Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
THE Victoria Falls International Jazz Festival that was held at the weekend lived up to its billing with organisers saying they are now well geared to scale the event to greater heights.
Permanent Secretary for Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Dr Thokozile Chitepo was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony on Friday which saw jazz pioneers being awarded, some posthumously, with certificates and portraits for their contribution to the industry. Recipients were Zexie Manatsa and Dorothy Masuka who both failed to attend and the late Augustine Musarurwa and Green Jangano whose posthumous awards were received by their families.
Organiser of one of the biggest jazz festivals in the world — the Joy of Jazz Festival in South Africa — Peter Tladi was also among the guests. He pledged support for the festival.
“We have done this a couple of times in other countries and I want to assure the organisers that this is going to work hence we encourage you to continue doing this,” said Tladi who has groomed a number of great musicians including some from Zimbabwe.
Event founder, Oliver Mtukudzi’s former manager, Sam Mataure, said he came up with the idea of the festival in 2005. He said the aim was to develop musicians by giving them a platform to interact and test their musical ability.
“The aim is to create a background for the lifelong appreciation of jazz music and grow the genre as well as boost the economy by attracting local and foreign visitors,” Mataure said.
Speaking at the awards night at Victoria Falls Hotel, Dr Chitepo said Government was committed to creating a conducive environment for the art industry so it can generate foreign currency. She also urged people to fight piracy.
“It’s a good idea that Sam managed to host this Jazz Festival here in Victoria Falls, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest tourism destinations. It’s through such festivals that the nation is able to realise the much needed foreign currency.
“My ministry continues to create a conducive operating environment for artists and lobbying the law enforcement agents to assist in purging the scourge that continues to bleed our creative culture industry,” she said.
Dr Chitepo paid tribute to jazz music pioneers in the country and those who contributed to the successful hosting of the festival.
On Saturday, there were performances from Klara Wojtkowska of Poland, Dudu Manhenga, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and Rute Mbangwa at The Kingdom Hotel.
Attendance to the festival was strictly by invitation while an open Sunday jazz evening was held yesterday at Mama Africa Restaurant. — @ncubeleon