Jibilika Dance Festival, Zimbabwe’s leading annual youth dance fiesta recently turned 10 and the organizers reckon that it was not an easy road due to the country’s economic challenges. The dance festival which has now become a household name has over the years soldiered on and has continued to grow with each passing year.
Despite the above mentioned challenges, Jibilika festival which encourages various dance cultures with the thrust of enhancing cultural appreciation, growth, employment creation and youth engagement is still optimistic of a bright future and has a lot in store for dancing enthusiasts.
To get more details about the Jibilika Dance festival, future projects and how they have fared since 2007 when they held their inaugural edition, 263Chat reporter, Munashe Chokodza (MC) interviewed founder and former Director Plot Mhako (PM) and below are the excerpts of the interview.
MC: What have you achieved after celebrating 10 years in the game?
PM: We have made a lot of strides over ten years but the biggest one has been our ability to survive a decade of economic turmoil and still standing strong. A lot of arts projects have crumbled or simply closed doors. Jibilika has grown from a mere dance festival to an institution and a movement that continues to inspire, empower and develop young people across the country and making a global footprint.
The project has helped discover and nurture talent amongst the youth and created opportunities.
MC: What are the youths benefiting from JIBILIKA?
PM: The youth are benefiting from the trainings which seek to professionalism their talents, the positive social messages which empower their knowledge on sexual reproductive health in the fight against HIV. We have a lot of examples of young people who have grown through the project and have built a notable career.
The youth find Jibilika as a friendly and safe environment platform which speaks their language and connects with their dreams and passion in a positive way.
MC: What are some of the things you are going to be improving going into next fest?
PM: Going forward Jibilika seeks to cut an enhanced and amplified agenda. The main focus is expanding our work to villages, townships and reaches out the youth who have not been able to access our programming. Led by a new director, Jibilika will cease to be merely a dance organization but encompass an array of creative elements as well as develop more social innovative projects at the same time consolidating our global reach and network.
The festival will from next year run for three days from the initial two. This will allow the inclusion of new elements to the festival such as dance theatre, graffiti and international participants.
MC: How has the community been receiving the festival?
PM: The festival has been well received by both the parents and the youths. We have taken the festival to all the ten provinces over the past years and the reception has been overwhelming and encouraging.
MC: Way forward after 10 years?
PM: After ten years Jibilika assumes new youthful and enthusiastic leadership who will chat the next chapter. Jibilika is growing beyond the borders.