Barbara Mhangami Ruwende

Barbara Mhangami Ruwende

The fasted growing literary festival in Zimbabwe, LitFest Harare is set to run in Harare from 26 – 28 November 2015. The second in the series, there will be a series of activities running at the University of Zimbabwe, SAPES Trust, Theatre in the Park, the British Council and at Gallery Delta in Harare. It will feature writers, critics, readers, performance poets, theatre artists, musicians and journalists drawn from Zimbabwe and abroad.

The broad range of sessions and activities will kick off with a key-note address by Barbara Mhangami Ruwende, a Zimbabwean writer and academic based in the USA, who also works as a practitioner in women’s health and safety. Event organiser, Chirikure Chirikure said, “The focus of her presentation will be, ‘Literature, Stereotypes and Women’s safety.’ With her background as a writer, academic and specialist in women’s issues, her presentation is expected to bring interesting perspectives to these three dimensions of her expertise.

After this presentation, the programme will roll on, featuring such sessions as panel discussions, one-on-one interviews, poetry performances, a theatre production, a slide show, as well as book launches, quizzes and live music and dance.

The participants and performers will include veterans as well as young, up and coming practitioners. Those coming from outside Zimbabwe include writers Han Lynn (from Burma) and Elisabeth Beanca Horverson (from Norway).

Locally based participants will include writers and critics, Memory Chirere, Shimmer Chinodya, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, Pathisa Nyathi, Kizito Muchemwa, Shepherd Mutamba, Joyce Jenje-Makwenda, Cynthia Marangwanda, Tendai Maduwa, Ray Mawerera, Isabella Matambanadzo, Lawrence Hoba, Fungai Machirori, Biko Mutsaurwa and many more.

LitFest has gone into a partnership with Theatre in the Park, which will see the premier running of a play by the Norwegian writer, Elisabeth Beanca Horverson. The play, “Guinea Fowl” is based on the life of the late great Zimbabwean writer, Doris Lessing. It will feature a Norwegian and Zimbabwean cast and production crew. As indicated above, Elisabeth Beanca Horverson will also be one of the festival participants.

As part of it’s community development initiatives, LitFest will also run a workshop for high school students. The workshop will focus on the craft of storytelling, hip-hop, poetry performance and social media. It will culminate in the recording and uploading of the students’ works and performances on various social media platforms. The objective of the workshop is not only to develop skills, but to also encourage students to use social media platforms in a more meaningful way. This workshop will be run in partnership with the British Council.

The festival is supported by the Zimbabwe Germany Society/Goethe Institute, Sylt Foundation, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe, British Council, Pamberi Trust, University of Zimbabwe, the Meikles Foundation, Alliance Francaise, Theatre in the Park, SAPES Trust, Gallery Delta, Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe and other well-wishers, that has enabled this edition of the festival to be held.