By Daniel Chigundu
CHRIST Embassy Zimbabwe, a division of Loveworld Ministries has scoped two awards for its stellar showing at the 4th edition of Harare International Carnival which was held last year (2017).
Carnival which according to Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive Dr Karikoga Kaseke is a celebration of diversity saw Christ Embassy stealing the limelight with its well-choreographed acts and costumes.
The church was voted the winner in the Contemporary Category and as well as being the overall winner of the event which had five categories.
In winning the overall winners award, Christ Embassy outclassed the famous and well revered Samba Queens of Brazil (Brazil Momo King Group).
Speaking after receiving the awards, Christ Embassy lead Pastor for Zimbabwe Dr Ruth Musarurwa said participating in the carnival gives her church the opportunity to preach the gospel which is in line with their vision.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank my Man of God Reverend Dr Christ Oyakhilome for the priceless gift for me to serve the Lord and to make the gospel available to many.
“I want to talk about the carnival, church is not just going into a building full of people and you are communicating the word of God, that’s not the church, Church is going where the people are and preach to the people and then people hear the word of God and they start following you.
“So when we see the carnival we thank God for the opportunity to be part of that carnival because they bring people together from all the walks of life and that’s when we come in and preach the gospel to every creature, that’s our vision,” she said.
Government through ZTA is the process of trying to popularise the participation of religious groups in the marketing of tourism as they enjoy a huge following across the country and even internationally in some cases.
Religious tourism has the potential to lift the country’s tourism receipts if it is well managed and marketed especially taking advantage of local, regional and international conferences, prayer meetings and festivals.
Regionally countries such as South Africa have done well in terms of religious tourism as they have hosted and continue to host many religious conferences and festivals which attract from attendance.
Key to hosting these conferences, meetings and conferences have been the availability of convertible conference facilities such as the famous Coca-cola Dome (Ticketpro Dome) and Stadia with a huge sitting capacity.
Meanwhile, Dr Musarurwa thanked ZTA for giving her church the opportunity to fulfil its Godly given mandate.
“We don’t just stay in the church, people wonder why we are going all over, we are going after souls. Congratulations to all our fellow winners, thank you for making our Zimbabwe shine God bless you.
“A big thank you to ZTA for always providing us with unique opportunities to win souls and make sure we fulfil our mandate of taking the gospel to every home, thank you for the invitation and each time we see one we always thank God for yet another platform to make Jesus proud.
“So Dr Kaseke and your team thank you may the Lord keep blessing your work and may he keep increasing your wisdom Zimbabwe is beautiful and am proud to call this my home, thank you for making it the super tourism destination,” she said.
Speaking at the same occasion Dr Kaseke thanked the participants for putting their best into the carnival, adding that they were the reason why it had been recognised and awarded by the European Business Assembly (EBA).
“I would like to thank you all for being part of the carnival, without you there will be no Harare International Carnival.
“Your presentations keep improving with each edition of the carnival, this was evidenced by the acknowledgement by EBA who awarded the Harare International Carnival the Best Festival in Africa and conferred the Socrates Award.
“….The 5th edition of Harare International Carnival will be held from the 15th to the 20th of October 2018 running under the theme “Celebrating hopes and aspirations for a new Zimbabwe.
“It is our hope that this year’s event will surpass the previous edition as our Minister of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Honourable Prisca Mupfumira is looking forward to an even bigger and better carnival,” he said.
The winner for 2017 carnival under the category Schools and Universities were Belvedere Technical Teachers College, while Alcoz were the 1st runners-up and Harare Polytechnic were 2nd runners-up.
Traditional Category, winners were Dzikwa Trust Senior Group, 1st runners-up Hwamanda Traditional Dance Troupe and 2nd runners-up Tashinga Traditional Dance (Chiredzi).
International Category, winners were Brazil Momo king Group (Samba Queens), 1st runners-up India-Manipuri Cultural Troupe and 2nd runners-up were Mozambique-Centro Cultural Academico Mantalto-ISPM.
Contemporary category, winners were Christ Embassy, 1st runners-up Zimbabwe Youth in Tourism, while 2nd runners-up were Zimbabwe Catwalk Models.
Overal winn,er category was Christ Embassy.-