Arts fra­ter­nity wel­comes Min­is­ter Hlong­wane

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment - Bon­gani Ndlovu Show­biz Cor­re­spon­dent

ARTISTES and cul­tural gurus in Bu­l­awayo have heaped praise on Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe for hand­ing the Arts and Cul­ture port­fo­lio to Sports Min­is­ter Makhosini Hlong­wane in the lat­est Cab­i­net reshuf­fle.

Hlong­wane, who was Min­is­ter of Sport and Recre­ation, is now Min­is­ter of Sport, Recre­ation, Arts and Cul­ture after the Cab­i­net reshuf­fle on Mon­day. He takes over the port­fo­lio from Abed­nico Ncube who was Min­is­ter of Ru­ral Devel­op­ment, Preser­va­tion and Pro­mo­tion of Cul­ture and Her­itage.

Artistes wel­comed the move say­ing their sec­tor would hope­fully be a bit vis­i­ble al­though ideally they wanted a stand-alonee min­istry. The last time Arts and Cul­ture was a stand-alone min­istry was dur­ing the An­drewrew Langa era who Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe fireded for in­ep­ti­tude.

Renowned writer Raise­don Baya said they were re­lieved thatat the min­istry was now in the hands of Hlong­wane.

“We feel that we’ree bet­ter off now than we were in the Ru­ral Min­istry. It was hard to en­gage thehe min­is­ter. We hope that the new min­is­terer will be ac­ces­si­ble. From what we’ve seenn Hlong­wane do with his sport min­istry is that he likes to en­gage.

“What we’re not sure about is since elec­tions are on next year, will he be able to do any­thing ma­jor in thee next 10 months,” said Baya.a.

He said Hlong­wanewane should start by com­plet­ing the Cul­tur­alu­ral Pol­icy, a doc­u­ment that is long over­due.

“The new min­is­terter should make the com­ple­tion of the cul­tural doc­u­ment his first pri­or­ity when he be­gins of­fice. The cul­tural pol­icy that we’ve been talk­ing about for four or five years has been in the hands of Langa (for­mer Arts and Cul­ture min­is­ter) and un­til now, no head­way has been made. “We’re not going to do any­thing national with­out that cul­tural doc­u­ment.” Veteran cul­tur­al­ist Cont Mh­langa though wel­com­ing the devel­op­ment, seemed dis­grun­tled as he said arts and cul­ture were not be­ing pri­ori­tised in the coun­try. “Those ad­vis­ing the Pres­i­dent see our cul­ture as some­thing sec­ondary to ev­ery other thing they were taught by white peo­ple. What should be done is to have a stand-alone Min­istry of Arts and Cul­ture, in fact Arts, Her­itage and Cul­ture. “It should be straight­for­ward not this ap­pendage of Arts and Cul­ture in ministries of sport or ru­ral or ed­u­ca­tion,” said Mh­langa. “This shows that the peo­ple around the Pres­i­dent don’t be­lieve in pro­mot­ing African cul­ture and her­itage. They see our ubuntu as an ap­pendage of some­thing else. We must learn as Africans that ev­ery­thing that we do must speak to who we are. This is be­cause colo­nial­ists at­tacked our be­ing as Africans when they set­tled on the con­ti­nent, Zim­babwe specif­i­cally, some­thing we should try and mend as a gov­ern­ment.”

He said since he was now re­tired and not bogged down with Amakhosi Cul­tural Cen­tre busi­ness, he was ready to help in any way in set­ting up the Arts, Cul­ture and Her­itage min­istry.

“If they don’t know what to do, I’m of­fer­ing to help them. I’m now re­tired and not bogged down with Amakhosi things. Peo­ple just have to cre­ate an Arts, Cul­ture and Her­itage min­istry then see how these three can have an im­pact on the coun­try’s ed­u­ca­tion, econ­omy, ICTs and a lot of other things,” said Mh­langa.

Co­me­dian and ra­dio per­son­al­ity Babongile Sikhon­jwa, who in the past has also been cam­paign­ing for Arts and Cul­ture to have its own min­istry, said: “Al­though this is not what we wanted, it’s bet­ter. Hlong­wane is an ap­proach­able min­is­ter and has in the past in­ter­acted with artistes.

“The pre­vi­ous min­is­ter (Abed­nico Ncube) who was re­spon­si­ble for the sec­tor didn’t do any­thing for us so we’re happy with this ap­point­ment by the Pres­i­dent.”

Added Sikhon­jwa: “Surely, we as artistes de­serve our own min­istry as arts and cul­ture are con­tribut­ing a lot to the econ­omy of Zim­babwe.”

Rap­per, Cal Vin, while wel­com­ing the new min­is­ter, said he ex­pected him to help pro­mote the lo­cal arts sec­tor.

“We’ve lost thou­sands of dol­lars this year to in­ter­na­tional artistes who have been in­vited to per­form here and have been paid a lump sum. We ex­pect the new min­is­ter to put in place poli­cies that will en­sure that what­ever amount of money an in­ter­na­tional act re­ceives from a pro­moter as per­for­mance fees, lo­cal acts who also per­form along­side get at least half the amount.

“This is the only way we can make money as lo­cal artistes from the sec­tor,” said Cal Vin. – @ bon­ganinkunzi

Makhosini Hlong­wane

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