In a bid to continue promoting local tourism through arts, culture and sport, Simunye Challenge Cup Trust has organised a festival aiming to foster the celebration of Zimbabwean arts through engaging in sporting and cultural activities with players from around the world.
According to the organisers, the event is set for Victoria Falls this August, with preparations underway to involve different artistes and personalities. In an interview, Simunye Trust chairman, Tafadzwa Simba, said the event was set to bring relief for the arts, culture, sport and ecotourism sectors.
He said the “Simunye Challenge Cup” will be a mixture of an invitational football match accompanied by exhibitions related to the visual arts, in particular Zimbabwe’s world-famous craft work, while at the same time showcasing the country’s phenomenal environmental assets that are critical to the tourism industry.
“The cultural, sporting and tourism industries were some of the most important pillars of Zimbabwean identity, but were also extremely vulnerable, especially in these current times of slowed economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
“The Simunye Challenge Cup is designed to bring much-needed opportunities and relief for these depressed industries. The entertainment sector, which includes arts and culture, sport and tourism, has practically been in hiatus for more than a year now, and that is disastrous for many players in those sectors.”
Simba said the activity was meant to bring jobs and relief for those stakeholders, while also showcasing those wonderful skills for which Zimbabweans are known of all over the world. He said the event will take the form of a football match involving a team of Zimbabweans and one from the region which will be complemented by art exhibitions and musical performances throughout the day.
“We are thrilled to give an opportunity for jobs to our hard-working artistes, sports people and tourism sector workers,” said Simba.
“Needless to say, the way we are arranging this is such that it makes provision for even severe Covid-19 related restrictions such that it can be held even in those conditions while adhering to all set protocols, just like vital international exhibitions that are going on.
“You will appreciate that a lot of activity is online now, so that element is a given.”
Simba said in addition, they had options that will be put to the authorities to allow safe in-person attendance by a limited and exclusive number.
“We will be maniacally strict with regard to safety. For example, everyone attendee will be conventionally tested by officially accredited institutions and only permitted to attend after being verified as being Covid-free. All data related to the monitoring and conduct of the event will be collected, monitored and analysed appropriately as well such that this will be useful in the broader context.”
Asked as to why such an endeavour would be undertaken considering the difficult operating environment, Simba said while many things will necessarily need to go into a “care and maintenance” mode, it was important to periodically breathe life into certain vulnerable sectors to ensure their viability, not only for the post-pandemic period but throughout this pandemic period as well.
“It is important that we in the private and non-profit sectors should play a role. We should not only cry to the Government, but also come up with options and initiatives that work alongside the efforts of the Government.
“I believe that the Government has to focus on the ‘big picture’ issues affecting society and that we private players can come in and assist by giving options and impetus to those things that we can do at a lower level.”
Simba said participants in the event will be unveiled in a structured “teaser” roll out, but also revealed that in the lead up to the event, a process that will allow the public to vote for their favourite disc jockeys to participate in the musical aspect of the event will be undertaken to allow the public to play a role in the event.