Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Reporter
THEY waited for 42 years to host the hard-earned Zimbabwean Independence Day celebrations and when the day came yesterday, people of Bulawayo came out in their numbers.
From toddlers, school-going children, youths to the elderly, the Barbourfields stadium was home to many for the better part of the day. White, blue, red, black, green, yellow, orange, the stadium which for years, had turned dull due to Covid-19 was yesterday brightened.
The ED trademark scarf and the national dress fabric were the fashion statements for the day.
As early as 7am, people from all walks of life started to flock into the venue, eager to be part of the history as it was the first time Bulawayo was hosting the Independence Day celebrations since 1980.
Upon entering the stadium, one was met by the branding of the stadium which was a mark that Zim @42, surely no place was to be left behind in infrastructure development.
The 21 Zimbabwean flags that were erected on the west wing corner adjacent to the popular Bosso supporters stand “Soweto” seemed a coincidence of a 21-year-old who had been given a key – the green light to make decisions and Bulawayo might have their fingers crossed of more Independence Day celebrations to come.
Performances came from local artistes on a stage that was set up on the runway between Soweto and Empankweni stands. Sandra “Sandy” Ndebele showed that like fine wine, she has matured as she delivered stellar acts that saw her performing twice during the main event.
With the PA system on its best level, the heat was on and artistes had no excuse, but to deliver their best. Notable among the performances was the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPXS) band which gave uniformed security forces in the parade a run for their money. From the Kalanga popular track BuKalanga, Iyasa’s Bamb’Iqolo, and Platform One’s Wentombazane Angifuni Kudlala, the band churned out covers that should ensure that they are given credit for their well-polished act.
After midday, Songs of Lozikeyi crew had an opportunity to perform in front of the first citizen President Mnangagwa and his family and over 60 000 people who were in attendance. The crew was performing for the third time for the President after having showed their prowess at the Bulawayo Arts Festival in June last year and at the Dubai Expo 2020 recently.
Thereafter, President Mnangagwa delivered his speech and as he walked to sit down, Roki’s hit song Patati Patata was played in the background before Sandra Ndebele performed the track Lizwile featuring South African act Professor.
Entertainment was to later shift to the skies as uniformed security forces showed their powers flying high and landing on the stadium in parachutes. After their showcase, the late Zimbabwe hip-hop kingpin Cal Vin’s track featuring South Africa’s Cassper Nyovest was played and was met with cheers.
Next up were mass displays from children from Mzilikazi High and Sobukhazi High School who expressed their teachings in the physical education curriculum. As some performed on the ground, some by the stands at Pankweni displayed placards that were branded with different messages including Zim @42 Leaving No One Behind, Restore family values, God Bless Zimbabwe, Sethule, and a drawing of President Mnangagwa.
The mass display acts of school children were fused with cultural acts from local groups before the schoolboys summed it up with a karate and martial arts performance.
Not to be outdone was the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) who like their acts at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), raised the bar this time around. Their counterparts from ZPCS went down memory lane with an expression of how the country’s independence came about. The presentation which was the last performance of the day narrated the characteristics of Umvukela and First Chimurenga rounding up to the day that Independence was attained.
As the performances for the main event came to an end, the anticipation had reached another level as football lovers were impatiently waiting to watch the match between Highlanders and Dynamos. Party lovers were also counting down to the gala that was held last night. President Mnangagwa sealed the deal in his speech when he said attendees should “enjoy, enjoy and enjoy”. – @mthabisi_mthire
Article Source: The Chronicle