By Simbarashe Musaki
The English adage ‘so near yet so far’, aptly describes Harare’s dream of achieving a world class city status, which now seems out of reach for a city that was once famously known as the ‘Sunshine City’.
The City of Harare’s visualization of attaining world class city status by 2025 has proved to be distant from being chimerical due to untiring efforts of internationally standardizing infrastructure by hyperopic council management and stakeholders.
Formerly Salisbury, Harare, unceasingly renovating and constructing state of the art infrastructure to side-step being a subscriber to cockroach eye view, thereby extinguishing the possibility of dropping the ‘Sunshine City crown’.
Harare has a myriad number of infrastructure, which provides a podium to dissimilar global activities throughout the year ranging from exhibitions, entertainment and recreational facilities enticing indigenous and international tourists.
The fine-looking Harare Gardens which is wholly owned by the City Council hosts the country’s most decorated arts exhibition dubbed Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), once every year.
The exhibition attracts a countless number of tourists who are arguably the major consumers of artifacts manufactured by local artists. The display runs for a week with musical and cultural artists showcasing their talent supported by the business community.
Harare Gardens also provides an oxygen mask to the struggling book industry by housing the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) every summer, bringing glamour to book lovers and authors across the globe.
Sunshine City’s highly maintained streets attract international and local cultural groups, as well as, tourists during the yearly Carnival ‘Street Party’.
The streets have visible road signs, markings and reliable solar traffic lights for effective free flow of traffic.
Parking lots are professionally supervised by City Parking marshals, while the internationally recognized Traffic Enforcement Section is responsible for enforcing Traffic by-laws making the streets attractive to global law abiding event organisers.
Zimbabwe Agricultural Show (ZAS) has become a crowd puller since its commencement in 1895. ZAS rolls to life every August in Harare with local companies and farmers exhibiting their work and products, while also showcasing produce and implements used by farmers, thereby creating a platform where business may be conducted by both local and foreign business players.
The National Gallery of Zimbabwe which is located only a stone throw away from Harare Gardens is the nucleus of arts, such as, stone carving, weaving as well as painting, while displaying of artifacts is on-going throughout the year.
Harare’s two main stadiums namely, Rufaro and National Sports Stadium have passed the world football governing body Fédération Internationale de Football Association’s international standards, as evidenced by Africa Cup of Nations and World Cup qualifying games played in the grounds.
International musicians and clergyman usually conduct shows and sermons in either stadium whenever they visit the country.
Harare is the capital city of Zimbabwe. It was established in 1890 by the British Pioneer Column and named it Fort Salisbury after the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury. Dr. Tizirai Gwata, 38, (a doctor by profession) was the first mayor of Harare (1981-1984).
Currently, Harare is run by an elected council which has a term of five years with the help of city directors, led by the city Chief Executive Officer who is the Town Clerk.