By Takunda Mandura
TRT Afrika, Harare
Zimbabwe’s biggest festival of urban culture, Shoko Festival, is currently underway at venues across the capital Harare.
This year's 13th edition of Shoko is headlined by highly rated dancehall and afro-beats star Nutty O, award winning rapper Bling4, globe-trotting local musician Gemma Griffiths, Botswana’s multi-award-winning afro pop artiste Jordan Moozy and South Africa’s Xabiso Vili, among others.
Shoko festival’s theme is a timely call to take back the urban space from the challenges of drug abuse, illicit alcohol and gender based violence .
"Young artist will be singing and expressing themselves on issues that are happening in community, issues of domestic violence and gender issues.
'Communicating real issues'
"It is mainly about using music as means of communicating real issues that are happening in Zimbabwea," said Shoko Festival organiser Munyaradzi Dodo aka Munya Bloggo.
"We (women) don't have a voice in society sometimes , we are not appreciated for our brains but rather we are viewed for our beauty" Banshee, a spoken word artist said .
Visually impaired uncle and nephew duo Aphiwe and Sobancane from Plumtree - a border town in southwestern Zimbabwe - could not hide their joy on performing at the festival.
"It's a great honour to perform at such an event. We urge people with disabilities to be patient and keep on working hard ," they said.
Various stakeholders in government and civic society have been pushing for drug and violence-free environment.
Xabiso Vili - a multi-award winning South African performer, writer, producer and social activist - expressed his joy to perform at the festival .
“For me being here is actually a dream true. Even before I became a professional poet 10 years ago, I was a teacher, I had a dream to become the best poet in the world
"'last year I won the world poetry slam championship. For me being here is as powerful as winning the poetry slam championship,” he said.
Shoko Festival is a celebration of free expression, cutting-edge urban art and alternative youth culture. The festival is a project of Magamba Network, Africa’s creative and digital media organisation