Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation minister Kazembe Kazembe yesterday said plans were underway to set up the Thomas Mapfumo Foundation to assist upcoming musicians and help develop the music industry. The sector has been counting huge losses in the face of an economic crisis that has seen many people turning to music piracy for survival.
BY ANESU MUSHAWATU
Speaking during a meeting with the legendary Chimurenga musician popularly known as Mukanya at the former’s office in Harare, Kazembe said it was important for parents to help nurture their children’s artistic talents, which would be then sharpened through institutions such as the envisioned Mukanya foundation.
He commended the musician for the initiative, which he said had government support.
“Mukanya has come up with a sound initiative and the government will do the best that we can to support it,” he said.
He admitted that the current copyright law was not strong enough and noted that there was need to put in place stringent anti-piracy laws to deter piracy.
“The existing laws are not deterrent enough and we are working with a think tank to come up with something punitive to deter people from pirating,” he said, adding that both artistes and the government were losing out in terms of revenue.
Mukanya said he had observed in the United States that parents allowed children to freely explore their talents.
“They do not force their children to be doctors when they are naturally artistic. Instead, they identify and nurture whatever the child is good at by supporting them to be the best that they can be,” he said.
Mukanya bemoaned widespread piracy in the country, saying he was shocked to discover that a single CD carrying 12 of his albums was going for just 50c in the street, when it cost nearly $8 000 to produce.
“We put so much effort into coming up with these CDs and our efforts go unnoticed, like right now we are coming up with a new CD and have already used about $8 000. All in all, we will need about $20 000 only for it to be sold at 50 cents. The government should gazette stringent laws and those found wanting should be locked away for years,” he said.
Mukanya returned to Zimbabwe for the first time in over a decade last week ahead of his one-off Welcome Back Bira at the Glamis Arena at Harare Exhibition Park this Saturday.