Samba dancers are known to spice carnivals across the world. The swaying and gyrating ladies always steal the show at carnivals because of their displays.
The Harare International Carnival has hosted Samba dancers from Brazil over the past editions and the girls have lived to expectations. Besides the Samba Night, which is popular at the carnival, the dancers have attracted attention at the Street Party. This year the Brazilians are coming again for the carnival that runs from September 1 to 10. But this year they will not be the only attraction on Samba dance floor because Cuba has joined the festivities.
Ladies from Cuba are also known for exceptional Samba moves and this year they add flair to the Harare International Carnival. It will be a Samba battle of Brazil and Cuba on September 7 at the Samba Night at Harare International Conference Centre while the girls will also be part of the Street Party that takes place on September 9.
And the Samba Night will have more attractions when South African duo of Zodwa Wabantu and Babes Wodumo join the action. Carnival organisers Zimbabwe Tourism Authority said the coming in of Cuba will add flavour to the event.
“It will be the first time for Cuba to participate at the carnival. We are happy to partner them and they are bringing in their Samba girls to add fun to the event. It will be exciting because the Samba girls from Brazil will be here as usual. A battle of Samba is coming to the carnival,” said ZTA head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda.
“We are finalising preparations for the carnival and we promise the biggest event ever. We have lined up various activities throughout the 10 days. We are expecting visitors from various parts of the country to travel to Harare while many international guests will be here with us.
Chagonda said this year’s street party, which takes place on September 9, will begin along Simon Muzenda Street (Fourth Street) and go down Robert Mugabe Road heading to Robert Mugabe Square where the carnival concert will take place.
The carnival street party and concert will bring together artistes from many countries, with the most popular being Samba dancers from Brazil that have been a point of attraction at previous editions. More than 20 countries have so far confirmed participation at the carnival and many are still sending in their applications.
“We are targeting 25 countries and we can announce that 20 have so far been listed for participation. Among them are Brazil, India, Cuba, Egypt, Malawi and Zambia. We are expecting a bumper crowd and we are working with many promoters to hold many events that will be dotted around Harare.
“Our main sponsor, Big Time Strategic Group, will facilitate many things including bringing top class equipment and stage from South Africa for the main concert. We are also bringing in five big artistes from South Africa and we will announce their names soon,” said Chagonda.
He said 100 local groups have registered to participate and among top local performers are Oliver Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah, Winky D and Suluman Chimbetu among others. The performers will take part at various events that punctuate the carnival like samba night, dancehall night, carnival bira and comedy night among others.
This year’s carnival is running under the theme “One Love: Our Unity, Our Pride”. Chagonda said the theme is based on tourism’s role to bring people of various backgrounds together and the love that countries show each other through tourism. As has happened in the previous years, Harare is likely to be a hive of activity throughout the 10 days of the carnival.