HIFA Harare International
Festival of the Arts

Speech by Manuel Bagorro, Founder & Artistic Director at the Official Opening of HIFA 2018

29 April 2018

Thank you Much – Everyone involved in HIFA feels so excited to again be about to present a spectacular international arts celebration here in our Capital City – it’s an incredible achievement and it’s happening because all of you decided it should and must happen. Thank you and congratulations – I think we should all be very proud to be making a creative difference in Harare and in Zimbabwe in this very special way.


As we all know, this is such a significant time for this country, on the brink of an election after a major change in the political landscape – that change was driven by PEOPLE as is HIFA. HIFA 2018 celebrates the capacity of each one of us to make a difference in our country and in our world – it acknowledges that we all count and that our individual and collective actions, can be transformative – in small ways and in large, history-changing ways. This year we count votes, we count challenges, we count hopes and dreams, we count blessings, we stand up to be counted in so many ways and we count the amazing creative opportunities that exist in our country in 2018. 


The people power within HIFA is strong! An engaged Board, led by our energetic Chairman, our corporate investors and international partners, all the Government ministries and agencies with which we work, our AMIGOS and friends – your commitment to HIFA makes the Festival possible and allows us all to create something so much greater than the sum of all our individual contributions. Thank you!


In addition to the supporters - our team is incredible – ladies and gentlemen I can’t begin to tell you how much this group have given and continue to give. Thank you all for your super-human achievements this year. You are all fearless and talented – willing to fight for what you believe in and to make it happen often at huge personal cost.. Most particularly our remarkable Executive Director Maria Wilson, demonstrates each day our organizations’ will to change the world for the better, one vivid and dynamic action at a time - Maria, we all love you and admire you so very much. 


Our means of making a difference and truly counting as an organization is our programme – the artistic content of the festival, and I hope you agree that it’s a strong, vivid, diverse, programme this year – performances, exhibitions, markets but also workshops and many networking and career development opportunities. It’s such a pleasure to welcome all the artists performing in HIFA 2018  – visiting artists, artists from the region, and particularly Zimbabwean artists who are the heart and soul and energy of this festival. Particular thanks to the Festival artists who are with us today, either in the audience or performing as part of this reception – a special thank you to the Zimbabwe College of Music, who partners with us and whose marimba group performed today. Thanks also to the team here at Girls’ High School who have been so generous and welcoming – thank you so much for all of your help. 


So here in this beautiful school, a place of learning and development of creative minds, with artistic activity happening all around us – we’re ready to unveil a new statement of intent. We gather today to celebrate but also to acknowledge our responsibility and achievement – we invite you and our whole much loved audience and supporters to live their lives in the arts this week – to think and act with even more imagination, vision, empathy, generosity and determination, during HIFA and throughout the year.


Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s truly count this week, immerse ourselves in the wonderful world of so many different artistic experiences on offer - acknowledge to ourselves, each other and the rest of the world what is possible when we come together, when we bring our most committed will, and our most creative minds

 to make a difference today and in the future – Welcome to HIFA 2018 – WE COUNT. 


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