To be applauded is the increased vibrancy by those involved in arts matters over the year, while — as unpredictable as is the life that we live in — we were not spared the scars from the acerbic fights that we managed to survive.
It has been a long and winding road from the beginning of the year that has seen the nation’s artistes enjoy a better trading platform with increased involvement of the corporate sector through funding of various arts projects and of course, the improved economic situation.
For me the most improved sector would be theatre. Or is it that I have paid more attention to theatre this year than before. But truth be told, theatre has vastly improved.
I also loved the activity that has been in the comedy circles, particularly the now established Simuka Comedy Company that has made significant strides towards breaking the barriers that alienated the genre from the mainstream arts sector.
The film industry cannot go unnoticed as it has been pretty busy with a number of quality films being produced this year.
Something makes me feel that the Nando’s Comedy Festival that was cancelled after their South African counterparts aired an advert ridiculing President Mugabe was a blessing to the Zimbabwean comedy fraternity.
It might sound perverse but I certainly do not understand the logic behind importing comedians to come and make us laugh at ourselves.
We do have comedians here who are crying for attention from the corporate world and someone in their noble mind pays forex for something we can grow at home. So much for indigenisation.
The genre that has been in shambles is the music sector. “Cry our beloved music industry.”
Besides claiming the biggest following compared to other genres, the music sector is utterly being run down by the very people who are supposed to improve it.
The problems vary, from disorganisation to lack of creativity and innovation.
From urban groovers to the so-called big artists, there is an odd uniformity of disorder that punctuates the industry.
What is even more shameful is that the problems are not confined to the stage but even permeate into their social lives, which of course many in the public declare is private.
Unfair as it may appear, there is nothing private about a public figure. There is nothing private about Macheso and his family and the host of all the other celebrities.
I am so disheartened by the urban groovers, I should say. Some of them are so talented but they are nowhere near normalcy. To be commended however is this new marketing technique they called “album launches”.
Those that have mastered it have proven beyond doubt that they are true masters while some have failed dismally, mainly due to failure to pay attention to detail.
Musicians in Zimbabwe have also somewhat failed to stamp out piracy as they keep lagging behind technology. They have failed to embrace new advancements and have all paid dearly as they fail to cash in on sales.
Then comes the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ); the institution under which all arts fall.
That institution has practically succeeded in becoming a passenger in all arts activities. The way they do their business leaves me thinking that the council is run by people who barely know the mandate of the institution.
As we shut down this long year, I certainly hope for yet another vibrant year in the arts industry where everyone plays their part.
Drumbeat wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year!