Hifa, Nacz mend fences

HARARE - The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) and the Harare International Festival of Arts appear to have resolved their differences that made the Nacz director Elva Mari boycott last year’s Hifa.

Both parties, in separate interviews with the Daily News yesterday, insisted that there was never any bad blood between them.

Mari, who was widely reported last year expressing displeasure with the conduct of the organisers of Zimbabwe’s leading festival, was singing a different tune yesterday.

The Nacz director told the Daily News yesterday that his failure to attend Hifa last year was because he was never invited.

“We will never have bad blood with people who operate legally”, said Mari.

“There are rules which are followed in any industry and whether I like them or not, if anyone is legally registered I will never stop them from operating. I have an obligation to execute my duty as the director and ensure that the industry operates in line with requirements,” he said.

Mari added that if Hifa extends an invitation for this year’s edition which starts at the end of the month, he will gladly accept it.

“As Nacz director I only attend functions where I have been invited. If they invite me I will go, I cannot invite myself.

“However, even if I am not officially invited we have Nacz officers whose work is to assess festivals and other artistic events; these will obviously be on the ground. They have to go on with their jobs,’ he said.

Tafadzwa Simba, Hifa head of media and community liaison, said Zimbabwe’s leading festival has an obligation to work with Nacz.

“I would like to think that 2012 was a difficult year for the creative industry and its long-time partner the NACZ, “said Simba.

“It was a year of changes of systems and as with any period of adjustment, there can be some teething problems. However, I think all parties have been having fruitful engagements with the NACZ with both sides presenting their sides of the story and listening to each other.

“This is a very robust industry with people who care a lot about it and so the engagement can also be robust but fortunately it is all with a positive effect at the end .This engagement is continuing - in fact last week there was a meeting of promoters called by the NACZ where other government bodies such as the Board of Censors and ZIMRA were present.

“So far the engagement specifically between HIfa and the Nacz has been very fruitful with both entities understanding each other’s’ goals and concerns,” he said.

Simba conceded that the arts industry cannot do without the critical role play the Nacz.

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