Nhimbe Trust 2018 International Workers Day Commemorative Message

Nhimbe Trust along with our partners and networks in creative civil society, joins workers of the world in commemorating this 1st May International Workers Day.

Recognition of cultural workers

We call upon all artists and cultural workers in Zimbabwe to commemorate this day by dialoguing among themselves and agreeing on ways of lobbying our government to recognize the critical contribution of the arts and culture sector to national development. We call for a national policy that articulates that cultural workers, who, in most cases, work as small groups and individuals, receive government support towards the establishment of appropriate infrastructure for viable production and effective marketing of their cultural goods and services.

Necessity of social security schemes for cultural workers

Workers in the arts and culture sector are not adequately covered by the existing labour regulations, mainly because of the predominantly informal nature of their sector. Social security schemes appropriate to the arts and culture sector need to be developed.

We therefore call upon our government to involve representative organizations of artists and cultural workers in considering social security schemes that could be introduced for workers in the cultural sector, using international instruments such as UNESCO’s 1980 Recommendation on the Social Status of Artists and other related ILO recommendations and protocols.

Levies and statutory payments by cultural workers

Artists and Cultural workers, whose main occupation is the promotion of performance tours and festivals, have expressed concern that various levies being imposed by different government departments and public cultural bodies, as well as the statutory payments being demanded, have not taken into consideration the informal nature and irregularity of full time employment in the sector.


The levies and statutory payments being demanded by different state institutions do not take into account the absence of government support required to ensure the viability and growth of cultural industries that offer employment to cultural workers. These levies and statutory payments are administered in a manner that discourages creative entrepreneurship in the arts and culture sector, as well as in a manner that shows that the concerned government institutions do not appreciate the enormous challenges being faced by the self-employed workers in the sector.

We therefore call upon the government departments and public institutions concerned with collection of levies and statutory payments from artists and cultural workers to engage representatives of workers in the arts and culture field in a discourse in order to appreciate the challenges faced by cultural operators.

Transnational mobility of cultural workers

As more countries implement the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, more opportunities become available to artists and cultural workers to travel outside their countries to take up short term employment assignments and to cooperate in the creation, production, distribution and consumption of their cultural goods and services.

And yet it is clear that the need for artists and cultural workers to travel beyond their borders in order to broaden their scope of activities and to grow new and viable audiences and services for their cultural products has not been recognized by many countries whose immigration regulations are serious barriers to cross border mobility of cultural workers.

We therefore call upon all organizations of artists and cultural workers the world over to vigorously advocate to their governments and intergovernmental bodies and the United Nations for freer transnational movement of artists and cultural workers, not only to find new audiences and exchange cultural experiences, but to provide for more opportunities for artists and cultural workers to undertake creative collaborations that provide the world with more opportunities to consume a much richer diversity of cultural expressions and thereby create more sustainable employment for the artists and cultural workers of the world.

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