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Update from Kadoma Writers Association
Kadoma Writers Association
July 17, 2003

We are very pleased to announce that our plans to establish a Zimbabwean-based international literary organization have reached an advanced stage, as we are finalizing our preparations for an International Writers Conference to be held concurrently with the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) on July 29-30 2003.

The concept of setting up an international literary organization in Zimbabwe comes as a result of the identified need to network writers and artists internationally with other professionals in like fields and create a global community of writers, artists and other professionals cooperating together for the fulfillment of their dreams.

The name of the new organization is yet to be confirmed by the Writers Conference forthcoming but so far, names like The Writers Link, The Writers Institute, Zim Write Link and others have cropped up in previous deliberations.

On 27 February 2001, our Association launched a Research Project, "Coalitions for Change – Partnerships between Writers and Multi-stakeholders". The project was launched with support from the Zimbabwe Writers Union (ZIWU)(Chairman David Mungoshi Cell: 091 356 848), Zimbabwe Academic and Non Fiction Authors Association (ZANA), Zimbabwe Women Writers (ZWW), National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), Mashonaland West Province, the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the National Association of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO) and other multi-stakeholders in the community, arts, cultural, media, publishing, business, government, literary and other sectors.

Summary of Research Objectives & Methodology
The principal objective of the Research Project was to articulate the nature and extent to which partnerships can be merged between writers and other multi-stakeholders in performing different roles in literary, cultural, artist, social and economic development and both an urban and rural setting in Zimbabwe and other countries and identify emerging policy implications, strategic coalitions for developing short-term and long term projects for writers particularly establishing writers in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Phases
The project was been carried in seven (7) phases, which included a study of the state of the arts and writing industries in Kadoma, Mashonaland West Province (Zimbabwe), the Southern Africa region, ands close studies of pilot literary projects worldwide. The project reaches its climax now as writers, artists; representatives of local, regional and international literary and arts organizations converge in Harare to establish in international literary institute to be based in Zimbabwe.

Summary of Research findings and conclusions
There exists a gap; a void between the establishing writer or artist and those who have made it so referred to as the veteran writers.

We have realized the need for close collaboration between writers who are upcoming and the established, though for many in Zimbabwe this scenario is still a dream come true. But for the thousands of young writers sprout in the country there is not yet any sight of harbor. It is the negation of the negation and we as young writers are very much concerned because there is need to incorporate new ideas, new writings but new writers are not getting the chance.

We have seen the need for coalitions between writers and educational institutions in promoting literature and art among themselves, pupils and the society. We have learnt that educational institutions can perform a catalyst role in cultivating a reading and writing culture in our children - the need for the youth to be brought at the centre stage, the need for writers to merge coalitions with educational institutions and facilitate the appreciation of literature and art.

Educational institutions can perform an active role in marketing the writer and artist while writers can promote industrialists, business, culture and society.

We have seen the need for government to be involved in promoting literature and art, not only when the scenario suits its interests, but for the common good of our society and for the good of the writers. The need for government to promote an enabling environment, where government respects the right of the people to know, where government respects the role of the writer through the mediate to keep it accountable. The need for a free, uncensored press and media that keeps government and public authorities are sufficiently scrutinized and government accountability is guaranteed. Unfortunately, the prevailing environment in our country has provided our government with an opportunity to muzzle the press through the draconian Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). We have witnessed cases of intimidation and persecution of writers in Zimbabwe by the government, but this cannot be let to continue. In actual fact, there is need for the Constitution of the country to be revised and all sections that inhibit freedom of expression repealed while the a clause must be incorporated to prevent the enactment of any laws that hinder freedom of expression, association and democracy.

The need for the media to promote writers and the writer to promote the products of the media is a challenge which we believe the new organization will seek to address.

There is a despairing gap between establishing writers and the established elite few. Particularly in Zimbabwe, established writers and artists are selfish, mainly concentrating on their own interests and not realizing the need to promote the establishing writer. Thus, we have realized the need for local young writers to extricate themselves through networking on a global setting.

We have invited local, national and international writers and artists to attend the conference. So far we have received overwhelming response as more than 700 delegates from different parts of the world have confirmed their attendance.

We are still receiving confirmations and we are most encouraged by the fact that 450 locals have registered while 350 delegates are representatives coming from USA, Britain, South Africa, Nigeria, Malawi, Zambia, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Ghana, Japan, Swaziland, Botswana and other African, Asian and European countries.

We shall also have delegates representing NGOs, the media, governmental agencies, funding agencies, publishers, producers, book development councils, business and other stakeholders.

Arrangements are being made for the purchase of an exhibition stand at the Book Fair and more information will be in circulation at the Book Fair.

Besides bringing together writers and artists from all over the world, we expect the writers conference to foster linkages and networking, adapt a draft constitution for the new writers link, set up interim structures and also schedule and adopt an Action Plan to be implemented after the conference.

We are very much aware of the challenges of this very ambitious project, but we are encouraged by the fact that the organization is member driven should assure delegates that they will enjoy the Writers Conference. Meanwhile, our Association is sending a twenty-five 25-member delegation to attend the Zimbabwe International Book Fair. Our members will participate in the Indaba Conference, Writers Workshop, the Live Literature Centre and other activities during the Book Fair.

We would like to thank our members, Zimbabwean Writers who have supplied us, NGOs, CBOs, the media and all organizations who have helped us on our projects and are very positive this year’s Book Fair will be a milestone in our bid to promote writers and artists, locally, nationally and globally.

Visit the Kadoma Writers Association fact sheet

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