RURAL Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage minister, Abednico Ncube on Saturday said the government is committed to funding the arts sector, but was struggling due to economic sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Ncube made the remarks while speaking to NewsDay on the side lines of the launch of national Culture Week at Nyava High School in Musana, Bindura.
“It is our wish to fund our arts and that is why the President (Robert Mugabe) created this ministry, but in a number of cases, we have had financial problems that have resulted from economic sanctions, otherwise we are willing to fund,” he said.
For a long time, players in the local arts industry have criticised the government for failing to fund the arts and culture sector, leaving it to survive on donations, hindering the growth of the sector, which has lagged behind its regional counterparts.
While, addressing the gathering that included traditional chiefs drawn from Mashonaland Central, legislators, civic leaders, artists and cultural practitioners, Ncube said the celebration of cultural diversity is a very important aspect of the broad mandate of his ministry.
“Culture Week is critical, as it provides a platform for all of us to see ourselves as part of the other. It (Culture Week) continues to be an important activity in all communities of Zimbabwe, as it forms a vital aspect of our nation building. Although we may speak different languages, dance differently, and eat different food, the bottom line is we are all Africans and Zimbabweans,” he said.
“We remain proud to be Zimbabweans and at the same time part of the global community. We need to ensure that we continue to respect, embrace and safeguard all our unique cultural aspects for prosperity.”
Ncube urged communities to safeguard their cultural practices, saying no matter how small a community may be, its unique cultural contribution to Zimbabwe cannot be ignored adding that if it is under threat of extinction hands should be joined to safeguard it.
He said it is culture that defines and instils pride, and a sense of identity in people, which is imperative for them to recognise the cultural practices that identify them.
The sentiments were echoed by Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson of the Chiefs Council. Senator Clemence Nembire, who urged people to appreciate and preserve the country’s diverse cultures, and desist from copying foreign ones.
Nembire bemoaned the increase in the disappearance of cultural values among youths, describing it as a cause for concern, as he also took a swipe on the type of their dressing and language.
“When the girls are bathing, they lock the door, after taking a bath, they again lock themselves for makeup, but surprisingly, when they go out, they are naked. Is this our culture? No, so allow us to teach them our culture,” he said.
“Fashion, we have, yes, it is nice, but it does not say be naked.”
Nembire also criticised the Brazilian Samba girls, who were in the country during the recent editions of the Harare International Carnival.
“Tourism is good, but not the tourism of being naked. They came from Brazil and parade themselves naked in our streets, we do not want that,” he said.
Nembire later appreciated the new curriculum introduced in schools, saying it will help to safeguard the country’s culture from grassroots.
Guests at the event were entertained by Andy Muridzo and his Jeetaz Band, 2016 Chibuku Road to Fame national winners, Blacksight, Bindura-based sungura group, Mahindekinde Stars, renowned poet, Albert Nyathi, Panganayi Mutukwa and some traditional dance groups.
Culture Week is commemorated as part of the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity by Unesco, which proclaimed May 21, as the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
After Saturday’s launch, the week-long programme will now spread to the country’s 10 provinces and commemorated until May 26 under the theme Consolidating Cultural Identity, Diversity and Heritage.