July 15, 2024

What is HIFA?

HIFA is an annual 6-day arts and culture celebration, taking place in the capital city of Zimbabwe, Harare. It began in 1999 and with 2018, is about to take up its 18th edition. It exhibits a proven track record of growth and success. It is Zimbabwe’s largest arts and culture event, and one of the largest such events in Southern Africa. It encompasses around 14 venues in the city, and covers: music, theatre/drama, comedy, fashion, spoken word, youth programming, dance, applied art and design and visual arts. Encompassing this many artistic genres makes HIFA one of the most unique arts events in the world. It is also distinctive in the collaborations it initiates, mainly between Zimbabwean and visiting artists.

HIFA is a non-profit- making organisation that is run as a not-for- profit trust, monitored by members of the Zimbabwean business community, ensuring it is completely transparent and accountable. As such it is audited annually by Deloitte and because of its transparency attracts extensive partnerships – corporate, diplomatic, donor, local and visiting media, local and visiting artists, local and visiting public. The partnerships exhibited at HIFA are
unprecedented within the Zimbabwean context. It truly shows what the people of Zimbabwe are capable of achieving when they put their differences aside to make something positive happen.

HIFA Board of Trustees

HIFA’s board of trustees is chaired by Mr Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda and includes:

  • Mr Simon Hammond
  • Ms Elizabeth Chitiga
  • Mrs Amanda von Pezold
  • Mrs Nancy Guzha
  • Mrs Maria Wilson
  • Mr Stephen Chifunyise
  • Mr Robert Galbraith
  • Mr James Mushore
  • Mr Lovemore Manatsa
  • Mr Robert Maunsell
  • Mr Manuel Bagorro


HIFA is acknowledged as among the top 10 arts festivals in the world, and possibly the largest INTERNATIONAL arts festival in sub-Saharan Africa, and as such attracts extensive local and international media attention. The Festival is acknowledged to be one of the most affirmative community initiatives happening in the country, promoting unity and positive perceptions about the people – lines of communication are opened up and
barriers are energetically broken down. HIFA is exceptional for the sheer breadth of the audiences it attracts: multi-racial, multi-aged, multi-gender, multi-political. It is absolutely inclusive and this is reflected in the low ticket prices offered to an event that is of such an acknowledged high standard. Annually, HIFA offers employment on a scale rarely seen in Zimbabwe, not only to the general public and youth, but most especially to around 1 200 Zimbabwean artists. These artists are offered the chance to interface meaningfully with each other, with visiting artists (generally around 250 from at least 33 countries), with possible backers/scouts/other festival organizers and with the public. During these exchanges undoubted skills transfer takes place and this therefore guarantees employment creation in the Creative Industries as well as the set up of networks that can offer employment and capacity building short to medium term. HIFA actively fights against any tacit isolationist policies and ensures that perceptions about Zimbabwe and her people are changed for the better.

The HIFA Message

HIFA is about art, and art is about life. Indeed art is life. It is creative; it heals; it unifies. It brings light to where there was once only darkness. It brings hope to where there was once only despair.


Times have been hard in Zimbabwe; nobody can deny that. Times are still hard for many people. The explosion of artistic creativity unleashed by HIFA brings light and hope and banishes darkness and despair. It enables the people of Zimbabwe to show the world their resilience and strength in the face of adversity. It enables them to show that this country is indeed unique in its character and its people’s qualities such as hospitality, generosity and friendship. It is a beacon to the world saying, come and share what makes our country great; come and share our brotherhood and sisterhood; come and share our love of the arts and humanity.

Zimbabwe is not a stereotype. It is not a clone. It is a very special country with very special people and a great depth of talent. HIFA is the biggest event in Zimbabwe that showcases that talent. Many overlook the fact that the vast majority of shows and artistic displays at HIFA are developed and produced in Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans. HIFA is not just a showcase of local talent; it is a cradle, a nursery and a stage for the development of local artistic talent. HIFA has a vital and integral role to play in encouraging Zimbabwean artists to discover and develop their
artistic skills.

HIFA invites international artists to come to Zimbabwe, not just to entertain, but also to pass on their experiences and their knowledge to young Zimbabweans in particular. While in Zimbabwe they work with local artists and
some participate in workshops with local artists. This exchange of ideas and knowledge is, in itself, a valuable part of HIFA.

For six days every year HIFA offers Zimbabwe the opportunity for its people to unite in enthusiasm for artistic endeavour. It is a unique event. Try and imagine life without colour. Then you will understand what Zimbabwe would be without HIFA.

HIFA 2018 Theme:

“HIFA 2018 – WE COUNT”

HIFA 2018 celebrates the capacity of each one of us to make a difference in our country and in our world.

The Festival happens at a time when we count votes, count lost loved ones, count challenges, count blessings,
and count the amazing opportunities that exist in our country in 2018.

People are what make this Festival special and beautiful – each and every person counts at HIFA and has a part
to play in celebrating the potential of the arts in Zimbabwe, today and in the future.

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