The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) has since its inception in 1998, developed and made some major landmark achievements, to become the authority and regulator of arts and culture in Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture transferred all cultural activities including those that were executed by the Literature Bureau to NACZ, and appointed a nine-member board to spearhead this transformation. In the past 25 years, with regards to the mission of the organisation, NACZ has achieved a lot in the development of the arts sector and has over the years partnered with different stakeholders in the arts sector, government and private sector in ensuring that its objectives are fulfilled,” NACZ marketing and communications manager, Tafadzwa Chidoori.
He said to this end Delta Corporation has been the biggest corporate partner of the NACZ, funding programmes such as the Chibuku Road to Fame and Chibuku Neshamwari among other partner programmes.
Chidoori said it was the NACZ’s wish that their public and private partnership would grow to an extent that the corporate sector would be the largest funders of the arts and culture Industry in Zimbabwe.
“However, lack of funding is still the major hindering factor in the full development of the sector and despite these constraints NACZ has been the mainstay of arts development and promotion.”
He said through their programmes, such as the National Arts Merit Awards, Culture Week, and Jikinya Dance Festival, NACZ has been a catalyst in the growth of the arts industry, which has since led to a steady growth in employment figures contributed by the arts sector.
Chidoori said the NACZ has ensured that Zimbabwean artists took their place in the global market and on the international scene. Under the auspices of NACZ, Zimbabwean culture has been exported to other countries.
“We have been critical about the participation of Zimbabwean artists at regional and international levels; Zimbabwean stone sculpture, mbira, marimba and music has spilled over both regionally and internationally.”
He said this had resulted in a steady rise in cultural ambassadors from Zimbabwe, who have since received very high accolades overseas like Dominic Benhura (sculpture), Oliver Mutukudzi (musician), Cont Mhlanga (theatre) and Tsitsi Dangarembga (film and literature), to mention a few among those who have carried the torch of Zimbabwean arts and culture to different parts of the world.
Chidoori said through the lead of the NACZ today, arts and cultural products are found in all homes in one form or the other, irrespective of status.
“We are currently working on a number of projects, like the Cell-ebrity Funeral Fund, to improve the welfare of the artists and it is our goal that by 2013 the arts sector will contribute about 10% of the GDP.”
Chidoori said this would be achieved through facilitating the growth of diverse, dynamic arts and cultural industries that foster national identity.
He said NACZ looked at the next 25 years as years that will see the arts sector taking its place in the economic development of the country.
“NACZ also looks to lead through private partnership the construction of cultural centres that will help in the professionalisation of the arts industry in Zimbabwe.”
The policy position that ensured that there be 75% local content in programming on both radio and television in 2000 is one of the major achievements that the organisation has realised.
In 2001 NACZ was the founding member of International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies in Canada.
In 2003, government gazetted a Statutory Instrument 136 of 2003 that allowed artists to import musical, broadcasting, recording and PA systems duty-free and NACZ was instrumental in the creation of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, a funding body created by artists and supported by funds from Sida.
In the same year NACZ came up with the policy of provincial arts festivals, the first of which was the famous Intwasa Arts Festival in Bulawayo in 2004 in all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe succeeded to lobby for the proclamation of jerusarema/mbende traditional dance as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity by the director-general of Unesco in November 2005.
This year 2010, the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe in partnership with Cell Funeral Assurance Company established a Cell-ebrity Funeral Cover which provides decent and affordable funeral cover and services to the artists of Zimbabwe.