THIS year’s edition of the Harare International Carnival appears to be in limbo, as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) is yet to finalise the exact dates for the cultural extravaganza.
ZTA initially announced September 14 to 17 as the dates for the fourth edition of the festival, but later pushed it to October 6 in a move designed to allow stakeholders to direct their focus on pushing Tourism and Hospitality minister Walter Mzembi’s bid for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general’s post.
Although insiders said funding had become a tripping factor, the authority’s spokesperson, Sugar Chagonda, yesterday said they will only release the dates after final discussions with some of their partners.
“We are still to determine the exact date of the festival. Of course, we had the proposed dates, (but) we are still negotiating with our stakeholders and partners for the new dates, as some of them have other events on the dates we had proposed,” he said, adding that they were likely to adopt international trends, where festivals are held in March.
Chagonda said about 60 groups had already registered to participate in the carnival and 15 countries, including Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Germany, Zambia and South Africa had confirmed their participation.
The City of Harare has made a $15 000 pledge for the carnival’s cocktail, according to council documents.
“Council grants authority for it (City of Harare) to host a cocktail reception for the international visitors at the Harare House at a total cost of $15 000,” minutes from a recent council meeting read.
The government’s call to consider the decentralisation of the carnival to the country’s other nine provinces, as a way of sustaining it, however, remains unfulfilled.
The festival, a platform where different countries showcase their cultures, encompasses a series of events and festivities with the major highlight being the Samba Night — an event that usually draws a stellar line-up of performers that previously included the reknowned samba dancers, Momo King from Brazil.