HARARE – The Shoko Festival, Zimbabwe’s biggest and long running urban culture festival, opens in Harare on Friday running through to Sunday after an outbreak of cholera threatened its staging.

Shoko Festival director Samm Farai Monro said this year’s edition goes ahead as planned after authorities appeared to have brought the cholera outbreak under control.

They were liaising with authorities to ensure the festival maintains maximum health and safety standards, he said at a news conference Wednesday.

“We’re so excited to announce that the festival is going ahead after liaising with the relevant authorities to make sure that the health and safety of our audience is guaranteed,” he said.

Shoko this year will include a comedy night, a mash-up night of musical collaborations, urban markets and creative conferences and main attraction, the Peace in the Hood show.

“It’s going to be an epic event with hilarious comedy, amazing musical collaborations and really good vibes. We’re all about growing urban culture and pushing the boundaries of free expression,” said Monro, better known as Comrade Fatso.

South African artist Moonchild Sanelly, the headline act, will do a taster show at the Harare City Library Grounds on Saturday before headlining the Peace in The Hood gig in Chitungwiza. An award-winning Zimbabwean artist from Bulawayo, Asaph, and a South Africa-based comedian, Farhan Esat, will also be there.

Shoko 2018 will be taking place at multiple venues that include the REPS Theatre (September 28), the Harare City Library Grounds (29th) and Unit L Community Hall Grounds in Chitungwiza (30th) under the theme Peace in the Hood.

Over the years, the festival has provided a platform for comedians, musicians and spoken word artists to perform. The festival also hosts free conferences, workshops and panels.

This year Shoko festival will host the Zim Hip Hop conference for the second year running as well as the Hub Unconference which will feature a number of educational talks for artists and the general public.