Peter Tanyanyiwa Arts Correspondent
The most anticipated and exciting cultural programme, which bring the French speaking world together the ‘Francophonie Festival’ came to life last Thursday, March 10, and will close on March 24.
Francophonie Festival is strongly involved in the promotion of local artistes and it encourages a true and fruitful dialogue between artistes and cultures.
This year, the theme of the celebrations is the “Le pouvoir des mots” which means “The power of words.” The theme emphasises the strength of the French language as a means to impart shared values such as of liberty, respect, solidarity and diversity.
One of the most exciting acts to look forward to is a music show featuring South Africa-based Zimbabwean guitarist Louis Mhlanga and Regis Givazo from Madagascar that will take place at Alliance Francaise on Thursday.
The festival began with a private function last Thursday at the residence of the Canadian Ambassador and publicly opened on Friday. The first event of the programme was a public opening ceremony at Ster Kinekor Sam Levy, which was followed by the screening of the highly acclaimed film by the gifted Canadian director, Xavier Dolan.
At the launch of the Francophonie Festival, Canadian Ambassador Kumar Gupta said countries who came together to form this world event recognise the importance of culture and that it must be preserved and nurtured.
“Organisers of the Francophonie Festival, recognise that this festival is of paramount importance as it unifies world cultures through music, dance, film and of course food.
“This year we have put together a very exciting programme for Harare and Bulawayo during the two-week long festivities.
“Each year around March 20, which is the International Day of La Francophonie, Francophones and Francophiles, the world celebrates their attachment to the French language and the rich and diverse Francophone culture.
“These celebrations help us to remember the important role played by La Francophonie in the promotion of peace, poverty reduction and sustainable economic development, and central place given to women, children and the vulnerable.
“These are the values that unite the members of La Francophonie but also resonate well in Zimbabwe, and on the whole African continent.
This is particularly relevant given the importance of Africa within the Francophonie. More than half of the world’s French speakers are African and this figure may rise to 85 percent in 2050. Africa is the backbone of the Francophone world of tomorrow,” said Kumar Gupta, the Ambassador of Canada.
Zimbabwe has a small but vibrant Francophone and Francophile community that celebrates annually a two-week Francophonie Festival full of interesting activities in both Harare and Bulawayo.
Events to look forward to during the Festival is the traditional Francophonie Film Festival, the “Sing your way to Paris” talent competition and the quiz and dictation competitions for the young.
The Festival in Harare will have an evening party with music from the Francophone. Two concerts are also lined up.