because of two things, one, they are extraordinarily interested in this country, I think that this year that could be even more pronounced.
“The second thing is that they want to be seen at this festival. So this is something that artists across the board need to take on board.
“You want to be seen at Hifa, because Hifa brings in at least 30 to 40 scouts from other festivals, their job us to watch performance and say I want you at my festival,” said Wilson.
The organisers also said the artists were paid according to their market value.
Hifa chairperson Muchadeyi Masunda said the festival was also a chance for local upcoming artists to rub shoulders with big international acts.
“Look at Hope Masike an upcoming artist, she collaborated with Salif Keita,” he said adding that they were also working with various government departments to ensure the festival is a success.
The sponsors for the first day of the festival are going to be BancABC.
First staged in 1999, Hifa is an annual multi-genre showcase of artistic offerings from around Zimbabwe and the globe.
Attracting an average of 1000 Zimbabwean artists, 200 visiting artists representing at least 20 nationalities per year, the festival has in recent times been adjudged by CNN to be amongst the top 10 in Africa.
Last year, Hifa was headlined by Malian music superstar Habib Koité who officially closed the internationally-acclaimed festival.
Hifa 2017 also featured Zimbabwean music legend Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi who performed as part of Mahube.
Other members of Mahube were Steve Dyer (SA), Bokani Dyer (Botswana/SA), Mbuso Khoza (SA), Xixel Langa (Mozambique), Hope Masike, Sam Mataure, Josh Meck and Mangoma Moyo (Zimbabwe). DailyNews