Shoko Festival 2020: A colourful phoenix flying in defiance.

Its the Phoenix Edition! Zimbabwe’s longest-running urban festival started yesterday and will run to the 27th of September 2020. The festival prides itself in its resilience, boldness and courage in the face of adversity. Having over the years defied censorship, political restrictions, a turbulent economy and currently the global pandemic Covid_19, Shoko Festival is a phoenix ever rising provoking a nation to dare and dream.

By Plot Mhako

Over the years the festival has provided a platform for hundreds of young Zimbabwean rappers, comedians, musicians and spoken word artists to perform, collaborate and express themselves. Shoko also curates cutting edge collaborations between local and international acts and builds international tours for young Zimbabwean artists. The festival also hosts free conferences, workshops and panels on music, tech & digital.

The Shoko 2020 edition will run under the theme “The Phoenix Edition”. The festival, which is entering its 10th edition, will deliver an incredible and unique iteration during these socially distanced times. Shoko 2020 will feature A week-long Hub Unconference.

Shoko Festival’s week-long digital offering kicks off the festival’s team have announced their second batch of headline acts. 

This year’s iteration, dubbed “The Phoenix Edition” has announced that Zimbabwean BET Awards Winner, Sha Sha will be headlining the festival. The South Africa based multi-platinum songstress and “Queen of Amapiano” will be supported by Zim Hip Hop star Ti Gonzi who will be launching his new album “Best Mero Volume 2” live at the festival. 

Despite the change in execution, Shoko Festival will still be presenting its signature events such as the Shoko Comedy Night, Mash Ups Night and their headline event Peace In The Hood.

This year’s Peace in The Hood will be headlined by Zim Dancehall stars Jah Master and Poptain as well as Zim Hip Hop’s new generation of stars R Peels, BlacPerl and Holy Ten. The event will be hosted by the energy god, Dhadza D & the new kid on the block, Cody Rank Marshall.

Mash Up Nights will open with a set from Millz Million before hosting a Pungwe Sessions Live set with performances from Simba Tagz, Chengeto, Boss Pumacol, Sylent Nqo, ASAPH, and RayDizz. As well a Women Faya Set featuring Anita Jaxson, Sibo and Natasha Muz. Mash Up Nights will then culminate in the performances from the headline acts Ti Gonzi and Sha Sha on Saturday the 26th of September.

Shoko’s Comedy Night will once again fall on a Friday and will be headlined by veteran comedian, Doc Vikela, and social media comedy star Ray Vines. The night of laughs will be accentuated by The Bang Bang Comedy Show featuring Alfred Kainga (USA), Munya, Tinaye Wayne, King Kandoro, Mr Lorraine, Maritawana and Kadem.

As part of the festival’s digital transformation, this iteration will present an experimental live Sungura Tv show hosted by the Monkey Nuts titled Mvenge Mvenge 2.0. The special offering will feature presentations by Probeatz, Dumi Right (USA), Synik, MotoMzhinji and Brother Matabele. Mvenge Mvenge 2.0 will be presented on the 23rd of September and will be hosted by Energydokta.

Last night’s epic Battle of the Cities Poetry Slam with special guest poet from Zambia Van Van presented some of the finest poetic talent from around the country.

There will also be a lot of laughing at Simuka’s Top Comedian competition on the 22nd of September.

Shoko Festival will also offer a weeklong digital media conference titled The Hub Unconference that will host a number of diverse panels such as The Mayor’s Forum featuring Mayors from Kwekwe, Masvingo, Mutare and Chitungwiza, The Video Indaba, the Africa Satire Convention, Zim Hip Hop Masterclasses, the second iteration of the Women Create Worlds panel and, many more panels that will be hosted by both local and international delegates.

Cde Fatso , Outspoken _ the festival founders / directors

We have such an exciting lineup of cutting edge urban performances, hilarious comedy shows and unique curated events that will really push the boundaries of what’s possible in Zimbabwean entertainment! This week we will rise like the Phoenix with humour, creativity and positive energy!”

Festival Director, Comrade Fatso

The festival is running digitally with all sessions and performances getting screened live via Shoko Festival’s Facebook page and the festival website. More information about this year’s edition of Shoko Festival can be found here