Zimbabwe seeks closer ties with Edinburgh festivals

Zimbabwe's culture minister has called for forging new ties between festivals in Edinburgh and his country's major cities of Harare and Bulawayo.

"I think that the Harare International Festival of Arts has got a lot to learn from the Edinburgh Festival," said David Coltart, a founding figure in the MDC party, now in a coalition government. with Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

"I hope there will be closer collaboration between the two in the years ahead."

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The Harare festival runs for five days in April, and a leading Zim- babwean show from there, Allegations, is at the Fringe this year, as part an exchange programme for small nations.

"It would be wonderful if we could get some of those new acts across to Edinburgh," Mr Coltart said, with help from the British Council, and the Scottish and Zimbabwean governments.

The arts scene in Zimbabwe has faced financial hurdles and political oppression.

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