HARARE – The 2019 edition of the Harare International Film of the Arts (HIFA) has been cancelled, organisers said because Zimbabwe is dealing with other important issues.

Uncertainty over Zimbabwe’s currency and social unrest amid a military crackdown appears to have influenced HIFA organisers to take a break.

“The decision has been taken after much thought, soul-searching and discussion. Zimbabwe is dealing with many important issues, both social and economic. In this context, the Festival cannot responsibly commit to presenting a feasible and viable event this year of the same quality and impact that HIFA is known for,” organisers said in a statement on Friday.

The statement went on to add that the Festival will use the period of the hiatus to work on other projects, particularly in schools, to broaden and deepen the organisation’s contribution to arts and cultural development.

Organisers announced provisional dates of April 28 to May 3, 2020, for the next festival.

HIFA is Zimbabwe’s largest arts celebration and is widely acknowledged as one of the best arts and culture initiatives in Africa, bringing together local and visiting artists and large, enthusiastic audiences.