STAKEHOLDERS in the arts industry in Bulawayo have expressed hope for a brighter 2018 following a largely gloomy 2017 during which crippling economic challenges saw very little movement in the industry.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Intwasa director Raisedon Baya described 2017 as a difficult year as funding for works of art was hamstrung by the economic ills afflicting the nation.
“The year has been tough as we faced challenges like resources’ shortage. Looking at the (Intwasa) festival, some would promise to support the festival, but eventually pull out. Very few festivals managed to run this year due to the tough economic situation and I am at least happy that we were among the few, that did something,” he said.
Baya expressed hope that things would loosen up to make 2018 a better year.
“In 2018, we believe that some of the things will loosen up here and there. We hope 2018 will be a great year for the industry,” he said.
Iyasa founder, Nkululeko Dube, concurred with Baya, citing the cash shortages as the major challenge in 2017.
“2017 brought about mixed returns for the arts. It’s an industry that thrives on availability of resources. When people have the extra dollar to spend, then the artistes benefit. I would say the shortage of cash and struggling economy did not do us any good. We hope 2018 brings us better fortunes,” he said.
He appealed to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to pay attention to the arts and culture sector.
“We need the new government to give long overdue attention to the sector and facilitate the growth of the industry by creating platforms and policies that are healthy to its survival,” he said.
Umkhathi Theatre Works Company founder, Matesu Dube, also described 2017 as “a tough year” for the arts industry which was heavily dependent on the economy.
“The year was really bad! Events like Intwasa Arts Festival had poor funding. Artistes had no money to push their projects. The shortage of money really affected us and the projects we do need money,” he said.
“Since we are starting the new year with new beginnings and a new President, we are looking up for change in both the economy and the corporate world. Arts must not be about music only.”
Former Umdumo weSizwe vocalist Nkululeko “Khuliyo” Nkala however said he was at least happy that they were able to host the Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) to honour artistes from Bulawayo and the Matabeleland provinces.
“I can say the year was good as we managed to host the BAA and events like SkyzMetro’s Umcimbi wabantu. Next year we need a minister, who will see the arts as an industry not just entertainment. We also need to prove and produce quality among ourselves,” he said.
SkyzMetro FM station manager, Godwin Phiri, said he was happy that the station was able to unveil a lot of talent and said they were set to optimise on their gains in the coming year.
“As a station, we have helped to unveil a lot of unknown talent which has dominated our shows and the charts. The hosting of the SkyzMetro FM music awards, which were strictly for local artistes, is confirmation of the abundance of talent in the region. We have also introduced music festivals which will become permanent features on the arts calendar,” Phiri said.
“These are Umcimbi wabantu (an annual anniversary), the SkyzMetro Gospel Festival and the SkyzMetro FM music awards. We are engaging more stakeholders to see how we can enhance platforms for promoting local music. We, therefore, look forward with optimism to 2018 in terms of what we will be doing as a station and what other players are doing in the city.”
Top socialite, Gilmore Tee, said for him, 2017 was largely a good year and he was going to build on his achievements in 2018.
“There was so much growth in the arts industry this year. We had a lot of artistes getting new partnerships, new performance opportunities and winning awards… More artistes are taking their work seriously and approaching the industry as professionals. I am hoping to see more corporate endorsements in 2018, bridging the huge gap between the creative space and the corporate world,” he said.
Sandra Ndebele said the year was tough in the arts industry in Bulawayo and for her specifically as she battled to reposition herself.
“The year was tough for me as I was trying to reposition myself. I realised that we are not serious in arts industry as you can check artistes like Davido have more than 15 videos and I only have three. This shows that we need to work hard. In 2018, we need to produce more content. I want to become recognised internationally and watch out for more collaborations,” she said.
DJ Mzoe said 2017 was good although they experienced highs and lows and, as DJs, they were hoping for good fortunes in 2018.