Last year, Sydney hip hop crew True Vibenation let the AU in on what life is like playing festivals and shows in places like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Swaziland. Peep their tour diary below which they sent us just before their African adventure came to an end in South Africa.
It’s crazy to think it’s been just over two weeks since we landed in Harare met by * VULI * and Native Wit’s brother Mwamba, a little disheveled from a 38-hour journey but excited to have landed in Zimbabwe with no real idea of what was ahead.
Our expectations were blown out of the water pretty fast.
We got to HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) and were showed our rooms at the Monomotapa Crown Plaza Hotel where we met our artist liaison (a legend by the name of Neil) who took us into the festival.
To our surprise we didn’t make it too far when someone stopped us in the street saying “True Vibenation! Can’t wait to see the show” and asked for a photo with us. We thought that was cool and kinda assumed it was a one off. A few meters later we were stopped by another group of people who recognised us, and again, and again and again… things were shaping up pretty well for the show it would seem.
That day before the show we headed to ‘Star FM’ (The Zimbabwean equivalent of Triple J) for an interview. The host was hilarious and we had a lot of fun in the studio.
The first show was INSANE and left us speechless. Check the pic:
That night a blurry and excited discussion in the artist’s green room with a band from Mozambique by the name ofGran’Mah (check them out HERE) led to us joining them on stage the next day as their horn section. The show was awesome and plans were made to link up again when we hit Mozambique for Azgo Festival.
After checking out some of the amazing acts around the festival it was back to the hotel for a recap before jumping up with Gran’mah.
The next show we played was on Friday, but not before a community outreach at the Harare Children’s Home, where we joined an acrobatic/dancing/circus troupe based in Germany called Tangram.
The kids were a little hesitant at first, but warmed up pretty quickly, and by the end we were all running around playing with balloons and having a great time.
The show later that day was at one of the festival’s outdoor stages, intended as a ‘sit down and watch’ music type stage.
Definitely NOT how it went down. Apparently it was the biggest show that the stage had seen all festival, and it felt like it, with a front row of cheering fans pulling off more co-ordinated dance moves then we do on stage!
We couldn’t leave Zimbabwe without a quick visit to the place Native Wit & * VULI * grew up. A small apartment by the name of ‘St. Annes Court’.
A huge part of the trip was the return of the twins to their local neighborhood and home, before they left Australia with their parents at age 3. With their dad from Zim and their mum from Australia, they were even surprised by family from Harare who shocked us one day with a pic from their childhood. Needless to say it blew their mind just a little.
The last night in Zim was complete with a walk to the local wonder Dombashava. A huge ancient rocky formation that gave us a beautiful view over the whole of Harare.
Then came the trial by fire so to speak.
We headed up to Zambia, on a bus whose uncomfortable seats were rivaled only by the super loud religious music mixed in with Celine Dion’s entire discography constantly playing on the P.A. It seemed things could only get better. After all the driver and conductor were named were ‘Gift’ and ‘Happiness’. Nope.
At the border some trouble at customs due to paperwork left us stranded at the border, the bus driver was too impatient to wait for us and left with Native Wit’s girlfriend, Ainsley, and our family friend, and all of our bags. After a few hours of bureaucratic back and forth we were finally allowed to leave Zimbabwe for Zambia to visit the twin’s Gogo (Grandma in Ndebele language).
As Karma would have it, the bus broke down and after an arduous journey we got to Zambia safe and sound where we crashed out hard from the massive trip.
First show on the Main stage at HIFA.
Being abandoned by our bus at the border crossing leaving Zimbabwe for Zambia. Thaaanks First Class coaches… who were later dubbed by passengers as ‘Last Class’.
First taste of Sadza/Isishwala (local staple food made from crushed maize) served with epic stew and peanut butter spinach.
Dodgy ass cold sausage made from questionable meat at a bus pit stop (saw dust content unknown)
The twin’s brother Mwamba – Who solidly smashed us all in FIFA 2015.
Honorable mention to Grace, Mwamba’s wife.
For more information about the band, who are about to head off on another international tour, head to truevibenation.com
All images credited to Ainsley Warner