HARARE - AMBA nights are everyone’s dream and I cannot wait for the Harare International Carnival which will bring the dance extravaganza to the capital city in May. For most Zimbabweans, the samba dance is
synonymous with the Brazilians and it is a plus that the South American nationals are coming to participate in the Harare carnival.
While the samba dance which will have a special night outing will be a highlight of the carnival, there are several dance genres from Zimbabwe and across the globe that will certainly delight locals. A carnival is like a pot of different cultures through which nationals from various parts of the world gather to sample each other’s ways of living, from love, dressing to eating habits.
This is a day Zimbabweans expect to have different foods from different countries on display and sale. It is a day we are introduced to amazing fashion trends, eating habits and a whole lot of cultural practises. I urge Zimbabweans to come out during the carnival, be merry and freely express their cultural beliefs and traditional norms.
It is time for once when Zimbabweans can go crazy and wear our traditional nembes and truly show them who we really are. In other countries world-wide carnivals are spectacularly dominated by intruding outfits and costumes of different colours, make and sizes. Designers should be busy by now designing clothes that we can put on during the carnival, because this is a special cultural day. The carnival, in other words brings about our other natural side, our happy side which rarely comes out as people get busy searching for the elusive dollar to feed their families.
And the good thing with a carnival is that it is free of charge and all age groups can watch proceedings, and even participate, for free. This year’s Harare International Carnival will bring together more than 21 countries and from the numbers this means that there will be plenty to expect as different nationals exhibit their cultures. The participation of the 21 countries will see their nationals living in Zimbabwe coming out to cheer and support, just like at Hifa.
The carnival’s six days will bring about a lot of activity in the city and I hope the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, ZTA as the organisers of the event will market it wider. There has to be some noise over the carnival and the ZTA has to create a lot of hype so that everyone knows the event is happening.
The ZTA needs to market the carnival in schools, colleges and universities, and they have to make effort to market the event in the high density suburbs. It is important that those in marginalised places get to know about the carnival and there are several ways the ZTA can employ so that their message gets to the people.
Like the ZTA has already alluded to, the carnival can turn out to be a people’s event as long as they are organised. The city’s nightclubs and restaurants, even hotels and lodges have a bite on the pie during the nearly week-long carnival. Last year, former pole dancer Beverly Sibanda, known to others as Bev and her dancing girls proved to be a hit when they joined the carnival parade.
This is an example of how such a platform can market and publicise artists taking part. With thousands of people expected to parade along the procession streets, the carnival also affords crowds a rare opportunity to be near their celebrities.
While dancers in their various costumes are usually popular during the carnival, musicians and other celebrities can also be draw cards. Musicians like Alick Macheso, Sulumnan Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah, Leonard Zhakata, Charles and Olivia Charamba can make exciting parades as people would always want to be near them.
It is also time local restaurants prepare us the special foods, more so traditional meals like sadza rezviyo. Unusual tastes are usually the order of most such big gatherings and local clubs and restaurants should be well prepared to offer visitors and even locals, something fresh and unusual.
For the different nationals visiting Zimbabwe, this will be a time to also sample local traditional foods, wines and masese. Zimbabweans have to be at their best during the six days of the carnival and should offer the best in terms of food, accommodation, fun, love and happiness!