Kazembe promises to craft arts policy

HARARE - Sport, Arts and Recreation minister Kazembe Kazembe has promised artists that his ministry would craft a policy to assist funding of the arts sector which is underfunded.

This comes as artists have raised complaints that the industry was not well supported.

“They are at the centre stage of the economic revival of Zimbabwe, the arts offer a distinctive brand of benefits that include employment creation and contribution to the gross domestic product — arts can for sure sustain a nation.

“As part of the government priority, my ministry is seriously giving attention to the creation of a funding framework that will not only consolidate what is already on the ground, but establish a new and supportive environment that supports productivity,” Kazembe told several artistes who were attending National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) in Harare over the weekend.

“To ensure sustainability, government has incorporated the arts into economic revitalisation, education system, employment creation, tourism and community livelihoods.

“As a ministry we see that the Nama continues to grow and today we celebrate the 17th edition.”

At the same event, comedian Samantha Kureya, also known as Gonyeti, told the minister to do something to help artists as they were struggling, as she entertained the audience with her jokes.

National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) board member superstar Oliver Mtukudzi had earlier told the Weekend Post sister paper to the Daily News that poor funding had become the major impediment factor on operations of the supreme arts mother body in the country.

“We have convened several meetings as the board but I have realised the council is operating on a shoestring budget a development that negatively affects the organisation to execute its mandate effectively,” Mtukudzi said.

The Nacz is mainly funded by government.

“Of late, I have come to understand how the council operates. That organisation has no money and I can’t blame them for their failure to address all challenges affecting artists fully as they do not have resources. However, as the board, we are trying to make ends meet using few available resources.”

Mtukudzi was included in the Nacz board last year which was set up by the then minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage Abednico Ncube.

The board was appointed to serve for three years with effect from July 1, 2017 and the board came after the arts council operated for some time without one.

The board is expected to oversee affairs of arts council which serve to foster, develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts.

As an agency of government, it also promotes access, presentation, performance, execution and the exhibition of the arts to all citizens as enshrined in our Constitution.

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