Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
ARTS stakeholders in Matabeleland North have formed an association for artistes whose mandate will be to register and handle the affairs of all artistes in the province.
So far, the Matabeleland North Provincial Arts Association (MNPAA) has 22 executive members drawn from across the province with Douglas Mpofu, a registered arts adjudicator and filmmaker, being the founding chairperson.
The association was recently registered with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) and will be officially launched on January 25 next year at Chinotimba Stadium in Victoria Falls.
Mpofu said MNPAA, which will report directly to the NACZ, will be responsible for the day to day affairs of artistes in the province.
“We’ve noted with concern the way artistes are treated in the industry. Some are abused while some are duped and fail to fight for themselves because there’s no one to stand up for them.
“Here in Victoria Falls, artistes have contracts with companies and hotels but get nothing out of it. One fact is that art is a product of tourism and tourism is rife in Matabeleland North. This is the reason why we thought of having this body to fix this,” Mpofu said.
He said dance groups, drama and filmmakers, comedians, actors, poets, musicians, fine artists, sculptors and all other forms of art in the province will have to be registered with the association in order to benefit.
Membership will be both individual and group with Mpofu saying affiliation fees will be pegged such that they discourage individual membership to allow artistes to register as groups so they benefit as a community.
Artistes, Mpofu said, will benefit from workshops, legal representation, contract drawing, marketing, empowerment as well as celebrity funeral cover which the MNPAA is working on reviving. The association will also mobilise instruments to be used by all members and also set up a studio to be used by all the artistes in Matabaleland North.
Artistes from outside the province, Mpofu said, will have to go through the association to hold shows in any part of the province with all associations in the province set to be registered under MNPAA.
He said MNPAA will also help promote art as a heritage through cultural exchange where tourists will be exposed to local culture. Plans are also underway to build a theatre centre.
Currently, Mpofu said, they are writing invitation letters to all stakeholders to introduce the association ahead of the launch. – @ncubeleon