By Kennedy Nyavaya
Yesterday marked the last day of this year’s edition of the annual Shoko Festival that was held in an entirely virtual form.
Running under the theme Shoko Universe, the festival organisers defied the odds by hosting a six-day programme at a time many events have been disrupted or called off due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Through diverse programming that incorporated various aspects of art, the country’s longest running urban culture fiesta managed to depict modern Zimbabwean life under the pandemic normal.
“Once again we aim to challenge our audiences and ourselves with brave and unique programming,” said festival director Samm Farai Monro, popularly known as Comrade Fatso, in a statement.
Monro, who described Shoko as a virtual journey, also said the event was meant to “inspire you and make you move”.
“From our Shoko Roast that speaks truth to power to our Lost Spoken Word Journey which will break boundaries and borders with poetry,” Cde Fatso said.
“From the cutting-edge new voices in the Underground to the big name acts at Peace in the Hood. From the laughter of the Africa Satire Convention to our Digital Media Week, which will present inspiring talks and panels. This will be a journey into the Shoko Universe to inspire you and make you move,” he said.
True to his sentiments, the event’s only missing factor has been the physical attendance of jovial youthful crowds yet the events and artistes have brought out their best as in previous years.
Some of the notable events included Mash Ups Night where Shoko Festival teamed up with Masofa Panze and Djembe Monks to curate a night of brand new urban musical collaborations, including Dancehall Kedha, Mimi Tarukwana, Sylent Nqo and GZE.
Friday saw the first-ever comedy roast of a local politician as the Shoko Comedy Roast featured top comedians joking about Linda Masarira live on stage with Doc Vikela as the “Roastmaster”.
As per tradition, Peace in the Hood was the final event streamed last night with local headline acts, including Tocky Vibes, Feli Nandi, Voltz JT and Van Choga while award-winning UK rapper Dizraeli, and Dutch spoken word artiste Smita James brought in a foreign feel.
In the past, the festival has created a platform for countless young musicians, jesters and poets among other artistes to express their work and collaborate.
The festival is also famous for hosting conferences, workshops and panels of discussions around issues of art and digital media.