Performing artists should be proud to be based in Bulawayo and produce their works from here so that the city’s entertainment sector may continue to blossom, the city’s mayor Thaba Moyo has said.
Moyo was addressing artists paticipating in Ibumba Arts Festival who came to pay a courtesy call on him at the Small City Hall Friday.
The artists comprised Abanqobi Bomhlaba from South Africa, representatives of Africa Directions (Zambia), Tumbuka Dance Company (Harare), Black Sea (Victoria Falls), Siyaya Arts — the hosts, as well as Maggie Mackay, a producer from Australia.
“Some artists leave Bulawayo and go to Harare, making the Sunshine City great in the arts. We want you to stay here so that when visitors come, they may see how great our city is,” he said.
“Bulawayo is the cultural hub of Zimbabwe. We are qualified to talk about the arts and others will follow.”
He said the municipality had set aside a piece of land in Nkulumane where an arts centre was to be built.
“We want the place to be used by youngsters in the city. They must use it for rehearsal purposes. We want to get the youngsters off the streets. What we don’t want to see is a situation whereby young people patronise bottle stores when they should be doing something productive,” said the mayor.
He said the council had always urged Cont Mhlanga of Amakhosi Theatre Arts to groom talent in the city.
The mayor also said that he would get in touch with Ethekwini Municipality in South Africa, a twin city with Bulawayo, to find ways of having artists from the two cities working together.
“You must collaborate with big artists,” he said.
“We wish you the best in your endeavours as artists in Bulawayo”.
Simon Mambazo Phiri, Ibumba festival director said the visit was meant to have the mayor welcome the artists to the city.
“We are here to meet the mayor and present you with an award we won in August at the Endinburgh International Fringe where we were among the top three performers from all the arts groups,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, popular dub poet Albert Nyathi said he was the “undeclared cultural ambassador” for Bulawayo and promised the mayor that he would continue to support the arts in the city.