Sunshine City: A hive of activity


Sometimes Harare is buzzing – and this has been one of those weeks when there has been more on offer than is possible to enjoy.novilet_balawayo  After being out almost every night a chill out Sunday at home was definitely on the cards.
Bought a large piece of beef and invited friends and family to celebrate a new oven (gas luckily — as Zesa was off all morning!) with a Sunday roast. But I failed absolutely to find mustard in any form; neither powder nor paste was forthcoming in several shops. Is it sanctions or shortages biting? (I drew the line at paying almost US$10 for wholegrain Dijon). But roast beef calls for mustard and as the saying goes ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. An internet search threw up several options, most of them involving soaking mustard seeds for several days in wine and vinegar. As I had started searching seriously only on Saturday I needed to speed up the process so I ground up mustard seed in the coffee grinder and soaked it overnight in white wine vinegar.  With the addition of honey, salt and a pinch of citric acid I had a passable condiment to go with the beef. It wasn’t perfect so I will keep experimenting but with imported Dijon at a premium — and mustard seed freely available at Zimspice — seems a good thing to try.

Succeeded in getting to only one screening at the International Images Film Festival. Short film Freestate — a co-production between Canadian, Martha Ferguson and local producer, Daves Guzha — premiered at IIFF, and was a good showcase of local talent both crew and cast. The film highlighted how absorbing a good story can be in just 12 minutes and left the audience hoping for a full length feature in the future.
I was very disappointed to miss the conversation at the British Council between filmmaker Rumbi Katedza and writer NoViolet Bulawayo, currently the talk of the local (and international) literary scene with her haunting first novel We Need New Names — on the long list for the Mann Booker Prize and nominated for the Guardian First Book Award. Told in the voice of ten year old Darling it takes us on a poignant bitter sweet journey of displacement and loss exploring the nature of homeland and friendship, identity and belonging – set against the backdrop of events in Zimbabwe over the past decade. Caught some of the interview on HerZimbabwe’s sound cloud (thank you new technology!) “ I come from a culture where names speak” says NoViolet. And she speaks as she writes — eloquently and movingly. I highly recommend this novel — available from Weaver Press and Book Café book shop.

Tried to see the opening of Zim Fashion Week on Thursday.  Oh dear – what a disaster.  Arriving in time for local designer Countess K’s Africana/Victoriana collection scheduled for 9pm — I found a very disgruntled, very well heeled (literally and figuratively) crowd demanding refunds after waiting in vain for several hours.  Models were perched on chairs behind the huge marquee in the Sam Levy car park — having their make up done in the light of car headlights! Hello!   Finally what was supposed to be a 6pm start kicked off around 930pm leaving Countess K on the ramp only around midnight. Disappointing for both designers and audience. I hope things improved at the weekend — but with tickets between $15 and $25 more preparation and more information to paying punters would be good PR.
No sign of rest in September. It’s Mbira month. Also upcoming is the Shoko Spoken Word festival and the Zimbabwe International book Fair. Go Harare!


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