Disappointingly, the show marketed as a Tuku and Winky D show, turned out to be more of a Tuku and friends show. The Gafa (Winky D) performed a mere three songs. The show was initially slated for 10pm on Friday then moved to 7:15 pm in an effort to accommodate more fans.

Tafadzwa Simba, HIFA spokesperson, had stated “Samanyanga (Tuku) is going to meet Ninja president (Winky D).” The writing was on the wall and tickets confirming that this powerful duo would unite.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a sad case of false marketing.

Fans purchased $15 tickets expecting to spend at $7.50 of that allocation on the music legend Oliver Mtukudzi, and the other $7.50 was budgeted for Winky  D’s magic. Fans did not literally expect the money to habura cadhabura “Disappear” mostly on one artist. The  “clash” of these musical titans simply did not occur.  It is unfair to leverage Winky D’s supporters in an effort to draw a larger audience, then give him time for only three songs.

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Oliver Mtukudzi performing at Hifa in the Harare Gardens on Friday. Photo: Shorai Murwira

Aside from the disillusionment associated with Winky D’s scarcity on stage, the collaborations with other artists on Tuku’s classics were, for the most part, good. Taiko from Japan was a treat to watch alongside Mtukudzi. The band members endeared themselves to the crowd by breaking the ice with the now famous line “pamamonya ipapo” (there with the heavyweights) from dancehall genius Soul Jah Love’s hit song, which goes by that title. The Japanese performers then proceeded to sing in Shona with apt pronounciation which was welcomed with cheers of affirmation from the crowd.

A member of the group Taiko from Japan. The group performed with Oliver Mtukudzi at Hifa in the Harare Gardens on Friday. Photo: Shorai Murwira.

Following the Japanese band was Tariro Ne Gitare. She was lovely to watch and listen to in an interesting polkadot jumpsuit performing ‘Chido Chenyu Here’ a Tuku classic. As the singer and her famous guitar entered the stage, Tuku said “I am happy to perform with a daughter of mine”–he said the same of Hope Masike on Monday during the Mahube performance.

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Also joining the musical guru on stage was Mono Clive Mukundu and Ghanaian reggae star Rocky Dawuni. The crowd sang along and enjoyed hearing Tuku’s classics supported by talented musicians.

Another highlight of the show was Tuku performing Neria with Steve Dyer on the flute—hearing that beautiful song performed well with the right accompaniment is a quintessential enjoyable Zimbabwean moment.

Oliver Mtukudzi and his wife Daisy perform a duet at Hifa in the Harare Gardens on Friday. Photo: Shorai Murwira

As the show progressed, Tuku invited on stage, his wife, Daisy Mtukudzi. Mtukudzi and his wife are a lovely couple, and they get points for how sweet it was to observe a man and a woman who love each other working together and publicly proclaiming their affection, however, she is not a vocalist and the live performance was not good. The audience was mostly still as the couple sang their duet ‘Masanga Bodo’ which was inspired by the eponymous documentary on Tuku’s life.

Overall the show was decent but disappointing. The energy levels were muted and the sound this year was not at the usual levels expected of HIFA (perhaps this is why the artists were not their usual electric selves).  Initially, one of the projector screens was out, but thankfully this was rectified fairly quickly. In a week that had seen a smaller crowd than ever before, yesterday, the Harare Gardens finally filled up.