Artists celebrate Uhuru Day

HARARE – Artistes from all walks of life said they would join the nation in celebrating Independence Day although little has been done to uplift their sector.

The artistes called on the new government to spare a thought at their industry and treat them as professionals who can contribute to nation-building.

Guitarist and music producer Mono Mkundu said his independence message is that being patriotic is not belonging to a certain political party.

“Let’s be patriotic and celebrate this hard-won freedom.

“As we celebrate the new dispensation we just hope that the government will spare a thought about our music industry, ever since independence the previous governments have never built a single institution or building for the arts.

“They also turned a blind eye towards our problem with music pirates, hence I hope the new government will do something.”

Afro musician and 2018 presidential candidate Bryn Mteki said this year’s independence celebrations are special to him as he will fight it out for the presidency in the up-coming harmonised elections.

“I am so inspired with the turn of events this year and it will be a special year for me as I launch my presidential bid and it can be a year again when I become the next president of Zimbabwe,” said Mteki.

In a rare gamble, the stylish dreadlocked musician and international stone sculptor has thrown his name in the big political bag fighting for the presidency.

“As an artiste and businessman, I am inspired by the freedom that we enjoy, so this day is important to my artistic career, my businesses and now my political career,” said Mteki.

Gospel singer Wenyasha Chingono urged all Zimbabweans to take time to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for the liberation of this country regardless of political affiliation.

“It is their effort that has given us the freedom to express ourselves in artistic form, musically that is. It is my hope that Zimbabwe uses this freedom to better herself and mature to become a nation that is envied the world over.

“And 38 years is no mean achievement so Zimbabwe has to stand up and be counted and this takes a collective effort from all Zimbabweans to work towards making this country great again,” said Chingono.

Playwright Cont Mhlanga said as we celebrate this day we must always remember to nurture political maturity that must be visible through national unity and solid unity within political parties.

“Intra-party squabbles, breakaway parties, political violence and factions are an indication of how young and immature challenges must not cloudy the importance of our independence as these conditions will one day be a thing of the past,” said Mhlanga.

Arts practitioner and Nhimbe Trust director Josh Nyapimbi said in the midst of the persecution that we are constantly subjected to by elements within the ruling party “coupled with a clear lack of political will to improve the status of the artist and creative industry, the true meaning of independence remains an illusion.”

National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe deputy director Raphael Chikukwa said this is a historic independence and herewith a simple message to the arts world.

“Let’s keep arts and culture alive as we move forward, for there are no people without arts and culture. Arts and culture has a role to play in soft diplomacy and we have not been able to harness it. In harnessing arts and culture as a soft diplomacy, we move to restore what we had lost in the past 37 years.

“The rest of the western world use culture as soft diplomacy and if we cannot beat them let’s join them making sure that our culture is visible in our diplomatic missions and also to continue international exhibitions like the Venice Biennnale and art forums in Africa and around the world,” said Chikukwa.

Actor Stxy Mhlanga said: “As we celebrate this year’s Independence Day that comes at a time when the new dispensation is working very hard to brand the country as a business friendly destination, the leaders should not run around alone trying to market the country and give it a good image leaving behind the creative industries in shambles because that’s where the real branding of a country is about that song, that book, that film, that play, that design, that festival, that painting, that gifted athlete where we should fight for our space in the global market... and that way we will be able to brand our country well as a business destination.

“This is more so in a country like ours that has been isolated from the rest of the world for a very long time.”

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