The morning of Saturday October 30, 2022 at the Alliance Française in Harare was marked by exuberant activity, either in preparation for the fifth edition of the Jazz Festival, or for the purchase of tickets in time, for fear of missing the show scheduled for the afternoon of the same day. Especially since it was the first physical edition following a period of covid silence.
The show, which started at 2 p.m. and ended around 10 p.m., saw all the talents of this style of music exhibited on stage. Very young people, like those of “Prince Edward” high school jazz band have shown what they are capable of and have demonstrated that the future is theirs. Notably, there were great stars of Zimbabwean Jazz like Tanga we Kwa Sando who brought back old memories from over 20 years ago with his song “Wake”. Also at the rendezvous were the gurus of this music such as Dudu Manhenga and Jeys Marabini who made the crowd jubilant.
The most culminating and long-awaited moment was when Louis Mhalanga took the stage. The guitar maestro came from South Africa where he resides. His entrance on stage made the atmosphere highly atomic, especially with the introduction of his song “Distant lover” commonly known in Zimbabwe as “Mai Chisamba”. This artist was so well received that after his performance, he was caught in a vice by the crowd who wanted a selfie or a souvenir photo with him.
This festival was organized by the “Zimbabwe Jazz Community Trust” in collaboration with Alliance Française of Harare and Bulawayo and the French Embassy in Zimbabwe. It was furthermore supported by other sponsors such as Total Energy, Utande, CFAO, AIR FRANCE and KLM.
In a press conference organized for the occasion on Wednesday the 26th at the French Alliance, the Ambassador of France to Zimbabwe, Laurent Chevallier underlined France’s firm commitment to supporting Zimbabwean artists, which is one of the missions of the Embassy to promote cultural diversity through art, as he specified. For her part, the director of the French Alliance of Harare, Fanny Gauthier, who has just taken up her duties, welcomed the role played by the Alliance Française in the promotion of Zimbabwean artists and intercultural dialogue, which continues to develop under the help of the Alliance Française in particular. Filbert Marova, Director of the Festival and Founder of the “Zimbabwe Jazz Community Trust”, for his part, welcomed the fact that for the first time this festival took place this year in two cities, Harare and Bulawayo, and was pleased that after the covid period, Jazz is more and more resuming its normal rhythm as it was before the pandemic.
This Jazz festival was first launched in 2016 and is held every year, but like so many other showbiz projects and programs, it received a stab during the whole covid period which had forced it to only take place in virtual form.
By Gilbert Rwamatwara
Edited by Natallie Muchenga