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fund gives hope to Zimbabwean Artists
Martin Chemhere, AfricanColours - firstname.lastname@example.org
July 04, 2004
Zimbabwean artists must
be the happiest lots in Africa as a multi-billion dollar fund has
been unveiled with disbursements having just begun for the development
of the arts and culture sector.Set up "to provide financial
and technical support to innovative and diverse art forms",
the Zimbabwe Culture Fund Trust (ZCFT) is open to artists who work
in groups; arts and culture organisations and arts and culture institutions.
Inspired by a vision
"to be the gateway to empowerment of arts and culture in Zimbabwe",
the idea has been hailed by artists as "one of the best things
ever" to happen within the country's struggling but
highly creative arts industry.
Conceived after realising
"glaring inconsistencies" in the funding of artists,
the fund will be specially targetted to the marginalised, who have
not managed to access funds due to a variety of reasons.Theatre,
visual arts, film, dance, literary arts and music constitutes the
categories being considered under the Fund.With most Zimbabwean
artists operating without proper tools of the trade, the development
has been described as a "boost" to local arts.
At a recent launch of
the eagerly awaited funds, the mood was ecstatic with many anticipating
greater improvement of a sector long regarded as a potential foreign
currency earner."It is our deep desire to have the presence
of the Fund make a fundamental difference to the quality and reach
of the arts sector. The Fund can inspire artists to work harder
and furnish the industry with a new burst of activity and creativity",
said Mr. Titus Chipangura, the Chairperson of the ZCF.
In recent years, the
Zimbabwean arts industry has witnessed an upsurge in corporate funding
mainly directed at the major calendar events such as the Harare
International Festival Arts (HIFA) and the National Arts Merit Awards
(NAMA). However, the emerging and lesser-known artists, particularly
those in rural communities had remained largely unrecognised and
thus were left out in the corporate funding game. The argument was
that the generality of the artists, except for a few, were incapable
of presenting professional proposals that would attract the corporate
dollar. With the availability of the funding it is now anticipated
that Zimbabwean art, whose rise to fame once anchored on the sheer
brilliance of the internationally aclaimed stone sculpture genre,
is gradually crawling back to its former glory days when art exhibitions,
talks, forums were aplenty in Harare.
At a time when disturbances
to the country's economy has rendered the situation untenable
for most donors, frustrating many artistic talents, the international
benefactor has once again displayed their allegiance to one of Africa's
creative peoples. Mooted in June last year, the concept began when
30 Zimbabwean artists from 6 arts disciplines attended a forum organized
by the Swedish International Develoment Agency (SIDA) in order to
gauge the industry's readiness and response to the launching
of such a Fund.
The funds totalling Z$10
billion will be disbursed in two phases of Z$5 billion each this
year. More than 13 000 applications were distributed throughout
the country's 10 provinces. A total of 3 126 applications
were received from artists requesting a total of Z$311 728 286 014.
This figure was far more than the Z$5 billion set aside for disbursement
and administration of the fund.
Despite falling far short
of the requested amounts, the money should be able to take the creativity
of local artists to a new level. In the words of the Chairperson
of the Fund: "Let us work together and ensure that the creative
members of society are provided with the conducive environment,
the appropriate tools and the responsive audience so that they can
strive for greater heights and by so doing ensure that Zimbabwe
enjoys global artistic influence and success".
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