Monday, March 27, 2023

Shot in the arm for Manicaland Arts and Culture sector

Branton Matondo

Creative artists and the rest of the arts sector from Manicaland province are set to benefit from a nationwide European Union (EU) funded programme enforced by Culture Fund which will see individuals, institutions, culture organizations, focal groups and unions receive funding for their projects.
The official European fund tagged at €2 million is expected to finance projects from approved proposals received across all ten provinces.
Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry on February 24 launched the nationwide programme dubbed Creative Actions 2.
Addressing arts and culture personnel from Manicaland at Courtauld Theatre in Mutare on March 9, 2023, Culture Fund Executive Director Farai Mupfunya said the programme will go for 36 months as it seeks to target projects tackling challenges affecting Zimbabwe’s arts and culture industry.
“The response has been very good. The programme targets not just artists but creators from academics, teachers and instructors of music. We also expect that those who come and attend the sessions also go and equip others with the necessary knowledge. The response has been productive looking at the fact that people ask technical questions on how to apply and seek clarity on issues that are supported and not supported.
“In line with stipulations of the fund, interested individuals will have their proposals assessed by a panel of delegates from the local and regional cultural front,” said Mupfunya.
He added that Creative Actions 2 targets an array of sectors though there are other sectors on the fall out.
“People have raised talk on whether Creative Actions 2 supports the construction and refurbishment of culture hubs or not but unfortunately the fund does not support that because there are a lot of complications in that sector not forgetting that they are complicated to manage. Hence the programme is mainly for activities that are that span to a maximum of 12 months” he added.
Culture Fund Programme Facilitator Simbarashe Mudhokwana highlighted that Creative Actions 2 runs under three mantras which are capacity building, innovation and policy development (National Development Strategy 1).
Responding to government lobbying support on the culture sector, Mupfunya said it is a priority to have government come in and add resources to the project meant to facilitate the change of arts and culture in Zimbabwe.
“We are not government but we really expect government support in putting more money and resources. We have argued our case to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Culture Fund delegation will head to Murehwa Cultural Centre in Mashonaland East, Marondera, Bindura and Chinhoyi. Besides the funding of projects, Culture Fund also supports training courses, festivals, book launches, exchange programmes, culture based technological innovations, e-commerce and a plethora of sectors,” said Mupfunya.
National Arts Council (NAC) Provincial Manager Caroline Makoni said the programme by Culture Fund is equally beneficial to women as it is to men.
“The programme is important to women as it is equally important to men but specifically to women because we know that their participation of in the arts sector is limited. We encourage women to participate and get funding because it gives them an incentive which is important for them as a marginalized entity.
“Most of the challenges being faced by our fellow colleagues revolve around the issue of funding. There is a big gap in terms of funding projects in Manicaland. In terms of infrastructure, we are looking at offices, rehearsal space and spaces where they can operate from,” said Makoni.
Redwing Traditional Dancers group Director Tupele Mudhala who benefited from the first grant which spanned from 2020 to 2021 said the fund is a great opportunity which should be utilized by artists.
“As has been said in the meeting today the major challenge facing creative artists is infrastructure or innovation hubs. You find out that many people have standing projects that lack a physical platform. I have been a beneficiary of the fund in the past. I have managed to change the sector of operation in Penhalonga because l bought resources from the funds,” said Mudhala.
Zimbabwean culture and arts industry has over the years been hampered by lack of resources which has seen promising talent being wasted.

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