Artistes and arts practitioners have congratulated newly appointed National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director, Nicholas Moyo and challenged him to turn around the arts body.
Moyo who has been with the NACZ for over 20 years was elevated to the post of director from deputy director on Monday. He takes over from Elvas Mari who retired in April this year.
Congratulating Moyo, Nkululeko Dube, Iyasa director said his appointment was well deserved.
“He’s a seasoned arts administrator who has worked with a lot of artists. He therefore has a good background on the trials and tribulations of the sector. I personally hope that he can help this sector to claim its rightful position in the country’s GDP.
“The National Arts Council needs to be active rather than passive in helping artists achieve their various goals. It needs to have authority rather than be a symbolic structure of the Government. I look forward to policies that are healthy for the growth of the arts in the country — policies that attract investors and international synergies,” Dube said.
Dub poet Albert Nyathi said: “This is a welcome development as we hope to move forward as an arts industry. Nicholas Moyo is experienced and taking over from Elvas Mari, he knows what has to be done.”
Nyathi said people needed to give Moyo time as it is no walk in the park running NACZ.
“It’s not easy to run the National Arts Council so he (Moyo) has to be given a chance to come up with ideas on the way forward. We’re all very excited and congratulations to him,” he said.
Comedian Carl Joshua Ncube who has worked with Moyo before at the arts council said:
“What I like about Nicholas Moyo is that he’s an arts practitioner. I’ve always enjoyed our working relationship as he always listens to people and gives advice.
“I wish him all the best and I’m super excited about the future of the arts industry as this is a person who engages with artistes.”
Playwright, Raisedon Baya said: “It’s one of the best decisions that they’ve made (appointing Moyo). He’s someone we know and he’s familiar with the sector. He knows the challenges facing the arts sector and what needs to be done.”
TV personality Arthur Evans said he was hopeful that Moyo would give Bulawayo arts the attention it deserves.
“Having met Mr Nick Moyo before, I’m really happy that his appointment has been finalised. Being a Bulawayo boy, one will obviously hope that the capital of arts (Bulawayo) will get the requisite attention.
“I hope for the education of artistes to create business models as they’ve done a lot to develop their art, but not much has been done to translate that art to requisite revenue. So, some workshops by NACZ will be good and linkages to corporates,” said Evans.
Gospel musician Tatenda Mahachi while congratulating Moyo challenged him to engage Government and revise the issue of work permits and fees charged for foreign artistes when they come to Zimbabwe.
“Congratulations to Mr Nicholas Moyo on this appointment. We’re happy because change was needed at the National Arts Council. As an artiste, there’re a lot of things we expect from Mr Moyo’s leadership such as the issue of charging foreign artistes a lot of money to perform here.
“In South Africa, their arts council works hand in hand with artistes, different from here because when foreign artistes want to come and perform, a lot of monies are charged. These are some of the things they need to work on as the charges are too high,” Mahachi said.
He also challenged Moyo to be open-minded and look for ways to improve the National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) that have, for the past editions, been receiving a major backlash. Nama is organised by the NACZ.
“We’re also looking forward to an improved National Arts Merit Awards ceremony and hope Mr Moyo will be open-minded and change these awards to make them better.”
Mgcini Nyoni, an award-winning photographer said Moyo’s success lay in the hands of Government which he said needs to support the arts for NACZ to thrive.
“When it comes to National Arts Council, we cannot talk of Nicholas Moyo in his individual capacity. He works within the mandate derived from central government. As long as central government is not serious about the arts and culture sector, the NAC will just be there for decorative purposes,” Nyoni said.
Hip Hop musician POY said: “As an artist, I’m expecting the director of the arts council to do more for artists. Most people that represent artists sit and do nothing for the lives of artists.
“He should look into educating and financially empowering artistes through programmes such as the Culture Fund. The National Arts Council should also be a guarantor for artists to access loans from banks and other financial institutions in order for them to invest in income generating projects that will better their lives,” POY said.
Axe-wielding musician Madlela Skhobokhobo said: “I don’t know much about him, but change is always good. Let’s just hope he’ll have a heart for artists. We wish him well.”
Zimbabwe Hip Hop Awards chairman Aldrian Beefy Harrison said Moyo had a big task ahead of him as there are a lot of policies that need to be revisited.
“Mr Moyo needs to revise music promoters’ licence fees. We have very passionate promoters but they can’t afford to register so that we can have more international shows.
“I also feel we need a music fund that focuses on different urban culture genres. The arts council must support local initiatives and help local promoters instead of discouraging them through outrageous charges,” Harrison said.
Sandra Ndebele said she hoped their fight for the emancipation of the arts industry would prevail.
Another musician, Lady Tshawe said: It’s really exciting to hear that Nicholas Moyo is now director of NACZ. Finally we have someone who may champion the cause of artists outside Harare.
“I’m hopeful that there’s going to be a great outcome in the entertainment industry with him as leader. Wish him all the best.”