After hosting Congolese rhumba giant Koffi Olomide at an exciting show during last year’s Harare International Carnival, organisers of the annual fete are luring Werrason, another rhumba expert from the DRC for this year’s carnival.
This year’s Harare International Carnival will run from September 1 to 10 with numerous activities lined up at various venues in the capital.
Organisers want Werrason to grace the rhumba night that Koffi illuminated last year when it took place at Longchen Plaza. Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has partnered the Democratic Republic of Congo embassy for the rhumba nights of the carnival.
ZTA head of corporate affairs Sugar Chagonda confirmed they have approached Werrason and he has shown interest in coming for the festival.
“I cannot say much now because we have not finalised our arrangements. We are still to sign a contract with him, but we approached him and he opened room for talks. As soon as the required processes are complete, we will make an official announcement,” said Chagonda.
Werrason is one of the revered international rhumba stars and has toured many parts of the world, staging classic acts that have made him a darling of many.
He is likely to add more weight to the rhumba night after Koffi left lasting impressions last year. The rhumba night is one of the main activities of the carnival besides the ever-popular street party and carnival concert.
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.