By Byron Mutingwende and Patricia Mashiri
The Harare International Carnival is meant to unify people and celebrate inter-cultural diversity, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
The Vice President, who is also the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs made the remarks at the Carnival Welcome reception held at Harare International Conference Centre on the night of 7 September 2017.
“I am delighted to have been invited to this welcome reception in the run-up to the main event of yet another edition of the Harare International Carnival (HIC) which is running under the theme: “One Love – Our Unity, Our Pride.” This grant event provides us with a festival atmosphere to unify, love one another and celebrate our inter-cultural diversity,” Mnangagwa said.
The HIC is a festival of arts, colours, an aesthetic and dramatic spectacle, as well as an entertainment presentation on mass level. The event parades the diversified countries’ cultures as presented by the different visiting artists/troupes from participating countries.
“This is an effective tool for the development of domestic and international tourism. Many countries across the globe have adopted the carnival concept because of these and other downstream benefits. Carnivals are meant to make a country a more exciting tourist destination offering business opportunities for the local people and our esteemed visitors,” Mnangagwa said.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) with its platinum sponsor, Big Time Strategic Group of South Africa, and other stakeholders are hosting the 2017 edition of the Carnival.
Karikoga Kaseke, the ZTA Chief Executive, said the strategic partnership between the two entities was testimony of government’s commitment to Public Private Partnerships (PPs). He revealed the partnership would continue into the next three years. Through stakeholder collaboration, countries will be participating at the HIC.
The tourism and hospitality sector will benefit immensely since more than 300 delegates from other countries will be participating at the HIC. More than 100 local groups from the country’s ten provinces are also in Harare. Mnangagwa said such a move promotes cultural exchange, regional integration and unity among the people.
Miriam Chikukwa, the Resident Minister of the Harare Metropolitan Province invited the visitors and carnival enthusiasts to enjoy the hospitality of Harare – the Sunshine City.
The ZTA is embarking on activations of the carnival in Marondera, Rusape, Mutare, Masvingo, Bulawayo, Chinhoyi and several suburban centres in Harare. There are road shows in those centres as a way of spreading as a way of spreading the carnival and its associated benefits. Such events strengthen peace and stability in the world and market “Destination Zimbabwe” to preserve and present the intangible cultural heritage of the country.
Walter Mzembi, the Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the man behind the Carnival initiative was upbeat that the event brings together immense social, political and economic benefits and urged Zimbabweans to exhibit their wealth of cultural diversity and peace to the world.
Revellers were kept on their toes as music boomed from titanic loudspeakers as the Samba Girls treated them to scintillating performances as did the Egyptians, Superstar Oliver Mtukudzi, Seh Calaz and DRC Maestro, Werrason. The night seemed to short as carnival enthusiasts were drowned in joy and jubilation.