Litfest bemoans lack of support

LITERATURE Festival director Chirikure Chirikure has called on local arts stakeholders to bankroll local literature programmes, saying the lack of financial support was worrisome.


Speaking during the fifth edition of the annual festival, which ran from November 28 to December 1 in Harare, Chirikure said he found it strange that it was easier to find support from foreigners than locals, who should own home-grown programmes.

“Many times, it is easier to find support from far-away countries than it is for us to find support on the local scene,” he said, adding that they had been operating on a shoe-string budget.
“My team works without a salary and have to use personal funds to cater for most of our everyday experiences.”

Venues for the festival were donated by Theatre in the Park and the American Embassy.

“Even though we get support to bring international speakers, we hardly get funding to cater for venues and offices,” Chirikure said.

Theatre in the Park director, Daves Guzha emphasised the need for support for the arts industry.

“The future is African and without investing in our arts, we will have no one to pass the baton to if we shy away from investing in art,” he said.

Chirikure, however, said he was grateful for the support they received from Great Zimbabwe University, the American Embassy, PEN Zimbabwe, RwandAir and Theatre in the Park.

During the fiesta, University of Zimbabwe lecturer and linguist Francis Matambirofa and renowned poet, Philani Nyoni, deliberated over the role of the artiste in “prophesying” over the future of nations.

“(Habbakuk) Msengezi and (Dambudzo) Marechera are key prophetic voices that have reflected over the plight of Zimbabwe,” Nyoni said.

The festival presided over several discussions, including the importance of documentation.

There were calls to submit all published materials to the National Archives for documentation, something old record labels like Gramma Records and established publishing houses used to do.

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