Godwin Muzari Arts and Lifestyle Editor
Government is committed to working with the arts and culture industry to ensure stakeholders in the sector contribute to national economic development in various ways, the President has said.
Speaking at the official launch of Culture Week at the Glamis Arena on Saturday, President Mnangagwa said the development of suitable infrastructure to expand the creative industry will be done with “greater urgency”.
“My Government is committed to working with the arts, culture and heritage sector in order to position its cultural and creative industries as vital cogs in the recovery machinery of our economy. Every player in the arts and culture sector is important,” he said.
The President said the sector is important in creating jobs and promoting tourism, which are key elements in economic development.
“The nation will yield multi-faceted benefits such as creation of jobs, expansion of our tourism and earning of foreign currency. As such, development of suitable infrastructure within our communities to grow the creative industries will be attended to with greater urgency in the Second Republic.
“It is therefore pleasing to note that some organisations are already creating synergies to market Zimbabwe as a business destination on matters of arts and culture as well as creating markets for consumption of these goods and services.”
He gave an example of how local cultural products like traditional music and dance are popular in the West. He said some countries in the West have imposed sanctions on the nation, but they continue consuming and enjoying our arts and cultural products.
The President urged stakeholders in creative industries to fully play their roles to realise benefits from their works and also contribute to national development.
“I urge you all to interrogate the economic maze and determine what role you should play in making the value chain well-oiled, functional, and beneficial to your industry, yourselves and the nation as a whole.
“I encourage the Ministry (of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation) to continue to facilitate the necessary environment that is needed by artists to produce, package, and distribute their goods and services in a manner that enriches all, without prejudicing their creative impulses and energies.”
He condemned piracy and said the practice must be stopped so that people work in unison “respecting each other’s ideas, intellectual property and copyrights for a viable and creative sector”.
The President urged all Zimbabweans to share and display their cultural diversity. He said the education sector must work towards promotion of cultural heritage.
“I challenge the entire education sector to play a positive part in preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage through research and diversified practice.”
He challenged young artistes to take a leaf from the lives of legends like Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, Charles Mungoshi and Dorothy Masuka who were cultural ambassadors.
Culture Week is running under the theme “African Royalty: Our Heritage” and events to celebrate the week are being held throughout the country until May 25.
At the launch ceremony, players in the arts and culture sector exhibited their products and services while a number of performers entertained guests.
Various traditional dance groups as well as musicians like Alick Macheso, Janet Manyowa, Dziva Rembira and Jah Signal performed at the event.