We should nurture creative industry

HARARE - The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) says foreign artistes are no longer required to provide police clearances when applying for permits to perform in Zimbabwe.

The national arts body said the Department of Immigration revoked police clearances for visiting foreign artists in response to representations from the Nacz.

“Nacz is happy to announce that as a result of these discussions, the Department of Immigration has agreed to revert to the previous arrangement where Immigration would do the general security checks before issuing TEPs to international artists,” said part of the statement signed by Cathrine Mthombeni, the Nacz communications and marketing officer.

“Immigration in support of the arts and culture sector, agreed to waive the requirement for police clearance to all international artistes when applying for Temporary Employment Permits.”

Police clearances for foreign artists revoked

LONDON - We should nurture creative industryThis week I have invited knitwear designer Nyaradzo Mugarisanwa to explain why Zimbabwe should create the necessary conditions that will make it possible for creatives and the creative industry to blossom. Below is her contribution:

When I got my O’Level results at the end of Form 4 I got the question everyone routinely asks: What are your subject choices going to be for A’ Level?

I remember I chose Geography, History and something I can’t remember but all I really wanted to do was art and fashion.

When I moved to the United Kingdom (UK), I discovered that there were so many non-traditonal A’Level options — many I had never heard of but was glad to come across.

I made sure I picked subject choices that reflected my creativity and did so until I graduated with a degree. I have always been a creative person and my family were not surprised with the route I decided to take.

However, they were worried and to this day they still worry and will worry until I am successful at my chosen field in Fashion.

I have always questioned why it is that our society looks down on the non-conventional career choices.

If you are not a doctor, nurse, accountant, engineer, teacher, pharmacist or fit into any of the known professions, then you are ostracised.

I remember my mother telling me in her era, when you finished school, you either did nursing or teaching if you were a girl — there were more options for boys then.

Whenever I ask why this was so, I am often told that in pre-independence and the post-independence years, that was the norm.

Our parents and theirs before them were the generations that were raised to work and study hard at school, get good grades, a good job or an apprenticeship or pursue further education then land a high paying job.

You can still study hard at your skill be it as an artisan, designer, writer, comedian, metal worker etc.

A fact that people are not always aware of is the time and effort a creative person puts in to get a result.

I recall someone I knew who was a DJ and the older generation labelled him as “someone who plays instruments” meaning they did not take him seriously.

A tailor or a seamstress was regarded for their job role of altering and creating functional garments. Not many cared for the potential of creativity that lies within this job role.

A family member decided she wanted to be a hairdresser and there was an uproar.

I could not see why there was so much controversy. After all, she was going into a trade she loved and because of this passion she would excel.

As expected she was talked into a field that did not cause the elders to break out in a cold sweat, something safe, predictable, steady and respectable.

If you have children at home who show interest in being a creative person, please encourage them and look into organisations that can nurture their talent.

Also encourage them to still work hard at school and get their academic qualifications to fall back on but do not dismiss their creativity.

I am of the sentiment that a career fuelled by passion, talent and drive is better than one fuelled by societal expectations because that can effectively destroy the will and drive
of that person.

Lately, with the rise of the Internet, there has been a shift in perception. The world has opened up to everyone and people are becoming more exposed to other career options.

There has been a rise of lifestyle, fashion and hair bloggers, to mention a few.

We now have commentators who hold interesting discussions on twitter that open up dialogue with other nationalities and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.

There are musicians who are reaching more people than they did before. We have comedians who put many a smile on people’s faces. In order for these to grow and to change, perceptions investment is needed.

We need to invest time and money into creative fields. If there are already drama clubs, art clubs and design schools, there should be funds available for these sectors to prosper.

If many creative people could prosper financially then maybe they would be taken seriously and, as a nation, we would take pride in our creativity.

If there are trade shows abroad that could open up trade for sculptor, potter, bead maker, leather worker etc, there should be funding for them to travel there and investment for
them to be taught how to market and promote themselves.

Areas like quality control need to be looked at so that goods can compete on a global scale. I implore people who have been successful in these fields to stand up and invest their
time and knowledge in those who need investment.

Zimbabwe is a land rich, not just in natural resources but talent and skills. This talent needs to be harnessed and nurtured into a force that can compete on the global scale.

Countries like India and Turkey are known for their textile skills like beading and embroidery. Global brands go to them for their manufacturing and production.

Imagine Zimbabwean factories producing goods for a global brand in the process providing jobs. There are many creative people who simply need a break. The global market is now
saturated with mass production goods and people are looking for goods with authenticity.

I want to buy “Made in Africa” goods more so I want to own a good quality “Made in Zimbabwe” piece.

I dream of walking down the streets of London and people asking me where I got my trendsetter shoes from and I will proudly tell them they are a product of Zimbabwe. After all, I am a made-in-Zimbabwe creative.

Pamela is a Zimbabwean fashion journalist and fashion accessory designer based in the United Kingdom. She can be contacted on pamsamasuwo@live.co.uk

    Comments (1)

    The NACZ should explain what the police clearance was all about and when it was introduced? Was the clearance to be obtained from the police in the country where the artists came from or from the police in Zimbabwe. Did the police and Immigration why the performing arts youths from South Africa, Mozambique and Norway were deported for not having police clearance. Is it the Department of Immigration that revoke the police clearance of the ZRP?

    Vene VeBasa - 18 August 2014

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