Creatives from different arts genres are calling for an individual capable of listening and implementing progressive strategies to resuscitate the arts industry, which is currently in shambles, as the ideal individual to fill up the vacant post of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) director.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
This comes at a time there has not been a replacement for former NACZ boss Elvas Mari following his resignation in April after having been at the helm since 2009.
Responding to The Standard Style’s questions this week, NACZ acting director Nicholas Moyo attributed the replacement delay to the fact that Mari was still at the organisation despite official communication highlighting his immediate exit in March.
“Mr Elvas Mari’s last official day of serving notice as the director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe was June 15, 2018,” Moyo justified the arts mother body’s advertisement of the job (where they are also searching for a marketing and resource mobilisation consultant) last month.
“The HR department, therefore is dealing with applications for both posts given that they were advertised within the same month. Therefore, there is no delay whatsoever.”
According to the advert, the incoming director must be “a strategic thinker and team leader who is dynamic, innovative and self-motivated. Intimate knowledge of the arts and culture sector is essential.”
While Mari’s contribution cannot be overridden, for long, creatives have claimed that the sector is dysfunctional and part of the blame is apportioned to NACZ, a cultural institution whose mandate is to promote and add value to the artistic endeavours within the country.
This makes the vacant post a crucial piece in the puzzle towards reviving the ailing industry.
“We would want to see someone who has the arts at heart and relates to musicians and others artistes to a point that they can be easily accessed directly,” Zimbabwe Musicians’ Union chairperson Edith weUtonga said.
The musician, who acknowledged the “great” work done by the outgoing Mari, believes the inbound should be a “qualified and practical” individual with deep understanding of local arts.
Weutonga added that, if taken into consideration, artistes with administrative background could be the most ideal individuals.
“We have artistes who are qualified and I think it is time to put someone who has an arts background, not someone who is right politically, but knows nothing from an artistic point of view,” she said.
Award-winning playwright and Intwasa Arts Festival director Raisedon Baya said if it is an artiste, then they ought to have administrative experience.
“It could be an artiste, but not just for popularity because a lot are not qualified yet we have people who are tried and tested so whether popular or not it should be about a person who is good in administration,” said Baya.
Baya also added that NACZ should be out to get quality and someone who “knows what needs to be done and is ready to do it” unlike government ministers who make promises but fold their arms immediately afterwards.
Although a definite date when the new appointee will come cannot be revealed yet, “processes are on schedule and when through, the announcement shall be made”, according to Moyo.
Moyo is the frontrunner to take over as did Mari, who was deputy before elevation to the top post, and if that is the case, perhaps the idea of giving the institution a fresh chance will be under the spotlight.
Baya thinks otherwise:
“There used to be natural prsogression where NACZ would groom a person within and that could be another route. I think those who are qualified and capable should be given a chance,” said Baya.
NACZ is the mainstay of arts development locally and it works in conjunction with the Sports, Arts and Culture ministry.