HARARE - A record 21 countries from around the globe have confirmed their participation in this year’s Harare International Carnival slated for May 16 to 25. Harare International Carnival is the brainchild of the
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA ).
ZTA communications manager, Sugar Chagonda said they had christened the Carnival, Harare International Carnival because it is being held in the capital city. “We already have the Victoria Falls Carnival and soon we will be launching the Bulawayo Carnival, specifically for those in the City of Kings,” said Chagonda.
Of the 21 countries that have confirmed participation, 12 are from Africa and they include Egypt, Namibia, DRC, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola. Other countries joining the Carnival jamboree include Brazil, Sweden, Cuba, Indonesia, Jamaica, Italy and the United Kingdom. Chagonda said ZTA was still engaging a number of stakeholders so that the event becomes all-inclusive. “We have engaged Harare City Council and they are very supportive of the event as it will also market the city.
“The City Fathers have agreed in principle to welcome the visitors and to host the carnival in a clean environment. It is within the City of Harare that all the events will take place.” While the carnival will be multi-faceted with various objectives, its main thrust is on tourism promotion. “The gathering celebrates our different cultures as a nation and as the world. It is all about celebrating our diversity, be it on the political, social or religious front. “In other words what we are celebrating is the tolerance to live and work together regardless of our individual backgrounds,” said the ZTA communications manager.
In bringing to Zimbabwe 21 countries, means the country will be introduced to all these nations. “It will not only end with the carnival, but the visitors will come back to visit while others will not immediately return to their countries. They will spend some time and when they return to their homes they will tell the world about Zimbabwe and generate interest,” said Chagonda.
On the economic front, ZTA hopes that the carnival will promote downstream industries like hotels, clubs, restaurants and resort areas. “This is a people’s event and everyone has to be involved and these include those who want to sell their products during the jamboree. The artists have a place to showcase their talents, be they dancing or singing. They can sell their artefacts on the day and those promoting traditional costumes also have a big market at the carnival.”
Chagonda said ZTA’s ultimate goal was to release the carnival to the people once it takes off. “We want to hand this event to ordinary Zimbabweans who can run it. At the moment we are just preparing the turf and as ZTA we do not want to continue running this event.
“As an arm of government, we are just introducing a concept so that Zimbabweans can accept it, love it and take over its coordination.” The Harare Carnival will be spread over nine days and it promises to be fun throughout.
The carnival will open with the Miss Carnival pageant with present holder Danai handing over the crown to a new Carnival Queen. Like last year’s, one of the event’s highlights will be the Carnival Jazz Night which will bring together clubs to celebrate the carnival through jazz music concerts.
Carnival Zim Dancehall will be a special day for dancehall lovers. “We have decided to dedicate a day to Zimbabwe’s dancehall which we think is highly popular in the country. We need to cater for all ages and the youths will have this special slot,” said Chagonda.
Traditionalists will not be forgotten as the Carnival Bira Night will roar during the celebrations. “The Carnival Street Party, the main highlight of the celebrations will take place on the 24th and we will close the carnival with the Carnival Music Concert which will take place at the National Sports Stadium,” said Chagonda.
The ZTA communications manager said as for the closing music concert, big names are still being tossed around. “We are still playing around with big names and soon we will unveil an international artiste who will grace the carnival.”Girls High School dancers at last year’s Harare International Carnival.