BULAWAYO – Andrew Langa, Sports, Arts and Culture minister, disappointed Bulawayo artistes when he allegedly failed to articulate plans for the arts industry during next year’s Zone Six Youth Games.
Langa addressed his ministry’s plans for the sports extravaganza but said very little about the arts sector despite inviting artistes to an indaba held at the Bulawayo City Hall last Thursday.
Artistes reacted by bombarding the minister with questions on why the ministry sought to side-line them.
Most artistes had hailed the creation of a stand-alone Sports and Arts ministry that is independent of the Education ministry when President Robert Mugabe named his Cabinet after hotly-disputed polls.
They had hoped government’s intention was to pay greater attention to the arts sector’s age-old concerns.
In his address to stakeholders from different arts and sports fraternities in Bulawayo, Langa dwelt on progress made in preparation to host the Zone Six Youth Games much to the chagrin of artistes.
The minister said the artistes should air their questions and at the same time state their expectations in the arts industry.
“The ministry is a new baby therefore we should help each other in developing it,” he said.
He said artistes would have to come up with a consultative meeting which will provide a platform for them to state their expectations.
“Please, do not panic. We will take care of you,” he said.
In an interview with the Daily News on Sunday, the founder of Poetry Bulawayo renowned poet Mgcini Nyoni said the minister sounded uninformed about the arts and culture which is a bit worrisome as artistes felt side-lined.
“Despite the fact that the meeting was a sports consultative meeting, the minister should have thought of how arts and culture could also benefit from such a huge event.
“If 10 countries are coming to Bulawayo in 2014, surely they would want to consume local art. The minister missed an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone by integrating arts and culture into the Zone Six games, in that regard therefore artistes felt side-lined,” Nyoni said.
Langa however, encouraged artistes to collaborate and not divide talent.
“You should work together and shun divisions in order to succeed,” he said.
He encouraged artistes to venture into business to make a living.
“You should entertain and at the same time put bread and butter on your table,” he said.