Groups push for arts curricula

HARARE - Culture Fund executive director Farai Mpfunya is hopeful that on-going efforts by various organisations to push for the inclusion of the arts in Zimbabwe’s educational curricula will bear fruit.

The Culture Fund boss revealed that Zimbabwe Chamber of Creative Industries (ZCCI), Mbira Centre, Chipawo, Umkhati Theatre Arts, Iyasa, Bembera Arts Ensemble and the National Arts Council (Nacz) are working on different education experiments meant to influence the country’s Culture and Art Heritage Policy.

“These organisations and groups are experimenting on what could be the best approach and it is up to the Education ministry to look at who is doing what and how but it is up to them to acknowledge if this will help in the education of the arts,” Mpfunya said.

“We have a limit to what we can do and our contribution is limited to giving advice on the existing gaps and how they can be filled and these organisations are already doing that.”

Albert Chimedza, the ZCCI executive director and founder of the Mbira Centre expressed concern at Zimbabwe education system’s failure “to respect our own intellectual heritage.”

The Mbira Centre founder, who recently sent a specially-designed mbira instrument to President Robert Mugabe, is confident that the president’s acceptance of the gift is an endorsement of the call for children to be exposed to traditional music instruments from a young age.

“Educational institutions define who we are and we respect them for that but the problem is that they do not respect our cultural heritage which has in turn led to the failure by Zimbabweans to respect that heritage,” Chimedza said.

The mbira expert added that, “It would be impossible for a European school not to offer lessons of their musical instruments like violins and pianos yet in Zimbabwe our own instruments are shunned by our education system.”

Chimedza added that the inclusion of performance arts into the school curricula will also foster national identity and respect of our traditional music instruments, music and dances.

 

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