By Sindiso Dube
After a dismal edition of Bulawayo’s premium arts fiesta Intwasa Arts Festival KoBulawayo in September. The organisers who were under fire from fans and critics went back to the drawing board, rewrote the festival’s 13th exam and came out with better grades in December.
The 13-year-old-history of Intwasa had ceased from being a fiesta that welcomes spring in the city of Kings and Queens to a mere and dull four day long mainly musical gathering where artists meet to sweat out on stage but with no meaningful impact to the city and country.
“We never start a year saying we want the worst Intwasa festival. We obviously want the best. So those that can help and want to be part of the happenings should join whilst there is still time so we do this together this year,” said Nkululeko Nkala, the Intwasa festival spokesperson.
The horrendously organised and attended September edition left nothing to desire with fans baying for the organisers heads or they rebrand in order to rekindle life in the fete that identifies with Bulawayo’s arts and culture.
The last editions have seen the same old and monotonous line-up with the only change being the poster dates and colours. To their defence, the organisers have bemoaned lack of funding as the major reason for the festival’s dwindling reputation as the premium arts fiesta which has been overtaken by new or competing babies such as HIFA and Shoko festival.
What made Intwasa more embarrassing this year is the fact that it ran concurrently with the Sanganai/Hlanganani tourism expo which should have ensured a dead ball with regards attendance.
The merger with Sanganai/Hlanganani should have worked to the festival’s advantage seeing that there were being presented with rather a bonus and unfamiliar crowd.
The participants from different countries were left hard done by to find the only entertainment source they were promised prior to the expo being the source of pain to their tiring schedules.
After three months the festival organisers heeded to the fan’s outcries and organised a mini festival by the name of Intwasa Extra from December 28 crossing over into 2018, in a bid to correct the main flawed fiesta. The opening show at the Bulawayo theatre, a comedy show pitting Carl Joshua Ncube, Ntando Van Moyo, Doc Vickela, Skanyio that guy and Mandla the comedian had the theatre close to full capacity.
Follow up events such as the play Ihloka, Women Wine and Words and the DJ Battle also drew relatively good numbers and a good atmosphere compared to the September event.
The change in numbers and the excitement Intwasa Extra brought to Bulawayo could be a clear sign that the organising team listened to the call for them going back to the drawing board to figure out how they can correct previous flaws.
Kudos to the organisers for giving Bulawayo a meaningful event to bid farewell to the year 2017 after being treated to the worst ever Kalawa home coming party on December 27.
“Intwasa Festival and Intwasa Extra are two different things.
“The main festival curates more events meaning more resources but we are glad that the Extra was successful. It happens when resources are available and its happening this year doesn’t mean that Intwasa Festival has hit gold.
“This one happened at the benevolence of another partner,” said Nkala.
However Intwasa Extra rode on the party wave that comes with December where everyone is in a party mood and falls prey to anything party related. Nothing was new on the Bulawayo theatre stage.
Almost all the shows have featured before in the last editions. Shows like Battle of the DJs, Women, Wine and Words, the comedy show are not new to the festival whilst the play Ihloka was being performed for the second time.
Either way people loved what they saw and cannot wait for a bigger and better main festival this coming September.