3 December 2017

Zimbabwe: Uproar Over Separation of Arts From Culture

Following the announcement of a new cabinet on Thursday there has been an outcry in the arts sector regarding the separation of the arts portfolio from culture in the new set up.

The creative sector will be under the ministry of Sport, Arts and Recreation while Home Affairs has been merged with culture.

In an interview with The Standard Style on Friday, venerated playwright Raisedon Baya said it was impractical to separate the two as artists were a reflection of the nation's everyday life.

"We do not understand the logic of splitting arts and culture because artistes are ultimately cultural workers," said Baya.

"My thinking is that perhaps since it is now under Home Affairs, maybe they want to make sure it falls directly under chiefs but it is not right because culture goes beyond traditional leaders."

Baya lamented government's slackening of commitment towards the arts industry as it was treated as the least important in resource allocation.

"We hope that in terms of resources the minister will be able to allocate resources fairly because every time the arts portfolio is merged with another we get second priority," he said.

According to Baya the new minister of Sport, Arts and Recreation Kazembe Kazembe ought to follow worldwide trends where arts are influencing development and innovation if there is ever going to be progress.

"The problem is that they change ministers all the time and we are hardly progressing because of that so our plight also is that we want to be recognised as a full sector not this merging, which in the end results in us getting less attention," suggested reverred Afro Jazz musician Jeys Marabini.

Marabini added that the arts were not "being taken seriously" locally hence the mergers yet in essence they broadly affect every aspect of life.

"It is not practical because arts is a portrayal of culture and shows that they do not take us seriously. It is very wrong because art is very broad and deserves a standalone ministry," he said.

A recent victim of what he viewed as tribal heckling at the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Marabini also called for urgent action by the new minister to stop animosity on tribal lines in the country.

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