Vongai Mbara Lifestyle Reporter
Today is no an ordinary day.
Street bands moving through the streets and all people joining in, drinking and dancing away the day — such will be spectacles for the day in Harare CBD as the Harare International Carnival street parade rolls across the city centre.
All you have to do is to turn up and join in, shake your tail feathers and experience all the colours of the rainbow at this free street party and parade. Marchers in resplendent feathered and sequinned regalia joined by revellers will be carousing in the streets.
Around 8 am, the parade begins at Simon Muzenda Street, widely known as Fourth Street, and the route goes along Jason Moyo Street to Civic Center where a free all night carnival concert is being held.
Some of the performing countries to take part in the four kilometre street party are Sweden, Egypt, Namibia, Botswana, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Cuba, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, and Japan.
Zimbabwe’s finest, Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Soul Jah Love and Sulumani Chimbetu will be amongst the performers who will share the stage with DRC’s Werrason and many other international artists. A spirit of solidarity and happy anticipation is felt by all as the hours of waiting are filled with food and drinks, greeting and socialising.
There will be lots of music and dancing in the streets as the carnival winds its way through the city creating an extravaganza of wonderful contraptions, masks and costumes, dancers, musicians and artists.
While Carnival has deep religious connotations, today more often than not it has become a popular celebration known for costumes, floats, samba, beads, food, and revelry.
The Harare International carnival started last weekend and there have been multiple stages throughout the city with different performers ready to party and celebrate the festival.
Twenty six countries are performing and at least three million revellers are expected to participate in the carnival which is mainly sponsored by Big Time Strategic Group. .
It will be a costume affair with a spectacle of colour as many will be dressed in fury costumes, don helmets with giant horns whilst women are fitted in their elaborate dresses and colorful bikinis to give the festival a lighter feel.
Participants in the march include Brazilians and Cubans who will be in a samba battle as well as local performers who will parade their colorful costumes and feather headdresses Performers will be dancing through the streets as carnival-goers enjoy food and drinks while soaking up the atmosphere.
Organisations involved with different countries like Zambia, Malawi, Brazil and Zimbabwe are also taking part by exhibiting their different cultures. The best thing about this festival is that it caters for all.
Young people dance groups will be displaying their youthful dance moves whilst students from different schools will participate in the dance fiesta. Brazilian dancers who wowed many in 2014 will be at it again showing their dancing skills and costumes.
Zimbabwean culture will be on full display by our very own Nyau dancers also known as Gule Wamkulu, who will use the platform to show different traditional dances.
Traffic will be at a halt as revellers gallivant all over the streets, singing along and dancing to the moving rhythms. Participants will take to the streets, showcasing their talents in categories; international, traditional group and contemporary for the senior category.
The promises a lot of surprises just like in 2014 when Trinidad & Tobago surprised the audience by playing a local tune “Manhanga Kutapira” that thrilled the massive crowd.
This is one big event where strangers will be brought together and feel like they are family. This explains the carnival motto, “One Love, Our Unity, Our Pride. Since this year’s target is to reach three million people, the turnout is promising to be one big happy party. Speaking at the carnival launch, Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa praised locals for supporting the carnival.
“It is pleasing to note that the city of Harare is part of this event. There is merit in their involvement because indeed, the Harare International Carnival is an effective branding fostering love and unity among nationalities in leading to a greater awareness of the rich heritage of various civilizations and in bring about a better appreciation of the inherent values of different cultures, thereby contributing to the strengthening of peace and stability in the world,” said the Vice President.
A week ago, Kuwadzana constituent Member of Parliament, Dr Betty Kaseke hosted a carnival community street party as a way of engaging people into the festival.
“We want everyone to participate and this is the first step that I am taking as an MP to show them what it is all about so that when they go to the main event, they will understand it. I encourage other MPs to introduce this in their constituencies,” she said.
Samba dancers from Cuba and Brazil will spice up the Street Parade before many musicians gather at civic centre for an all-night party. Foreign musicians to take part at the concert include Beenie Man, Werrason, Dr Malinga, Kalawa, Uhuru and Busiswa. Local at the concert include Jah Prayzah, Winky D, Suluman Chimbetu, Soul Jah Love, Sandra Ndebele, Jeyz Marabini and the Charambas.