Planning for Culture 2019

On 2 November 2018 Board members of one of Bulawayo’s leading cultural activists, Nhimbe Trust, met in the city to assess the activities of the organisation over the past 3 years, and put into place a strategic plan for continuity, effective from 2019. 

Led by the Chairperson, Professor Lupwishi Mbuyamba, an action plan was drawn up and details of the new strategic plan for the next 3 years will be released in due course, after sharing with main partners and stakeholders.

Nhimbe Trust sees its role as that of a facilitator, catalyst and innovator of cultural evolution, favouring a multi-disciplinary approach, acknowledging that the problems to be addressed are complex and interrelated.  Innovation and experience have been the keys to Nhimbe Trust’s success.  In partnership with individuals, foundations, corporations, governments, national and international agencies, its programs focus on results and proven solutions.

The November planning meeting followed a busy few years for Nhimbe Trust which, included, among other activities, the setup of Bluez Café in the heart of Bulawayo in 2017, providing access to creative spaces for artists; the production and touring of the musical plays ‘Tellers’ and ‘Blood Tongue’ under Nhimbe’s programme Women in Theatre & Television; the ‘Unified Women’ collaboration with Young Vic Theatre UK; support for the Doug Hill Schools Drama Festival in Masvingo under the continuing Children in Theatre & Television programme; the establishment of the Nhimbe Global Affairs Observatory; appointment to UNESCO Interim Civil Society Steering Committee; participation in the Intwasa Arts Festival; support for the setup of the Bulawayo Cultural Affairs Office with the Bulawayo City Council; support for the book ‘Bulawayo Township Rhythms & Songs’ by Othnell ‘Mangoma’ Moyo; publishing of the book ‘The Election Day Trilogy’ written by Chris Mlalazi; taking Zimbabwean comedy to Morocco and embarking on a project for the protection of cultural heritage.

In 2018 business included invitations to contribute Zimbabwean expertise and experiences to several cultural development initiatives in the continent – Rwanda, Kenya, Namibia, Ethiopia, and most recently, the Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference in Tanzania, and the 3rd Specialised Technical Committee Meeting on Youth, Culture & Sport in Algiers, Algeria.

TANZANIA: Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference
Nhimbe Trust Executive Director, Josh Nyapimbi, participated in the 2nd Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 11-12 October 2018.  Themed, ‘Intellectual Property as collateral for Financing the Creative Economy in East Africa’, the purpose of the conference was to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement on IP securitisation and financing opportunities for East Africa’s cultural and creative industry.

As discourse on investment and IP has gained traction on the African continent, Nhimbe’s participation at the conference was motivated by the need to plug into Pan African best practices that will guarantee the growth and global competitiveness of the arts and culture subsectors that NGAO serves.
To date, Nhimbe has attended numerous forums and conferences whose area of prioritisation has been the investment and IP ecosystem of cultural and creative industries. What has emerged as a chord of commonality in these forums that have been organised at a national, regional, continental and global level, is the desire to position banks and financial institutions as an integral part of the cultural and creative industry value chain. Of particular concern to arts and culture industry players has been the structuring of financial institutions and how these limit opportunities of funding.

The Mashariki conference, in its innovative approach of ensuring that banking system stakeholders are included in culture and creative industry engagement, provided a road map of how best creatives can tap into mainstream funding opportunities on a commercial basis. Finance and economic experts expressed that banking systems are standardised for universality and global competitiveness. Therefore, there should not be an expectation for these to be revised to suit the context of the creative sector. Cultural and creative industry players, particularly those in the arts and culture sector, were strongly encouraged to formulate policy frameworks that will translate their sector into one that is bankable. One of the frameworks that was identified for the realisation of this, is IP securitisation.

The absence of IP securitisation models creates an environment that is conducive for the emergence of replications and counterfeits that make cultural goods and services unbankable. The economic viability of the arts and culture subsector will majorly be determined by the formulation of IP standardisation policies that will guarantee that artistic expressions are protected and positioned within mainstream funding ecosystems. Institutions working with arts and culture creatives at various levels of the creative industry value chain will also have to play a watchdog role over cultural expressions to identify products that are in violation of IP and copyright standards.

Nhimbe is committed to this exercise and welcomes AU’s model law on IP. This model law, once adopted, will be a progressive step towards the advancement of policy recommendations that were tabled at the Mashariki conference.

ALGERIA: Specialised Technical Committee Meeting on Youth, Culture & Sport
The AU 3rd Specialised Technical Committee meeting on Youth, Culture and Sport (STC-YCS3) was convened in Algiers, Algeria from 21-25 October 2018.  As expressed by an AU report on the outcomes of deliberations, “the meeting was held to provide a common platform for Ministers in charge of Youth, Culture and Sport and Senior Officials to review the process on the implementation of decisions of the STC-YCS2, to deliberate on the theme of the conference as well on the specific issues pertaining to the three sectors. The STC-YCS3 was also geared towards enhancing the establishment of synergies between the three sectors of Youth, Culture and Sports.”  Nhimbe’s Global Affairs Observatory was represented by Nhimbe’s Executive Director, Josh Nyapimbi.

Culture-based deliberations at the meeting were mainly centred on the protection and promotion of African cultural heritage.  Various mechanisms and strategies for the realisation of this goal were reviewed, revised and proposed:

Draft African Union Model Law on the Protection of Cultural Property and Heritage: This model law, which will be tabled for review and adoption by the AU assembly and the AU STC on Justice and Legal Affairs, is anticipated to provide a blueprint to AU member states on the creation of legislation that protects both tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Beyond the protection of cultural heritage within the borders of each AU member state, the model law is set to be innovative in its introduction of cross-border protection of cultural property and heritage, inter-sectorial cooperation and the facilitation of the repatriation of ‘illicitly trafficked cultural goods, objects and heritage.’

The Establishment of the Great Museum of Africa: As a defining feature of Agenda 2063, the museum, upon completion in 2021, will be a generational legacy that will showcase, preserve and celebrate Africa’s cultural heritage

International Day of African and Afro-Descendent Culture: 24 January was proposed to be a day AU member states and diaspora communities would celebrate their heritage and the diversity of African languages

Project Interactive Africa:  The project makes use of digital media to gather and preserve African heritage for the purposes of increasing appreciation of African cultures and strengthening linkages Africans have with their descendants

Cultural Parks: In strengthening the interconnectedness of natural and cultural heritage, it was proposed that there is need to create cultural parks that will use an environmental dimension to preserve and conserve natural heritage

In addition to interactions on African cultural heritage, the Observatory of Cultural Policies of Africa presented a draft implementation guide on the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance.  The Charter was adopted by the AU assembly in 2006 and has, to date, not received enough ratifications to enter into force.

Overall, STC-YCS3 demonstrated that there is commitment by AU member states to both advance the cultural dimensions of Agenda 2063 and achieve the goals of Agenda 2063 through culture mainstreaming. Civil society organisations such as Nhimbe Trust remain key to this process as watchdog institutions and as organs that guarantee that recommendations of AU member states find expression at grassroots level in a format and language that communities can understand.

Post published in: Arts

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