STAKEHOLDERS in the arts industry have commended the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) for its resource mobilisation initiative, which has seen the council engaging an independent marketing and resource mobilisation consultant Farai Magombedze to help rake in resources.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Of late, NACZ has been under fire from arts stakeholders for its failure to bankroll programmes for creatives and mobilise worthy prizes for their annual National Arts Merit Awards.
NACZ chairperson Herbert Chimhundu said the marketing and resource mobilisation consultant position has been created by the board to boost efforts by management to transform the arts council into a viable organisation that will play a catalytic role in the development of vibrant, professional and sustainable creative arts and cultural industries in Zimbabwe.
Magombedze reports to the director and has been tasked to identify investors, agencies and partners that can work with the council to mobilise material and financial resources to promote and support the growth of the arts and culture sector.
Among other tasks, Magombedze must help transform the NACZ into a visible, vibrant and well-resourced organisation, building a strong financial base to facilitate the effective co-ordination and support of the development of arts and cultural programmes.
He will also be expected to revive the Arts Development Fund as the vehicle through which the council will be able to assist artists and support arts promotion and development in the country.
In a separate interview with NewsDay Life &Style yesterday, some creatives shared similar sentiments, saying NACZ had taken the right direction in the discharge of its primary responsibility in promoting arts and culture
Music management and marketing company, Jive Zimbabwe executive director Benjamin Nyandoro, said the council had finally realised the missing piece and they were looking forward to a significant paradigm shift.
“The body has structurally responded to fulfil its primary mandate, being to promote arts and culture in Zimbabwe.
However, we cannot again be complacent and celebrate creation of a position. We need to see very specific performance indicators that quantify and qualify the contribution value of the new office and the body as a whole,” he said.
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Network for Economic and Social Transformation (ZINEST) Takemore Mazuruse said they support the initiative as they believe in harnessing the power of synergies for community development.
“What has largely hampered progress in local arts is lack of unity amongst arts players and diminishing will power by development agencies and corporate partners to materially and financially support local arts. A coordinated approach to resource mobilisation is ideal and it is our hope that the selected consultant looks beyond the obvious players, otherwise we will have a repeat of the usual mediocrity,” he said.
“The time is ripe for local arts to grow and this ideal requires players who think outside the box and implement an all-business-approach to issues.”
Jibilika founder and arts promoter Plot Mhako (pictured) said NACZ had made a good move, but the appointment alone was not sufficient unless the entire system adheres to good corporate governance and bring back the confidence.
“The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe does not get sufficient support from the fiscus so by having a person dedicated to marketing and resource mobilisation, that will help a lot in promoting better corporate engagement and support,” he said.
“It also speaks in the direction of running the body and the sector with a business mentality. The corporate world will obviously demand value in return for its support, which in turn will potentially motivate better quality productions and value addition.”
Savanna Trust and theatre director Daniel Maposa said this was a good initiative if the resources being raised were meant to support the growth of the sector.
“There is need for a financially stable NACZ that supports the sector’s needs. Short of that, the sector will continue to suffer. However, it should be noted that most of the council’s budget must come from government because if we rely too much on external funds to support our council, then it will be difficult to prioritise our needs, but the funder’s needs,” he said.
While having a fundraising consultant is a good thing, effort must be put in convincing government to take its responsibility.”
Magombedze, a development consultant with 15 years experience in organisational development advisory work, fundraising for profit and non-profit entities, as well as research, monitoring and evaluation for development and humanitarian response programmes, is expected to use his experience in his new position.
He holds qualifications, including a Master of Science in Strategic Management degree and a certificate in public policy, governance and leadership.
Renowned multi-instrumentalist and music producer, Clive “Mono” Mukundu said: “Funding is one thing that lack in Zimbabwean art, no matter how much talent one might have, there are certain levels that can never be reached without funding. In South Africa the government provides funding even for festivals, they have festivals throughout the year so as long as the idea is implemented well it is a very good move.”