TODAY, LitFest Harare, the annual international literature festival, has announced the theme and dates for the 2020 edition of this extravaganza.
Running under the theme, “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis – Art is Long, Life is Short,” this year’s festival will run from 25 to 28 November. The theme is a phrase from Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and philosopher.
Due to the prevailing lockdown regulations that sanction the gathering of a crowd, the festival will be held mostly virtually, but with a few in-person events.
Going into its seventh year, LitFest has had to adapt its festival format and approach due to the prevailing Covid-19 conditions. The festival theme was carefully chosen to acknowledge the Covid-19 challenges, but also to celebrate as well as reflect on the resilience of the arts and artists in such difficult conditions.
In a statement to the press, Festival director Chirikure Chirikure said bemoaned the dilapidation of the art sector due to the coronavirus, and also highlighted how buoyant the artists have been in weathering through.
“The onset of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have seen many practitioners in the arts and culture space lose revenue streams, sources of livelihood or even loved ones. Through all this, most artists have shown great resilience and continued to move forward, adapting and daring to keep creating works of artistic expression. We have to salute that resilience. The pandemic has also had a lot of ripple effects in societies and households around the globe. In particular, gender base violence cases are reported to have increased since the lockdown. As such, the festival will focus on issues related to violence and peace transformation. Art, and literature, in particular, has to contribute to the dialogue around social challenges and their effect. The ability to stay firm under difficult conditions and to interrogate the challenges are the stamina that keeps us going. The passion and purpose to create works is noble because our art will live forever, and help shape the future.”
The events, streamed online, will feature discussions, readings, recitations and performances by various local and international participants.
The full programme, with details of the sessions and participants, will be announced in due course.
LitFest Harare is an annual festival that celebrates literature, arts and culture by bringing together authors, artists, academics, students and the public to share knowledge, collaborate, as well as showcase and enjoy talent.
Last year’s edition featured performances by Dereck Mpofu & Mono Mukundu, Writer’s MasterClass with South African writer and poet Nkateko Masinga, Literary Quiz, Address by linguist and storyteller Ignatius Mabasa and panels on mental health matters & the Creatives and the impact of the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi’s music on nature and environmental issues.