HARARE – The partnership between the European Union and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe has already started bearing fruits and will continue to grow as Government is in support of numerous interventions made to showcase and grow the Zimbabwean talent in the arts sector, Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts, and Recreation permanent secretary Dr. Thokozile Chitepo has said.
By Tina Musonza
This came after EU and NACZ joined hands to celebrate the end of culture month following celebrations that took place in Binga, Chitungwiza, and Matobo among other places with the national event attracting over 30 000 participants across the country.
Culture Month is observed in May and is aimed at celebrating the cultures of Shona, Ndebele, and cultures in Zimbabwe.
Speaking during the Arts and Culture Exhibition which marked the end of the month yesterday Dr Chitepo said the culture months’ celebrations came as a cocktail of solutions to societal challenges.
“From the hosting of Culture Month, we believe the nation will take heed of the President’s call to uphold Ubuntu/Unhu to deal with vices and societal challenges that are negatively affecting our youth.
“In line with the mantra of the Government of leaving no place and no one behind, a total of 9 Provincial launches have been hosted in the provinces mimicking the national event,” said Dr Chitepo.
She said the culture month celebrations were a loophole where the youth escaped the pandemic of drug and substance abuse.
She applauded the partnership between the EU and NACZ as bearing fruits in growing the arts sector.
In his remarks, EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst Von Kirchman the partnership was bearing fruits and embracing cultural differences.
“The EU places great significance on culture. We recognize that appreciating cultural diversity is not only crucial for sustainable development, peace, and social cohesion, but it is also instrumental in understanding our unique identities and embracing our differences, be they economic, political, or social,” said Ambassador Von Kirchmann
He made it clear that this year’s theme “Promoting Diversity, Unity and Peace” resonates well with the EU motto which carries over 20 member states with different cultures but lives in peace and harmony.
He urged Zimbabweans to secure their passion for art since Zimbabwean arts products were flourishing in the international market.
Ambassador Von Kirchmann said culture month celebrations set a peaceful atmosphere and an alarm to promote moral values for upcoming elections.
“Zimbabwe is drawing closer to elections, and this electoral period presents a prime opportunity to demonstrate political diversity, where Zimbabweans peacefully exercise their choices,” he said.
He urged all actors in the cultural and art sector to promote the spirit of Ubuntu and utilize skills and innovations to foster tolerance, peace, and unity through various artistic expressions.
NACZ director Mr Nicholas Moyo said the first edition held at Chitungwiza Arts Centre funded by the EU was a sign that the arts sector had various talents that can be unlocked.
He said that this year was unique in the quest to bring new partners and players in the arts sector.
“Let me acknowledge that 2023 was a completely different year in the sense that the quest to bring in new partners in the work of creative arts is just not what we have expected.
“The Ambassador of the European Union found it fit without delving into politics he found that people-to-people interactions are important.
“When we use the arts to talk and encourage our people to relate at different levels there will be much in other owned areas.
He applauded EU commitment which came with recently launched culture funds to promote the growth of the sector,”
“We want to celebrate as the National Arts Council and thank the EU for going this far to partner with the Government of Zimbabwe in the area of the creative industry,” said Mr Moyo.
For the past years, the EU has provided over EUR 5 million to the Culture Sector which has been channeled into the arts sector.