Star-studded Shoko festival on the cards Gemma Griffiths

Kundai Marunya Arts Correspondent

It’s all systems go as Harare is set to host the star-studded Zimbabwe’s festival of urban culture, Shoko Festival from September 28 to 30 at venues across Harare and Chitungwiza.

Themed “The Take Back”, the 13th edition of Shoko is headlined by highly rated dancehall and afro-beats star Nutty O, NAMA-award winning rapper Bling4, globe-trotting local musician Gemma Griffiths, Botswana’s multi-award-winning afro pop artiste Jordan Moozy and South Africa’s Xabiso Vili, among others.

Speaking in a statement, festival director Samm Monro affectionately known as Cde Fatso said they have roped in highly talented international acts.

“This year’s edition will feature an array of international acts who are set to thrill festival goers,” he said.

“Shoko will feature Xabiso Vili, a multi-award winning South African performer, writer, producer and social activist.

“He is the 2022 World Poetry Slam Champion and is in the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans.

“The other regional act to look forward to is Jordan Moozy, a multi-dimensional singer, songwriter and producer born in Botswana to Zimbabwean parents.

“Jordan has won two Yarona FM awards in 2021 and 2022 as the best RnB and best collaboration of the year.

“His upbringing and travels across Southern Africa have a major influence on his musical sound and worldview. Moozy’s music is a layered, multilingual blend of R&B, Pop, Highlife and Hip Hop, seeping with influences that span borders and decades”.

Cde Fatso said this year’s edition is a call for young Zimbabweans to reclaim their space and art to create a better future for all”.

“This year, we are giving the people an inspiring three days of powerful music, thought-provoking talks, and riotous laughter,” he said.

“Join us to hear young people reclaim their voices and their art forms!”

Shoko festival’s theme is a timely call to take back the urban space that is overrun by drug and illicit beer abuse.

Various stakeholders in government and civic society have been pushing for sanitisation of communities and art is one way to reach a greater number of young people.

Cde Fatso said Shoko festival features a variety of events, including the opening Mash Up night, the popular Shoko Comedy Roast, the Hub Unconference, and the Peace In The Hood Concert.

“This year’s edition of Shoko Festival will kick off on Thursday, September 28 at Moto Republik with Mash-Up Night featuring a variety of musical performances, including never-seen-before mashups of urban, traditional, and electronic music genres,” he said.

“We will also host The Women’s Cypher, a live performance by some thrilling female MCs including Young Gemini, Noluntu J, and Banshee”.

“Mash Up Night’is curated by Thando Mlambo’s Dark Art Matter(s) collective to take the audience on a sonic journey featuring the likes of rising hip hop star Noluntu J, the Maskandi duo Apiwe and Sobancane and electronic producer DJ Rori.

Xabiso Vili and Jordan Moozy will also feature at Mash Up Night.

Another event to look forward to is the reinvented comedy night which was sold last year as comedians “roasted” former Norton legislator Temba Mliswa in a no-holds-barred night of jests.

Cde Fatso said this year they have chosen Kuda Musasiwa for the hot seat for the Friday event.

“This year’s “Roast” presented by Simuka Comedy is set to live up to its billing as it will feature the outspoken serial entrepreneur, Kuda Musasiwa on the hot seat,” he said.

“Also known as Begotten Sun, Kuda Musasiwa wears many hats including farmer, entrepreneur, music producer, activist and husband.

“With top comedian Doc Vikela as the Roast Master and the likes of R Peels, Candace Mwakalyelye and Ricky Fire as panellists, it looks set to be a hilarious evening”.

To shut down the three-day festivities will be the flagship Peace In The Hood day-long music event to take place in Unit L in Chitungwiza.

The concert has grown to be a great platform to share music while communicating important messages to transform high-density areas.

It brings celebrated artistes to the people, who would only have dreamt of seeing them perform live, free of charge.

“Shoko’s main event will feature Bling 4, Gemma Griffiths, and Nutty O for an electric shutdown of the festival,” said Cde Fatso.

“Also on the line-up are Bagga, Mycole Biller and Hwinza amongst other acts.

“Shoko Festival remains true to its values of providing a platform for both emerging and established artistes.

“The festival ensures alternative urban artistes get to share the same stage with the biggest artistes in the land”.

Shoko Festival is a celebration of free expression, cutting-edge urban art, and alternative youth culture. The festival is a project of Magamba Network, Africa’s trailblazing creative and digital media organisation.

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