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America Partners HIFA to Fight HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton Wednesday visited the main Harare International Arts Festival (HIFA) stage as the country’s premier arts event entered its second day.

Several non-profit organisations engaged in HIV/AIDS activities are exhibiting at the HIFA main venue, First Street, where they are sponsored by the U.S through the United States President’s Emergency Plan Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

HIFA spokesman Tafadzwa Simba said Ambassador Wharton in his address to thousands of visitors at the First Street arena pledged America’s support for programs geared at fighting HIV/AIDS.

The festival comes at a time the country is facing huge economic challenges due to a credit crunch currently impacting negatively on families as they struggle to put food on the table daily.

Simba says despite these challenges attendance at the show has been good with many people coming with their families to spend quality time and forget some of the economic woes facing the country.

Among some of those showcasing their activities at the First Street location, which is open to the public for free, is Tag-A-Life International which promotes children’s rights.

Ignatius Dhihwa visited the Tag-A-Life International stand with his eleven year-old daughter to learn about the rights of young girls and HIV/AIDS.

Dhihwa says he was impressed by the exhibitions.

Award winning musician, Jah Prayzah, performed at the First Street arena on Wednesday to the delight of thousands of fans who turned up to visit the exhibits and also listen to Wharton presenting his welcome speech.

Among some of the local artists that performed at the Tuesday opening ceremony in the evening were music icon, Oliver Mtukudzi, and other upcoming stars.

This is the 15th edition of the festival running under the theme "Switch on a Light in the Darkness".

Simba says the theme is drawn from a call to "use the flash-point of the arts to see our lives as Zimbabweans in a new way."

"The Festival this year highlights our capacities and aims to radiate our communal light around the world. The positive rays of HIFA 2014 will open eyes and open hearts," says Simba.

The festival will run until May 4.