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Bulawayo epicentre of culture, says Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter
04 Jun 2021 at 06:09hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said Bulawayo remains the country's epicentre of creative arts and a hot pot of diverse cultures and convergence of histories which confirms that Zimbabwe is a Unitary State.

Speaking as he launched the Bulawayo Urban Heritage, Ecotourism and Arts Festival at the Large City Hall, President Mnangagwa called on the city, Matabeleland Provinces and the nation to continue taking a keen interest in culture and heritage.

Running for the second year, the Bulawayo Arts Festival (Baf) is a result of and indaba and launch of the cultural and creative industries strategy by President Mnangagwa in 2019.

The President said he had fond memories of the Indaba and launch which left a lasting impression on the economic potential of the creative cultural industry which influenced Government's policy formulation with regards the sector.

He said while the festival is being held in Bulawayo, it carries national stature and importance.

"The festival affords us yet another opportunity to celebrate and promote our rich heritage, culture and arts with specific focus on the Urban Cultural Heritage. It further augments my Government's quest to ensure that cultural professionals, practitioners, artists and our citizens create, produce, disseminate and enjoy a broad range of cultural goods, services and activities," said President Mnangagwa.

"The City of Bulawayo remains the country's epicentre of creative arts. It is indeed a hot pot of various cultures and a convergence of histories which confirms Zimbabwe as a Unitary State."

He commended the festival for including a broad array of stakeholders and participants.

"This has served to showcase creative talent from beyond the boundaries of Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, itself a reflection that we are a diverse and united people, under one flag, one national anthem and a Unitary State. Bulawayo has further demonstrated that it is a sanctuary of different cultures and traditions through exhibiting these hybrid cultural product portfolios," he said.

"Going forward, the development of the Creative and Cultural Industries as well as domestic tourism remains a collective responsibility for us all, Government, stakeholders and private sector."

The President said the Festival Conference theme "Enhancing Local Government Participation in Cultural Governance," speaks to the spirit of collaboration and team work.

President Mnangagwa said Creative Cultural Industries are an essential component for building national cohesion, inclusive economic growth and the reduction of inequalities towards the achievement of Vision 2030.

"It is therefore, imperative that Bulawayo Province and other communities throughout the country tap into the potential of culture, art and heritage sector to derive economic value. This must see communities taking advantage of linkages with other economic sectors and value chains to generate increased production and consumption of our locally produced goods and services," he said.

"The Creative Cultural Industries must be perceived and executed as an economic sector in its own right, which contributes to the provincial and National GDP. The city of Bulawayo is therefore urged to harness its cultural assets towards the implementation of specific programmes and activities for economic development."

The President wished the Cultural Creative Industries, Tourism and Local Government Sectors success premised on the collaboration and unity of purpose witnessed in the organisation of the festival.

"I equally commend the media in particular, the Chronicle, for building awareness around the festival and other economic development programmes," said President Mnangagwa.

"It is indeed this culture and spirit that is accelerating the building of a prosperous Zimbabwe which leaves no one behind. Bulawayo Omuhle, congratulations for a job well done."

The President challenged the industry to create products that run in tandem with national meetings, conferences and events.

He urged them to leverage on the democratisation of the broadcasting space which must see the creation of jobs and broad-based empowerment.

The President called for narratives that promote the Zimbabwean and African value systems.

He called on local authorities to continue naming places and recommending buildings for the conferment of monument status in conformity with the country's cultural heritage and history.

Local authorities, the President said, must avail more spaces suitable for the Cultural Creative Industry to become economic hubs in their own right.

"The story of Father Zimbabwe, the late Comrade Dr Joshua Nkomo, as well as the histories of Mzilikazi ka Matshobana umKhatshwa woZimangele, iNkosi uLobengula, Queen Lozikeyi, Umlugulu, Ginyamatshe, Nehanda and Mukwati, among others, must continue to be popularised," said President Mnangagwa.

"This will go a long way in consolidating unity, peace and social cohesion as fundamental ingredients for nation building. I thus exhort the stakeholders in the education and media fraternity as well as communities to continue playing their part in the re-writing of the correct history and bequeathing it to future generations."

President Mnangagwa said his Government has implemented a raft of measures to keep the tourism sector viable including the removal of Value Added Tax on domestic tourism.

He applauded stakeholders in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry for launching the Zim Yami/ZimBho Campaign to promote domestic tourism.

The President urged Bulawayo residents to go for vaccination against Covid-19 to ensure that the province, which is set to host a number of major economic activities, achieves herd immunity.

Source - the herald