BY SHARON SIBINDI
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday challenged Zimbabwean ambassadors to promote the country’s arts and culture in their host countries as part of cultural diplomacy.
Mnangagwa made the remarks at the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) Indaba held at the Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel under the theme Leveraging Arts, Culture and Heritage for Enhanced Productivity, Job Creation and Economic Growth.
“In the re-branding of our country, I urge our embassies to also initiate cultural diplomacy by showcasing and promoting our unique art, crafts, music, film, theatre, poetry and dance in their various missions. Culture and international relations earnings make visible the practice and presence of the diverse Zimbabwean culture at regional and international platforms and forums,” he said.
“I urge all stakeholders to ensure that the implementation of the policy enhances unity, peace, tolerance, co-existence and intercultural dialogue to foster social cohesion and nation building.”
He stressed the need for all citizens and especially government employees to learn more local languages so they can serve the population effectively.
Mnangagwa said piracy remained the greatest threat to the creative industry, and he added that although there was a law to deal with the scourge, there was need to amend it to tighten the penalties for pirates as, at most, such people could be jailed for only two years.
“Yet when one steals livestock it is nine years, so I think that needs to be amended. Copyrights and intellectual property across the sector’s value chain must be respected equally,” he said.
He said his government would continue to ensure that CCIs grew with other sub-sectors of the economy as the sector accounted for 2% of the informal employment sector.
“The other issue raised was about stolen artefacts, our crafts stolen from this country… I believe this should be compiled by the ministry. Once that is done we will have the Ministry of Justice as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs undertaking to retrieve these pieces of art… But to have correct information, we need yourselves to come forward and give the facts,” he said.