Nyore Madzianike Senior Arts Reporter
LOW turnout marred this year’s edition of the Buja Annual Arts and Culture Festival, which was almost called off after organisers failed to raise enough funds for the two-day event held on Friday and Saturday in Mutoko.
BAAF chairman Headman Nyamutsahuni said they were faced with serious financial constraints, which made it difficult for them to organise the event.
Nyamutsahuni attributed the poor attendance to the rising cost of travelling, coupled with people’s falling incomes.
He said most people who attend the festival relied on income from the sale of agricultural produce like tomatoes and vegetables.
“We almost called off this year’s edition after failing to raise enough funds for the event,” said Nyamutsahuni. “It was made possible after the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chipped in and financed the event.
“ZTA paid for the artistes who participated at this year’s festival and we thank them for the gesture. We have also noted that very few people attended this year’s festival as a result of the rising cost of travelling.
“Many people from Mutoko and its surroundings depend on selling various agricultural products and because of little rainfall received this year, many have not produced enough to sell.
“This means they have no income to spare for travelling to attend such events. People who came through to the festival were from suburbs near Mutoko Centre, which is a walking distance.”
Nyamutsahuni was optimistic that the next festival will be bigger and be able to attract more people.
“We are planning to start sourcing resources and funds for next year’s event at the beginning of the year,” he said. “We do not want to wait until the last minute. Our aim is to bring bigger artistes and attract many participants to the festival.”
BAAF coordinator Moses Dhliwayo said despite the poor attendance, the festival went according to their script.
“We have received a bigger number of participating groups as compared to last year,” he said.
“We had about 16 groups this year as compared to 10 that participated last year.”
“This year has also seen some best performing groups receiving prize money, courtesy of ZTA. Dehwe won $1 500 and Chimombe that came from Headman Mbudzi’s area received $3 000. The prizes motivate other groups to come and perform next year.”
Dendera musician Sulumani Chimbetu and Zimdancehall singer Enzo Ishall were guest artistes at the event.