For a long time relegated to the periphery of festivals and shows as the gyrating extras, supporting acts and only named as the ‘and many more’ on show posters, women have finally gotten centre stage in the arts thanks to the Women’s Arts Festival (Wafest) which was held in Harare this November.
The festival ended on a high note at the Alliance Francaise Du Harare with a mouth-watering line up of the most prime singing voices in the nation, including such gifted divas as Diana Samukange, Eve Kawadza, Edith Weutonga, Lady Squanda, Pah Chihera and Pauline Gundidza of the Mafriq fame.
Themed ‘Testing the limits’, the festival was all-encompassing with female players in the arts including theatre, music, dance and visual fine arts.
Running for the second year in a row, the festival has managed to give female talent the opportunity to shine while not overwhelmed by the belittling shadow of their male counterparts.
“Its a great feeling working with the team behind Wafest and discovering the technique of the women while harnessing it through sound management,” said Vusa Moyo, esteemed sound technician and former engineer for the Black Spirits and Oliver Mtukudzi.
The closing show, attended by hundreds of revellers sealed what was a much improved second edition of the festival which seems destined to stay on the arts calendar as a permanent fixture for some time to come.
“Its a great platform to express oneself and this has been a great event,” said Edith Weutonga who was a crowd favourite on the line-up.
Pauline Gundiza and Eve Kawadza also stole the show with their fresh performances; Pauline with a rendition of their early 2000’s hit Ndomuudza Seyi and Eve with a cover of the hit traditional song made famous by Oliver Mtukudzi and Mahube Ndiwe Muroyi.
Sprawled across venues in the city centre, the festival saw people coming from as far off as Mutare to be a part of the musical extravaganza which had nothing but estrogen flowing through the guitar strings with testosterone as a mere accompanying scent for once.
“We shall come back again next year and we will be bigger and better serving the needs of women power and giving women the space to be heard,” said the event’s co director of ceremonies and renowned actress Eunice Tava.