‘We will deal with artistes directly’. . . City Council to fund Bulawayo Arts Festival

Langalakhe Mabena

Bulawayo Day (1 June) and the Bulawayo Arts Festival (2 to 5 June) are around the corner and people from the city of Kings and the rest of the country are looking forward to celebrating the city’s 129 years of existence.

The Bulawayo Day festivities are commemorations of the historical importance of the declaration of Bulawayo as a Town on 1 June 1894.
Since 2020, the historic day has always been celebrated through different activities that embrace culture that are featured at the Bulawayo Arts Festival (BAF), from music, poetry, plays, exhibition as well as dance, greatly signifying how important artistes are in helping the city in its celebrations.

The welfare of the creatives is vital as they are the ones who make the day and the festival successful as they sacrifice their time and display their craft, something that they must get paid for.

Jeys Marabini performing at BAF

Owing it to the BAF’s 2021 edition’s disaster, which saw a number of creatives not being paid their monies for participating at the festival (some are not even paid to date), the city of Bulawayo has vowed to “deal directly with the artistes in paying them” as they gear up for this year’s festivities.

“I applauded the council for recruiting a Cultural Affairs Officer and opening an office dealing with artistes because arts and culture is a thriving industry in the city. The council had partnered with Nhimbe Trust (for the 2021 BAF edition) and this partnership did not yield desired results.

“Artistes who had performed during the Bulawayo Arts week had not been paid. Most artistes were blaming the council. It is prudent now that the council will deal with artistes directly,” Bulawayo Deputy Mayor Councilor Mlandu Ncube was quoted in council minutes in our possession.

It’s not a blame game, but, in the same minutes, the Town Clerk Christopher Dube said that the council had a memorandum of understanding with Nhimbe Trust. Nhimbe Trust had organised the 2021 Bulawayo Arts Week anticipating that council would pay the artistes.

He further clarified that the council had no budget for the event. He, however, emphasised also that this year’s celebrations would be organised and budgeted for accordingly by the council.

Christopher Dube

The meeting gave a green light for the return of BAF which didn’t take place last year as the council had no money for the activities.

This year’s celebrations will run from 1 to 5 June under the theme “Our Culture, Our Heritage, Our Creativity.” The festivities will be focused on the promotion of arts, culture and heritage by providing incubation, support and promotion of creative industries.

Bulawayo City Council’s Corporate Communications Manager Nesisa Mpofu said: “This year’s celebrations will entail the annual Bulawayo Day celebrations on 1 June at the Stanley Hall and will kick start with a Tourism and Heritage Trail tour which will start from the City Hall following the trail to Makokoba township where people will then converge for the festivities at Stanley Hall national monument.

“Stanley Hall has been identified as the main venue as it is a heritage site which is key in the history of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe.

“The convergence at Stanley Hall will be to also promote community development through heritage tourism and showcase the talent in Bulawayo through performing arts.

Deputy Mayor Mlandu Ncube

“Our focus in 2023 is on promoting Township Tourism which involves visiting places, events, and activities that reflect the history and culture of Bulawayo’s historic communities,” said Moyo. She also revealed that the city seeks to encourage Community Based Tourism (CBT) and educational township historic tours by partnering with the Bulawayo Makokoba Township Tourism Trail, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe as well as the Makokoba community as a whole.

CBT promotes environmental protection, cultural conservation, social responsibility, and the enhancement of livelihoods.

The city is inviting all craft creatives who wish to participate to book space where they will showcase their innovative creativity works and sell their wares.

On 2 June, the council will partner with Little Lambs nursery school and other stakeholders on a clean-up campaign which will be held under the theme “129 years of a Clean Bulawayo”.

The day also falls on the same day as the June National Clean-up Day and the council will be partnering with other business organisations in Bulawayo and the residents to promote and restore the culture of cleanliness in the city.

The recreation section of the city in partnership with stakeholders is putting together an exciting Youth Sports Gala scheduled for 3 June at White City stadium. Various sporting activities including Soccer, Netball, Volleyball, Tennis, Tug of War, and a fun run are lined up for the day.

More activities that will take place on 4 and 5 June will be announced.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *