By Daniel Chigundu
TOURISM and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi says the 2017 edition Harare International Carnival will be held on the 9th of September as a precursor to the World Tourism Day (WTD).
Initially there had been doubts whether the deemed controversial celebration of diversity will be held this year as the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) had indicated that it was facing financial challenges to fund the event.
However government came in and pledged finances to clear debts accrued from previous editions and injected more for this year’s edition.
Addressing the media, Minister Mzembi said carnival is very much on the calendar this year and is part of the many activities that will feed into the WTD celebrations set for Bulawayo.
“There has been a lot of anxiety whether this event will be going on or not, but I can confirm now that the Harare International Carnival will take place on the 9th of September preceded by other events which will be given in detail at a later stage.
“The issue with regards to the highlights of the carnival, that is operational and I think lets allow the ZTA now to go and really put on their creative caps on, so that they deliver a product that we can all enjoy on the day.
“What I sought to do today was to give certainty to the occurrence and the happening of the carnival on the date that I have already shared with you, and I said its 9th of September,” Mzembi said.
According to ZTA chief executive Dr. Karikoga Kaseke, the 2015 edition of the Harare International Carnival was the biggest compared to previous editions in terms of participation by both local and international acts.
The much loved and famous Samba girls from Brazil performed at the Private Lounge, while a Harare Jazz Festival, the Ragga-Socca Night, Congo Night and Carnival After-Party were part of the acts in 2015.
Carnival which is a foreign phenomenon to Zimbabwe has been criticised by some members of society who say the event is nothing short of just a promotion of loose morals.
However, Dr Kaseke previously told the media that people are allowed to criticise the event, adding that diversity of views is what forms the carnival.
“There are those who criticise the carnival, yes we allow them that is why we celebrate diversity, diversity of views is allowed, when you criticise the carnival we celebrate you at the carnival, we want diversity and we want everybody to think he or she is important.
“Yes we know that there are those who hate carnival with a passion but the fact that we are doing it, we can’t as ZTA have the carnival without government approval, and government has funded this carnival.
“This year it has been adequately funded, we have been given enough funding for the carnival and they really want to see the carnival and they know what the carnival can do for this economy, those who don’t want to see it in the manner that others see it, that is the diversity that we are celebrating, if you say anything bad about the carnival don’t think you will offend us, we will celebrate you,” said Dr. Kaseke.
It is however still unclear whether the hugely followed Samba Queens of Brazil will be taking part in the one day event or not.-