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Shoko Festival press release
Magamba Cultural Activist Network
September 30, 2011

An amazing freestyle session and an unforgettable performance by Tumi & the Volume brought the curtain down on the inaugural Shoko International Spoken Word and Hip Hop Festival. Running from the 21st to the 24th of September Shoko saw a four day programme packed with workshops, conferences, debates, concerts, poetry slams, live graffiti and real festive feel with hundreds of punters participating.

The Shoko International Spoken Word and Hip Hop Festival is set to be an annual event and is organised by Magamba, Zimbabwe's leading spoken word and hip hop organization. Shoko is a celebration of poetry, hip hop and urban culture that strives for positive social change.

Shoko kicked off on Wednesday 21st at the Book Café with a full house for a debate entitled ‘Art for A Change' that featured an international panel including UK rapper Akala, German film maker Florian Gaag and the Kenyan ghetto poet Tim Mwaura.

Shoko moved to the Mannenberg on the 22nd September for the Slam Poetry Express presented by Pamberi Trust which saw performances by top class poets from 6 different countries: Germany, South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. There was a raucous full house of people once again as the popular Botswana poet Mandisa won the slam that evening.

On Friday 23rd Shoko moved to the Alliance Francaise, the main festival site. Alliance Francaise was reloaded and redesigned with two stages, a huge PA system, artistic stalls and a real festival vibe. The programme for the day included concerts and a conference involving local artists aswell as the invited international artists from 8 different countries.

Headlining later that evening on the King Pinn Main Stage was the UK hip hop sensation, Akala, courtesy of the British Council. He had the entire crowd swaying to the right and to the left to his infectious beats. Akala has rocked live spots on BBC Radio 1 and warmed up for artists as diverse as Jay-Z, Christina Aguilera and Richard Ashcroft. Another headliner Friday evening was Andreattah Chuma, the award-winning Botswana-based poet. The Monkey Nutz featuring Synk represented for Zimbabwe as they got the crowd to sing along to their tunes. The party continued at the Vera Stage as DJ Rax played till the early hours of Saturday morning.

Saturday 24th kicked off with the Shoko Workshops in the Marechera Theatre at Alliance Francaise. The workshops saw leading local and international artists giving skills sharing workshops to participants. This included the SA hip hop star Tumi teaming up with Botswana's Andreattah Chuma to give a workshop on writing skills for MCs and poets. Germany's Florian Gaag showed his award-winning film Wholetrain. While Brooklyn's Hired Gun gave a much anticipated free styling workshop for young MCs.

Shoko had an unforgettable final evening of concerts that included Tumi & the Volume, the phenomenal Brooklyn rapper Hired Gun, as well as DJ Bionic the legendary SA hip hop DJ, Aura, Outspoken & the Essence, POY, Ghetto Projekts and many more. Tumi & the Volume rocked the crowd with their polished performances which have seen them tour the world. The concerts on King Pinn Main Stage were wrapped up by an amazing impromptu freestyle session which saw over twenty leading MCs on stage including Zimbabwe freestyle champion, Munetsi, as well as Hired Gun, Tumi, Akala and many more.

"It was an inspiring festival to be part of" says festival director Comrade Fatso "The event brought together so many great minds and powerful ideas. It was a real living, artistic space with some amazing concerts. Now that the word is out there we aim to make it even bigger and better next year!"

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