Nacz slammed for double booking events

HARARE - Artistes have slammed the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) for clearing the Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) and the Nacz’s Arts and Culture Indaba which will both take place on October 29.

Zima, making a comeback after a seven-year break, will take place at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) while the Arts and Culture Indaba will be held in Bulawayo.

Last month, Intwasa and Shoko also clashed on dates although one was happening in Harare with the other in Bulawayo which meant performing artistes were torn between the two major events.

Zima will award musicians from across the country for their excellence and creativity as well as provide a high profile and multi-faceted celebration of the rich cultural diversity of Zimbabwean music while the Arts and Culture Indaba is an annual event in which the arts and culture sector maps the way forward for the arts at a two-day function.

It is a platform for stakeholders in the arts and culture sector to meet and dialogue on issues affecting the development and future of the sector, as well as taking stock of sector achievements and challenges.

Due to the fact that the two events will happen on the same day, officials from Nacz and even the ministry of Arts and Culture will find it difficult to be at these two functions. Arts and Culture minister Andrew Langa will also have a dilemma because both events are under his purview.

In trying to play down the clash of dates, both Zima and Nacz yesterday issued a joint statement saying: “Nacz and Zima met and agreed that the two events would continue and logistical arrangements have been put in place to ensure the two events happen successfully.

“All efforts have been made to ensure that both events take place concurrently and smoothly with the full support of key stakeholders in the arts and culture sector,” read part of the statement.

Writer and public speaker Rabison Shumba said success in any sector requires some level of order.

“Yes, the two organisations discussed this clash but you will not achieve much when you see each other as competition. There is need for collaboration.

“One of the organisations was supposed to adjust the moment they realised that another organisation of a similar stature has an event on the same date.

“It is different from Tuku playing in Harare and Macheso in Chitungwiza. It is not a split of attention as the two have different audiences.

“In this particular case, the organisations have similar mandates and a split is tantamount to half-baked, mediocre and lowly attended events. I would suggest that they both reconsider.

“In this case it would be Zima because they adjusted their dates and possibly National Arts had already pencilled their event in advance. This is the same pot, let us cook it together. Unity creates progress not rivalry that confuses the market.”

Shumba added that what will happen is that those in Harare will attend the awards and those in Bulawayo the arts indaba.

“Already there is division which should not happen at all, we need those in Bulawayo in Harare and those in Harare in Bulawayo,” he said.

Arts practitioner Josh Nyapimbi said the development makes him wonder if Zimbabwe already has a public or official arts and culture calendar of events.

“Ideally, there should be an online platform administered by Nacz if dates are already booked with other events the system should not take double bookings.

“However, I believe Nacz and Zima could still have negotiated for separate dates for these events; it surely makes more sense that way and demonstrates better organisation and planning in the arts and culture sector, which has been one of our weakest points.

“As it stands currently, it is just totally ridiculous, how is this possible when all arts events must get registered through Nacz. It is blatant sabotage that is how it comes across.

“It is also a bad signal to allow the music industry (or a part thereof) to consider they separate from the culture sector. That is helping no one. We had a similar clash of festival dates between Intwasa and Shoko and now there is a replay of the same!

“I urge the Nacz to do more in this area through their director responsible for arts promotion. We cannot allow this to continue,” he said.

Poet Mbizo Chirasha said though Nacz and Zima agreed on the October 29 date, “they need to be able to give each other space because these events are all very important. Stakeholders from the arts and culture industry may want to attend both, but as it is they cannot.”

Zenzele Ndebele believes “the arts sector should learn to coordinate events especially when it involves the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe.”

Music publicist Ivan Vava said it does not make any sense to host these events at the same time. “I believe both processes are equally important and the organisers should have coordinated to do the events on separate occasions.”

Mbira maker Albert Chimedza said this development meant lack of communication between the organisers of the two events. “The Zima dates have been moved before. Perhaps the indaba can be postponed to a later date.”

Playwright Leonard Matsa said it is obvious Zima will attract the cream of the music sector who should be at the Indaba making relevant, broad and critical sectorial contributions without haste.

“Either Zima organisers did not genuinely have the Indaba’s dates — which apparently is now an annual event! Or they forgot them in the hectic rescheduling, otherwise how do you explain such an unfortunate and undesirable clash?

“In fact, the perennial clashing of key arts events in Zimbabwe should now be justified to appear prominently on the Indaba’s agenda. We cannot expect to get the arts anywhere if we cannot do small things like scheduling. And all in the glare of sponsors!”

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