Harare’s popular Book Café reopened with a bang at a new venue on Friday night with a huge multi-cultural crowd and high-powered performances from some of Zimbabwe’s best acts.

Samora Machel was a busy avenue as fans weaved their way to the popular joint. Some in daring high heels, some in comfy shoes and some in Afrocentric styles synonymous with the former Book Café crowd besieged the place.

A number of chairs in the new spacious venue were soon filled and patrons milled around the venue seeping and dancing the night away.
Over five local groups that livened up the former Book Café venue at Fife Avenue with their performances were present. By far the best performance came from mbira legends Mawungira Enharira. The mbira outfit strummed the traditional instrument intertwining it with rich drones producing an excellent sound. The group had become synonymous with Book Café and to many it was an affirmation that the joint was indeed back.

Popular reggae giants Transit Crew performed a number of amazing songs with perfect instrument handling sending the crowd into frenzy. Josh Meck was not to be outdone as he performed to perfection revealing his vast international exposure. Josh is a well-travelled artist who has been touring and performing all over the world for six years.
In 2010, Meck did a collaboration with USA-based jazz saxophone player Max Wild at the prestigious Africa festival Held in Wurzburg Germany and went on to do a collaboration tour of Germany, Estonia, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Czech Republic with Max Wild in 2011.
Upcoming superstar Alexio Kawara lived up to his billing giving a top-class performance. Zimbabwe’s evergreen prince of peace, Victor Kunonga gave a good show.

The new Book Café venue is not quite finished but the basics are now in place featuring a much larger stage, lighting, bar area, new pizza oven and main kitchen.
Paul Brickhill, Book Café owner said improvements will be made throughout the coming weeks, including kitchens, bookshop, function rooms, project office and back garden.

In a press statement announcing the reopening of Book Café, Brickhill said artists were involved in the planning of “one of the craziest line-up of acts put together in one place over a weekend.”

At a roundtable among the Book Cafe stable of artists in January, the artists pledged a benefit concert to help the venue get back on its feet. It was a warm show of solidarity towards the venue that has given much to artists through the years.

The previous week, the venue was formally opened with speeches and champagne.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai spoke at the opening which also celebrated the venue’s accolade of Prince Claus Award.

AuthorCato Litangen