National cultural policy, language council on cards

HARARE - Government is in the process of establishing a  national cultural policy and setting up a language council with the mandate to protect the right of creators to their intellectual property, a Cabinet minister has said.

In a speech read on his behalf during the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) Indaba in Harare on Monday, Sports, Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa noted that the book industry had suffered immensely from a myriad of problems in the recent past, which include among other things the influx of cheaply-produced reading materials from other economies, an educational curriculum that has not transformed in response to a global reading environment and rampant piracy as well as abuse of intellectual property.

“It is my ministry’s concern that solutions be found to mitigate the above. Vibrant creative industries provide sustainable and resilient livelihoods for communities.

“Also, such industries provide cohesion and opportunity for cultural activity within society. Communities always seek space to express, enjoy and consume their own cultural produce as this is part of their creative and regenerative process,” Langa said.

He added that in conjunction with that of Justice, his ministry supports the development of the Intellectual Property Policy in an effort to realign the relevant copyright and patenting Acts “to the tenets of the proposed National Cultural Policy”.

The cultural body is envisaged to oversee culture and heritage while the language council, as a regulatory body, will be tasked with coordinating the language bodies of the different indigenous languages as recognised by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Langa commended ZIBF for its efforts towards rejuvenating the book sector. “Above all, my ministry recognises Zimbabwe International Book Fair Association’s role in the development of sustainable livelihoods for authors, publishers and booksellers in the book sector.”

Meanwhile, ZIBF’s Indaba entered its second and final day with academics from Zimbabwe and abroad presenting thought-provoking papers on a variety of topics revolving around this year’s theme “Indigenous Languages, Literature, Art and Knowledge Systems of Africa”.

The Book Fair continues with Traders Day today, which is open to traders only.

However, students and members of the public can attend the fair tomorrow up to Saturday. Other events include the Harare Literary evening scheduled for Book Cafe on Friday, while the live literature, meet the author and children’s reading tent will also be alive with activity from tomorrow through to Saturday.

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