Establish arts joints, govt urged

HARARE - Government has been urged to establish arts centres for the benefit of artistes in the country.

This comes after privately-owned prime-joints such as the popular Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) and 7 Arts Theatre have raised their charges beyond the reach of many event organisers.  

HICC is said to be charging about $30 000 per night while 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale fluctuates around $7 000 per night.  

As a result, the bulk of event organisers have moved away from using the prime venues in major towns due to suffocating prices. Of late, event organisers are opting for more affordable though sometimes substandard venues.

On New Year’s Eve, promoters of the Thomas Mapfumo Peace Tour had to change the venue from HICC to a hideout in Southerton at the last minute.

Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) chairperson Joseph Nyadzayo told the Daily News the prevailing situation, in showbiz, is not sustainable.

“In our case, we need three days of setting up the stage, hence there is no way we can raise close to $100 000 to book the venue for three days. I urge the owners to consider the plight of the people.

“On the other hand, we urge government to establish arts venues around the country,” Nyadzayo said.

Dancers Association of Zimbabwe president Hapaguti “Harpers” Mapimhidze concurred with Nyadzayo.

“We know things are hard in Zimbabwe but government should do something on arts. We are relying on private joints and sporting facilities. Artistes will remain poor if we continue relying on private joints,” Mapimhidze said.

Government-owned facilities, such as the Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza, are relatively affordable.

The giant sporting facility, that often hosts musical concerts, charges between $1 200 and $2 000 per day. However, the figure is set to double in the near future.

Other joints in the form of City Sports Centre in Harare charge between $2 000 and $4 000 per day.


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