The 12th annual Jibilika Festival will this year take place in Gaborone, Botswana from 29th to 30th September 2019.
This will become the first time the festival of youth culture happens outside the country. Zimbabwe will only host two preliminaries in August in Harare and Bulawayo to select performers who will travel to Gaborone for the regional fete.
The move to relocate the festival has been necessitated by both push and pull factors. Over the past five years there has been growing calls and demand for the festival to come to other SADC countries and last year saw Jibilika cooperating with Street Culture festival in Zambia to send a group of 30 young artists that included dancers, beatboxers and rappers.
Our programing and unique approach that combines arts, youth culture and development work has received very positive feedback from the continent and beyond.
For two years we took steps to expand into Botswana where Jibilika Trust is fully registered and operational.
With a volatile economy and waning funding for arts in Zimbabwe over the past 3 years we also started thinking of alternatives that could help grow the festival and keep it running viably and Botswana presented that perfect environment.
At a time when other festivals in Zimbabwe have closed shop we decided to move instead.
We hope to grow the festival into a regional event and this year we shall have participation from Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa. This will raise the Zimbabwean flag high whilst cementing cultural cooperation and exchange amongst the youth in Africa. Cultural exchange helps build understanding and social cohesion whilst reducing Xenophobic tendencies.
The festival which started off as a dance event has over the years grown and transformed into a multi-disciplinarian event covering dance, music, poetry, beatboxing, graffiti, urban fashion, skateboarding and social entrepreneurship.
Preliminaries in the host country have already kicked off with the first audition happening in Palapyne and the next one set for Francistown on the 6th of July 2019.
The organizing team is upbeat about the preparations so far and both governments have shown great support towards the initiative which also strengthens bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Headed by Simbarashe Mashindi and a strong team made up of locals the festival is promising fireworks.
We shall be announcing the theme in two weeks as we seek to create harmony with this year’s Botswana independence celebrations