OUT of the tourism hub of Victoria Falls emerged a music outfit called Mokoomba — which has probably become Zimbabwe’s biggest music export to the world apart from Oliver Mutukudzi — and the band continues to win hearts wherever they perform in the world.
BY ANESU MUSHAWATU
The soundtrack of their music derives its strength from their energetic songs about traditional life, history and culture in Victoria Falls.
The group has, in many ways, put Zimbabwe on the global map with their richly traditional Tonga music.
The group’s work as a cultural entity tallies with sentiments expressed by National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director Elvas Mari during a sports and culture tourism development workshop held at the Harare International Conference Centre on Thursday.
Mari said arts and culture played a critical role in boosting and developing tourism in the country and outside arts and culture, tourism would not exist.
“Arts is the reason why tourists come. They come to explore the uniqueness of Zimbabwe from our food, music to dances. That is the attraction that they follow,” he said.
Mari said the country had much to offer the world in terms of arts and culture, with four of the top five stone sculptors in the world originating from Zimbabwe. He said this was yet another drawcard that could be used to lure more tourists to the country.
Mari emphasised that without arts and culture there would be no tourism. He said: “The arts which represent the unique cultural practices in terms of how we dance, sing, the books that we write and the films that we show, our heritage and the Great Zimbabwe as a record of how we lived (in the past) is the software of tourism.”
The Nacz director stressed the importance of cultural festivals such as the Harare International Festival of the Arts and the Victoria Falls Carnival which draw thousands of foreigners as ways of attracting tourists to the country.
He spoke on the need to find ways of incorporating indigenous knowledge systems, through traditional leaders, to help ensure that the tourism products are more attractive and can be used to draw more tourists.
Mari encouraged tourism authorities to ensure that the galleries across the country were scanned and made easily accessible to make tourists’ visits memorable.
He said it was important to have various arts centres and hailed the government initiative to have arts centres all over the country for the enjoyment of both local and international tourists.