The Book Cafe was a social and cultural platform based in Harare, Zimbabwe. The institution operated in collaboration with a leading Non-Governmental Organisation (Pamberi Trust) in fostering arts, cultural performances, theatre performances, academic engagement, and literature.

Book Cafe
Book Cafe Harare, Zimbabwe
Image Credit: Sunday Mail
Full name Book Cafe
Address Harare
Operator Tomas Brickhill, Paul Brickhill (former)
Opened 1993
Closed 1 June 2015

Contents

Background/Founding

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Location

Fife Avenue

Samora Machel Avenue

The Book Cafe was located on the heart of the capital at number 139 Samora Machel Avenue corner Sixth Street. Prior to coming to this location, the institution was previously based at Fife Avenue location since its inception in 1993 to December 2011.[1] After its relocation from the initial location, the institution temporarily ceased its operations. It eventually re-opened on the 8th of March 2012 at the new location. However, in 2015 it closed down due to financial reasons.

Popular Activities

The Book Cafe claimed fame in the local and international circles for hosting some famous musical, intellectual, theatre and artistic performances. One of the historic intellectual events was the launch of Professor Terence Ranger's Book entitled Bulawayo Burning: A Social History of a Southern African City on 23 November 2010.[2] The institution also held an event on 2 October 2013 which celebrated the women writers of Zimbabwe and their achievements in the literature industry.[3] Internationally acclaimed artists such as Ambuya Stella Chiweshe, Victor Kunonga and Hope Masikehave also performed their shows at the Book Cafe. Other activities such as the Book Cafe Craft Festival, The Book Cafe Open Mic and The Book Cafe Bomba Tuesdays performed at the centre give an all year round entertainment galore and activity. Book Cafe Academy Of Performing Arts (BOCAPA) which has been running for the last 14 years is the oldest open mic event in Zimbabwe. Artists whose careers were arguably launched from the event include local musicians such as the late Chiwoniso Maraire, Ba Shupi, Jah Prayzah and Alexio Kawara. [4]

International Awards

The Book Cafe won the Prince Claus award in 2011. The award is among the most prestigious global awards in culture, presented annually to individuals and organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for outstanding achievement in culture and the positive effect of their work on the wider cultural or social field. Book Cafe was awarded the prize for its role in upholding and enhancing the development of the Zimbabwean culture.[5]

The Closure

The popular joint was closed at the beginning of June 2015 after it emerged that it was facing numerous operational constraints. It was speculated that the owner, Tomas Brickhill was in the process of looking for an alternative venue and that the patrons will learn of further developments in due course. This became the second closure of the Book Cafe after it was also closed when it moved from Five Avenu Shops.[6]



References

  1. Book Cafe, Zimbabwe, Wikipedia, Retrieved:17 June 2014
  2. , Bulawayo Burning; Tribute to Yvonne Vera and the City She Loved, Zimbojam, Published: 25 Nov 2010, Retrieved:17 Jun 2014
  3. , Book Cafe, Celebration of Writing by women of Zimbabwe, Short Wave Radio, Published: 2 Oct 2013, Retrieved: 17 Jun 2014
  4. , [1], Book Cafe Facebook Page, Published:13 Jan 2014, Retrieved: 17 Jun 2014
  5. [2], Culture World Press, Published: 12 Sep 2012, Retrieved:17 Jun 2014
  6. Book Cafe Closes, Three men on a boat, Published: June 2, 2015, Retrieved: June 2, 2015