We don't monopolise arts funding: Culture Fund

HARARE - Culture Fund director Farai Mfunya says other organisations are free to source funds on behalf of Zimbabwean artistes.

Several artists who attended the Arterial Network All Stakeholders Conference held in Harare last December spoke against the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe’s alleged monopoly on donor funds meant for the arts and creative industries.

But in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mfunya  said his organisation was not created to monopolise arts funding.

“We never said that since we collect money, no other body can collect funds as well. People are free to form their own organisations that can disburse the funds,” he said.

“The money we get is obviously not enough to give everyone who requires it. We might get funds totalling two million dollars but people who would have applied might want eight. So we assess every request and application, then we give what we feel is right.”

The Culture Fund director added that his organisation attempts as far as is possible to fund diverse arts disciplines.

“If you go to our website you will find that we disburse funds to different people that apply and these have different projects they work on. There are also no limits on how much we can get from the sponsors; we get as much money as possible for the funding on operations of the arts,” said Mfunya.

Mufunya said the Culture Fund was a creation of the Zimbabwean arts sector.

“The Culture Fund came out of the arts sector. The first meeting was attended by prominent players in the field that include Cont Mhlanga, Daves Guzha, Tsitsi Dangarembga and others,” he explained.

“They made it clear that they wanted an organisation to source funding and disburse to the arts sector and that is how we were set up. We look for money that is the mandate we were given and from that money we then distribute to those that would have applied. Our core business (as the Culture Fund secretariat) is to look for money and the board then works on the disbursement,” he added.

The Culture Fund boss emphasised that money is only allocated to applicants after a thorough analysis.

“There are different categories for applications and that is how we give out money. Some apply just for travelling to different festivals and we sit down and look at how it will benefit the arts sector, if it falls within our mandate and how it benefits the country as well,” he said.

“Then there are bigger grants. We also make assessments on how relevant that project is, how credible the organisation is and other factors. Most people are asking for two or three times more than we can provide. We are a small organisation so we just work with what we have,” he said.

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