Unpacking tides in the arts sector

It is at this time of the year that we reflect on what transpired over the past 12 months, surfing through regrets and achievements.

Opinion by Silence Charumbira

It is disheartening that in this time and age, insecurity still grips the wits of authorities, to the extent that most new productions are considered threats.

This resulted in plays like No Voice No Choice and The Coup being banned.

Theatre in general, has been intriguing, thumbs up to Reps Theatre and Rooftop Promotions.

Not mentioning the likes of Tafadzwa Muzondo and others involved in theatre at grassroots levels, would be doing injustice.
Zimbabwean film is on its way out of the doldrums.

The most striking success story for me would be The Gentleman by Joe Njagu and company. Bringing an actor of the calibre of Presley Chweneyegae will surely remain in the history books forever and it is my hope that it does not end there.

The movie is now available on DVD after its premiere in the United Kingdom, Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Producer, Rufaro Kaseke, was holed up in the UK for a long time and managed to bring back with him Demetriah Karonga, the maker of The In-laws, which premiered at Book Café last month.

Special mention goes to Lloyd Kurima aka Mabla 10, who has been toiling in the industry producing comedy. Funding being available, he is poised for greater heights.

Freddy “Kapfupi” Manjalima has also been doing quite well, though funding has been the major setback.

Sculptors getting poorer
Activity in the visual art category has been on the decline, mainly due to the sharp decrease of tourists’ inflow. Sculptures are visible on the street, but the craftsmen have become poorer.

The tourism ministry has been doing well, but they need to start involving the whole nation if they are to achieve anything meaningful.

Simuka Comedy is probably the next best thing on the local scene. The young men led by Victor Mpofu aka Doc Vikela, were awesome.

Cal Joshua Ncube has grown to become probably the best local comedian.

In as much as music may be the most active arts genre in the world, ours is a disaster-punctuated industry.

There are no structures and it appears the artists are more engrossed in their own fights than the development of the sector. Alick Macheso, Sulumani Chimbetu, Oliver Mtukudzi, Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave and a host of others, released their new albums, which have been doing well.

A lot of new artists have also risen and good as it may be, musicians need to refocus, in order for them to grow.

There was a slight decline in the number of foreign musicians coming into the country, but P Square and Capleton played their part with polished acts.

A number of artists passed on, among them, Andy Brown and Hilton Mambvo, but in Brown’s case, we get solace in his delectable daughter, Ammara, just as we now remember Leonard Dembo through his sons, Morgan and Tendai, who have bettered their act.

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