The current Corona crisis is hitting hard all industries and the creative sector is no exception. In general, the arts sector will in the next few weeks and months face a tragedy of unprecedented level. The government of Zimbabwe on Tuesday declared COVID-19 a state of National Disaster and the President announced a raft of measures crafted as part of the response mechanism for the country. We applaud the measures taken by the government as the nation’s health and well-being comes first.

As National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), difficult as it may be, we call upon ALL stakeholders, stockholders, players and consumers in the cultural and creative industries to step up and comply with the response measures set by the government. Unfortunately, COVID-19 knows no timeframe and knows no numbers, as industry players we need to think people and not event. If players are to put people first and cancel, suspend or postpone events that had been planned already, we will go a long way in contributing in a positive way to the national response.

As NACZ we call upon all organizers of World Theatre Day associated activities, meant to be held this March, to CANCEL them forthwith. The same MUST apply to all other events falling in April within the time frame given by the government. This is obviously a sad chapter in the arts business in this country as artists and promoters alike will find themselves in a precarious situation as livelihoods are threatened.

Meanwhile, we acknowledge responsible leadership already shown by the shelving of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) Indaba by the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, shutdown of the three (3) National Galleries of Zimbabwe and the shelving of the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards. We also recognize that in response to the call, the inaugural Stephen Chifunyise International Theatre Festival has immediately invested in a digital platform and is set to be a new but exciting festival online. On the other hand, the Hokoyo Album launch by Jah Pryzah will now be online via Facebook Livestream.

Some of the promoters that had already signed contracts and paid international artists have already committed to playing their roles in canceling those major shows. The Burna Boy Concert by Kayse Connect has officially been postponed to a later date to be fixed. Two concerts bringing in top DJs from South Africa by 2Kings Entertainment have also been postponed. We salute these promoters as they take the lead in protecting creative music consumers from exposure and at the same time complying with the government’s call.

At NACZ we are alive to the negative impact that this COVID-19 disaster will have on the Creative and Cultural Sector. Most artists the world over, by nature, are very vulnerable and in this period, it means their livelihoods are put on hold as the world deals with COVID-19. The industry will have to deal with the impact of the cancellations and/or postponement of performances /events during this period of uncertainty.

In the meantime creatives, celebrities and ambassadors of various products are stepping up their participation as key communicators on various messages on coronavirus. Together we stand to protect each other and together we shall stand to build our economy and our industries inclusive of the creative industry.

 

Nicholas Moyo

Executive Director

19 March 2020