HARARE – Newly-appointed minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Andrew Langa says government alone cannot solve the challenges being faced by the arts sector.
Langa, who was appointed by President Robert Mugabe to head the ministry, made the admission during a stakeholders’ breakfast meeting held in Harare yesterday.
“Government is aware that the solutions for growing both sectors cannot be achieved by government alone,” said Langa.
“We must work together, artists, agents, associations, government, business and academia, and non-governmental organisations, regional and international organisations.”
The Insiza North parliamentarian, who is in his first ministerial appointment, is keen to hear from his ministry’ stakeholders their views on the way forward.
“Since there are a large number of players in these sectors that I have embarked on consultations with people from small community groups to large businesses, universities, vocational training centres, churches and so on to hear first-hand what their expectations are.
“We want to establish how they believe they can play a more significant role in building both sectors, creating livelihoods, shaping our patriotism and national pride through developing and displaying excellent products,” he said.
Langa added that government was determined to make the arts industry contribute more to the nation’s development.
“At the national level, some of our key priority areas are creating employment, especially among young people. Government expects the sport and creative industries to generate a significant number of jobs and a wide range of innovative products and services.
“At the same time, we are concerned by the high number of short-lived careers of artistes and sportspeople due to the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Sadly, many are unable to create sustainable incomes from their talents and passions,” he said.
Given the Zimbabwe government’s precarious financial position, Langa says the only way out is for the arts sector to look outside the box.
“As government we will do our best to direct resources to support the essentials.
“However, the reality of the nation’s financial resources base requires us to be more innovative; we need to come up with strategies to attract investments.”
Langa wants artistes to win the confidence of the business community and financial institutions, in particular.