Other art forms need your attention too Hon. minister

Society & Culture | By Elton Mjanana, Writer | 10 January 2014

Attention Prof. Jonathan Moyo, other art forms need your attention too.

The new cabinet posting in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services was received with a lot of aplomb and applause. This was largely because ‘artists’ have vivid memories of benefits derived from this ministry.

The minister then, enforced the seventy-five percent local content policy which saw a welcome boost and turn up in fortunes for local artists. This in turn upped the tempo on galas. In the process, artists jostled to be exposed to an audience of over a million people on TV and radio as these galas were beamed live on ZBC’s radio and TV signals. ZBC employees found an exciting place to be, filming these galas and beaming them live to the nation (and also the region with the advent of ZBC going onto DSTV) not to mention the priceless amount of content they provided – content to which ZBC still finds use beaming to the nation every day after midnight on ZTV1.

There is jubilation once again in the arts fraternity as this particular ministry seems to have been restored – and back with a thud of a bang! The business of the day has been touring press houses on familiarisation tours … Thumbs up. Stakeholder meetings have been held, consulting at various levels. That’s a ministry functioning right there.  The much hyped Seventy-five local percent which seemed to have vanished is back too.  Artists are under normal circumstances a happy lot nowadays. Needless to say that Urban Grooves, a direct beneficiary of the policy back then feel a vibe of rejuvenation – maybe as Zim Dancehall this time. 

All seems well … or is it? Check – my feeling is that to be effective in the country’s info and media front, which are the face of the country in some quarters there needs to be a little bit of a shift in the operations of our much loved ministry. In terms of info, of course we can be a great nation if we can spread our INFO –la propaganda, through other communication and info dissemination media. Music is not the only avenue. It may seemingly be the most popular, but also check out the outreach and massive reception of film and television.

Of course today we have celebrated musicians like ROKI, MAFRIK, SNIPER STORM and many other in the Urban Grooves genre. They are a prime example of what committed government support can achieve though relevant ministries. In this case it was a mutual benefit scenario, with the government getting good press a-la ZBC, and the artists getting priceless exposure. Just one reminder though: the term artists do not singularly refer to musicians alone … there are lots others as well i.e. filmmakers, theatre practitioners, visual artists, poets, dancer et al.  With some committed support they too can spurn out celebs and plausible content for the returned seventy-five percent local content drive. Who knows, the practitioners in these genres too might have in some patriotic moves as was the case with the musicians last time. One may think that film and theatre for example have too much ties with donors, most of whom are Western and hostile … but look into that space and see who left them on that particular door … when nothing mattered, except music. 

Let me depart by affirming that this is a new leaf we have turned. Nobody knows the future, so we look into this ministry and wait with bated breath. We just hope we do not suffocate to our near-deaths waiting for GODOT. Just speaking on behalf of the other ‘artists’. 

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