The Inaugural Bulawayo Day and Bulawayo Arts Festival scheduled to run from June 1-6 2020, has been postponed to June 2021 as the nation continues on COVID-19 Lockdown Level 2 with restrictions on public gatherings.

In a statement announcing the postponement, City of Bulawayo, Senior Public Relations Officer Nesisa Mpofu, said for the past few weeks they have been working hard, in conjunction with all the partners and stakeholders to explore all avenues to put on this year’s festival, including moving the dates to later in the year.

“However, due to the continuing uncertainty regarding holding of public gatherings, the increasing number of Corona virus-positive cases, the threat to people’s health, and the potential need for an extended period of social distancing, we have taken the collective decision to suspend our 2020 programme as it was planned. We will however still recognise June 1 as Bulawayo Day” She said.

A digital launch will be held together with three special virtual/ online pop-up events from Wednesday 3rd June to Friday 5th June on the Byo Arts Festival & City of Bulawayo Facebook pages. The same programmes will also be posted on the BAF TV Channel on Youtube as delayed content.

Mpofu said the inaugural event was going to run under the theme “WOW” (short for We Own Winter) as all activities were expected to illuminate the usually not so active winter month in Zimbabwe. She added that the virtual launch and footprint will adopt the same theme

“Our fundraising initiatives for Bulawayo Day and Bulawayo Arts Festival have been profoundly affected by the pandemic. Some of our partners have temporarily suspended the funding of activities that fall outside the radar of COVID-19 response mechanisms. Corporates have been severely affected as well, with most recording huge losses and the risk of closure” said Mpofu.

The celebration of Bulawayo Day and the hosting of the Bulawayo Arts Festival aims to provide a stage for new and established artists and enable local and global visitors to participate meaningfully in the cultural life of the city. The event provides an opportunity for Bulawayo to showcase its proud heritage, rich diversity, creative nature, resilience, and majesty. Which aims to put Bulawayo on the global spotlight and encourage its tourism and business.