A Walk Into Zimbabwe’s Bulawayo City Known For Creativity

Bulawayo Arts Festival
Written by See Africa Today

Zimbabwe is the home of untold talent and arts are a big part of it. Every year the four-day Bulawayo Arts Festival comes to light to celebrated talent and life in this city.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bulawayo Arts Festival 2021 –the second edition – went down. It was once again a tome to celebrate culture and bring people together for the common good.

Bulawayo Arts Festival

Bulawayo Arts Festival. [Photo: BYO Arts]

What is Bulawayo Arts Festival like?

It is the home of cultural diversity, national heritage, and great talent in the creative world.  A display of explosive creativity in the Arts welcomes you with open arms.

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The city’s culture and arts have been a bedrock for tourism in Zimbabwe. These two avenues have also created job opportunities in a country where unemployment rates are incredibly high.

In the first week of June, the festival is held for four days and is graced by the high and mighty. For the recently-concluded 2021 edition, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was the chief guest.

So interesting was his presence that he did his signature dance that Zimbabweans love so much. His presence, albeit due to the pandemic, brings some bit of international taste.

Bulawayo Arts Festival’s importance cannot be underscored enough. It comes with a theme to serve the community for the rest of the year. This is usually passed through music and the deep history of the city’s cultural heritage.

Bulawayo Arts Festival.

Bulawayo Arts Festival. [Photo: BYO Arts]

In the colonial era, Bulawayo was a focal point for traditional rulers. This was King Lobengula and King Mazilikazi’s homes for decades and he is remembered for his efforts. His wife Queen Lokideyi has a special place in the hearts of Bulawayo residents.

In 1894 when it was first named a town under the British rulers, Queen Lokideyi pioneered a revolt. This went down as the biggest uprising in Zimbabwe’s history. She is described as a charming, beautiful woman who fought for her people endlessly.

Every year, her role towards Zimbabwe’s independence is celebrated through song, dance, and poetry. The queen was a mystical being of her generation. She managed to get tonnes of guns for her fighters and faced off with their colonial masters.

Her history is part of what is celebrated in this city with a lot of reverence. She deserves it. After the uprising, Bulawayo became a municipality in 1897 with a tag of royalty. The history in Bulawayo has since inspired generations into the creative world.

Among the finest artists in Zimbabwe, some of them come from this great city christened the “creative city”. It not only serves Zimbabwe but South Africa as well. There is a lot of talent that has been nurtured here over the years.

Successful artists always come back home to give back to the community. They nurture talent and mentor. There is no better platform for this than Bulawayo Arts Festival.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 edition has the likes of Captain, Mwenje Mathola, Fusion 5, Holy Ten and Masa Caroleen performed virtually.

Another 21 artists from the city combined forces and produced Songs of Lozikeyi. This was the highlight of the event. They took 30 days to prepare this great production.  Songs of Lozikeyi were all that people would talk about for the second edition of the Bulawayo Arts Festival.

For visitors who have never been to Zimbabwe, a taste of Bulawayo lights their experience in the Southern African country. Residents of the city are hospitable and proud of their culture. They do not hold back from sharing about the city’s history.

Music crowns the festival. Different sounds from different artists are a hail mary for all. Many people attend the festival to learn more about music and enjoy the great sounds of Bulawayo.

About the author

See Africa Today

Pharis Kinyua is the editor of See Africa Today. With over seven years of experience in digital media, he has a soft spot for African tours and travel. His drive is to tell the rest of the world what Africa offers, the best accommodation facilities, national parks, culture, shopping malls and best airline deals to travel to Africa

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