STAKEHOLDERS in the arts industry say it is important for artists to confront the government without fear on issues concerning their work which is often trivialised by the authorities.
BY PRECIOUS CHIDA
The concerns followed remarks by theatre practitioner-cum-political activist Silvanos Mudzvova, who said politics was stifling creativity and the parliamentary portfolio committee for arts was staffed by people not conversant with the arts.
“Artists always complain about lack of funding from the government. However, the complaints are raised behind closed-door meetings among the artists themselves as they can’t openly complain directly to the government or any of its officials,” the award-winning actor said.
“I have always raised the question: Why don’t we write opinion articles, give Press statements, create artistic products protesting about this situation? The answer is: ‘I don’t want to get involved in politics’.”
Arts promoter, Benjamin Nyandoro, admitted that, while it was important for people in the creative sectors to advocate for change and get their work taken seriously, many artists do not want to be involved with the government.
“Artists hold a bigger responsibility beyond the ordinary folk. An artist, though it’s a choice, is expected to exercise the role model tag and stand out to make things right. Artists should speak out for more than their respective sector, but for all livelihood issues, but it remains their decision to look at themselves as individuals,” he said.
He said many shunned politics and interfacing with the government because politics was regarded as “a dirty game”.
Jazz sensation, Eve Kawadza said although the arts sector was important to the economy, the cash-strapped government was not injecting enough resources into the industry, while artists were not being afforded a platform to air out their grievances.
“As the arts industry, we really need government backup for good returns because Zimbabwe is rich with talent, but I personally feel the government is not doing enough to fund the sector,” she said, adding that artists needed a voice to speak to the authorities.
During a tour of Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts Centre by Rural Development minister Abednigo Ncube on Wednesday, the music superstar said the government did not value artists.
“We have the problem that the government does not look at us as an entity. They only feel our importance when they want us to perform and when we tell them that we are busy, they don’t take it lightly,” he said.