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Shoko Festival roars to life

An artist at Shoko Festival

Shoko Festival, Zimbabwe’s longest-running urban culture festival, came alive yesterday! ​​Shoko Festival 2021 will be a completely virtual festival and will run over 6 days from the 20th – 25th September including diverse programming with different events every night. The festival will be live-streamed on Shoko Festival Facebook and YouTube.


The headline acts at the 2021 edition include Tocky Vibes, Feli Nandi, Voltz JT, and Van Choga. International headline acts include award-winning UK rapper, Dizraeli, and Dutch spoken word artist, Smita James. Events to look out for include the first-ever comedy roast of a Zimbabwean politician as the Shoko Comedy Roast features some of Zimbabwe’s top comedians joking about controversial LEAD President, Linda Masarira, live on stage with Doc Vikela as the ‘Roastmaster’. Another notable event will be Mash Ups Night where Shoko Festival teamed up with Masofa Panze and Djembe Monks to curate a night of brand new urban musical collaborations including Dancehall Kedha, Mimi Tarukwana, Sylent Nqo and GZE. The festival will reach its crescendo with the ever popular Peace in The Hood event that will feature an innovative set with popular acts like Tocky Vibes sharing the stage with the new generation of urban artists like Tanto Wavie, the trap sungura creator.


“We look forward to taking our audience on a virtual journey this year,” says festival director Samm Farai Monro AKA Comrade Fatso, “Once again we aim to challenge our audiences and ourselves with brave and unique programming. From our Shoko Roast that speaks truth to power to our Lost Spoken Word Journey which will break boundaries and borders with poetry. From the cutting edge new voices in the Underground to the big name acts at Peace in the Hood. From the laughter of the Africa Satire Convention to our Digital Media Week which will present inspiring talks and panels. This will be a journey into the Shoko Universe to inspire you and make you move!”


Shoko Festival will run over 6 days and will include diverse programming with different themes every night. It will be streamed online on the Shoko Facebook and Youtube pages. The Hub Unconference’s Digital Media Week will run during the day time from 20 – 24 September and will feature various discussions and panels including a Virtual Mayors Forum, Women Create Worlds Summit and the Africa Satire Convention. Evening entertainment starts at 7 pm and Tuesday 21st September kicks off the night time concerts with Lost – A Spoken Word Experience. Wednesday 22nd September features The Underground, a unique selection of artists exploring sub genres in Zimdancehall and Zim hip hop. Thursday 23rd September will be the much anticipated Shoko Roast curated by Simuka Comedy, as popular Zimbabwean celebrities get together for an epic roast of a well known public personality. Mash Ups Night on 24th September will bring the weekend flavour as the festival presents an event featuring never-seen-before artistic collaborations. Shoko 2021 reaches its climax on Saturday 25th September in a jam-packed Peace In The Hood with lots of plot twists for our virtual audience.


Shoko Festival has continued to host festivals every year since 2011 in the midst of difficult circumstances over the years that range from Covid-19 restrictions to economic and social challenges that exist in the country most of which have affected the arts industry. This year is by no means an exception. The festival kicks off today with amazing conversations courtesy of the Hub Unconference. These conversations include the State of the Internet Address, a CyberLaws ZW discussion, and the Infodemic discussion. These are just the tip of the iceberg as the whole week is packed with informative sessions.


Shoko Festival is proudly sponsored by the Prince Claus Fund and the Embassy of the Netherlands.


About Shoko Festival


Shoko Festival is Zimbabwe’s most popular and longest-running urban culture festival. Shoko is all about promoting urban culture, free expression, and positive activism. Over the years the festival has provided a platform for hundreds of young Zimbabwean rappers, comedians, musicians, and spoken word artists to perform, collaborate and express themselves. Shoko also curates cutting-edge collaborations between local and international acts and builds international tours for young Zimbabwean artists. The festival also hosts free conferences, workshops, and panels on digital media, tech & the arts. Shoko Festival is a production of Magamba Network.

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende