Coventry meets Bulawayo artists

Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Kirsty Coventry has reiterated on the need to align policies which protect the works of artists across all genres.

Coventry made these remarks during familiarisation tour, Friday, around the city of Bulawayo where she met various artists.

The minister toured Mzilikazi Art and Craft Centre, Black Umfolosi Centre in Entumbane, Inyathi Youth Centre and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo.

Coventry noted the importance of setting clear goals within the industry which would serve as guidelines for steps to be taken by various stakeholders.

“There is need for policy consistency. We need to align all policies and all structures. We do not have that right now. Our aim is to protect artists across all the genres, some are speaking of rights to their songs while sculptures and dancers on the other hand decry their designs and dances being copied by other people. There is need for policies which will assist artists,” she said.

“I want to be someone who is different,” she added. “When I was an athlete, I never spoke about winning gold medals until I actually did it so if I set my mind to doing something, I want to make sure that we are actually doing it properly.”

She urged artists to exercise honesty in their line of work in order for various stakeholders to work well with them.

She said sometimes it is hard for some artists to be granted visas when they need to tour because there are some who seize the opportunity to go outside the country and decide not to come back.

Coventry noted the ministry seeks to speak directly to artists across all genres in a bid to understand their challenges and find ways of how best to work together moving forward.

“We are already engaging artists and when we go back, we will work on creating a think tank to come up with ideas of how to move forward. For progress to be there we need to work as a team,” she said.

She said although she comes from a sporting background, she fully understands the plight of artists and wishes to ascertain they get all the support they need.

Tomeki Dube a member of Black Umfolosi told Coventry they were allegedly snubbed by the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) of the royalties of their song, Unity.

A representative from Indosakusa: The Morning Star said they are hard hit by transport challenges as they sometimes fail to turn up for events where they are supposed to perform.

He also pleaded with the ministry to intervene on cases where they need to travel abroad for concerts as they are sometimes denied visas.

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