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Monday, 28 November 2011

Arts should fall under tourism ministry - Kausa

By Andrew Mulenga

Seasoned critic and contemporary Zambian art historian, Roy Kausa, has called on the new government to place support of the arts under the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Tourism rather than the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs.
Art critic Roy Kausa is also condemned the
rebranding of the Zambia tourism logo and slogan
"I am appealing to government to quickly consider the arts to fall under the tourism ministry. Then with the help of stakeholders the ministry can identify which people can sit on the National Arts Council from the various arts disciplines," said Kausa in an interview early this week "The minister of tourism should call a meeting where the creative community can sit down and map a way forward otherwise I see no future for the arts if they fall under the ministry of chiefs and traditional rulers, because tourism as well as art is dynamic. Let culture related issues be handled by the chiefs and other traditional rulers"
Kausa also argues that disunity, modest education and a general lack of seriousness within the ranks of the arts fraternity has been detrimental to the advancement of the arts since Zambia's independence.
"Let me amplify on this one, first of all let me say for the past 47 years, Zambian artists have not been sincere with themselves, sincere in the sense that we are probably the only country in the sub-region without proper academic education in the arts and lack of serious recognition from government," he said, also highlighting what he observed as anomalies within the creative and tourism sectors early this year.
Fally Ipupa
"Look at what happened recently in the previous government. If we (the arts fraternity) had fallen under a serious ministry. I don't think the ministry would have allowed the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) to allow a foreign musician to come and be the face of a re launch or help rebrand Zambia's tourism slogan," argues Kausa "Even if you look at the new logo 'Let's Explore' for me thats a national disaster. I'm also appealing to the minister of tourism to investigate what happened, how did they change from our beautiful logo 'Zambia The  Real Africa'. I know there was a lot of money that ended up in the pockets of whoever came up with this funny idea."
Early this year Congolese Rhumba star Fally Ipupa performed at Lusaka’s Taj Pamodzi Hotel to launch the new ZTB brand under the slogan ‘Zambia: Let’s Explore’, much to the displeasure of local artists, prominent among them Maiko Zulu, Chairman of Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) who expressed great disappointment by ZTB’s decision to sideline Zambian artistes.
Ironically, as much as the likes of Kausa, Zulu and local artistes at large may show disappointment at ZTB's invitation of a Congolese artist to 'rebrand' Zambia, the ZTB marketing gimmick seems to have done quite well if this year’s Zambia Institute of Marketing awards are anything to go by. "Let’s Explore" has been nominated in the Best Brand Marketing Campaign of The Year and the Board itself has been nominated for the "Best Product Launch Of The Year".
Nevertheles, back to  Kausa, he had no kind words for the National Arts Council's and the Ngoma Awards, saying they need an entire revamp.
The new tourism logo as launched
by Congolese artiste Fally Ipupa 
"For years now, the National Arts Council has lost direction that is why arts bodies have collapsed. I therefore find it prudent that honourable Given Lubinda an artist  himself should take up the arts under his ministry it would be easier for him to identify which leaders in the arts who can provide a formidable arts council as it was under Mumba Kapumpa's leadership. Kapumpa worked closely with people who had a vision... like Martin Phiri for the visual arts and Webster Malama in music... in fact what's what made things work not just because he is brother K," he explains "And the giving of awards to artists of late has been a big joke. These are just events for people to come together to drink and eat, what should be done is at least after every two years the NAC works closely with the business community. Giving an artiste K1.5m is a joke, imagine converting that to dollars, its peanuts. First prize should be something like K100 million per prize. It’s supposed to be a life-changing moment to win a national award."
Kausa says what artists need first of all is unity so that even the government can recognise them as partners and not the 'beggars' that they have been for the past 50 years or so.
Kausa has written critically on the arts for over three decades and has contributed to publications such as the Zambia Daily Mail, Lusaka Lowdown and The Zambian Traveller. He has also written several exhibition catalogues and has played the role of curator. Kausa sits on the board of the Lechwe Arts Trust.
The old tourism logo
Kausa's cry evidently comes from the fact that the Zambian creative fraternity have for a long time felt orphaned as they have been handed over from ministry to ministry since Zambia's independence.
Public grants to support the sector are as good as non-existent. The National Arts Council (NAC),  a statutory body governed by an Act of Parliament is supposed to oversee such support. By definition, its role is as clear as it was formulated to mediate, regulate and provide technical support needs to artists of various back-grounds and forms. On the practical front, NAC is grossly underfunded, disenfranchised and not as organised as well as it should have been.
Current statistics show that NAC – which is also the mother body of the Visual Arts Council – has regrettably not lived up to its own mission statement - "To facilitate the development, promotion and nurturing of all forms of amateur and professional arts practice countrywide".
As a cultural entity it competes for funding with several other cultural bodies, and as a governing body its core areas of patronage have been divided across several line ministries. This has not made its work any easier. Ironically these are problems that the previous government itself acknowledged by means of a disclaimer in its National Cultural Policy (2003, p6):

"2.7 Administration and Co-ordination of Cultural Affairs. The Cultural Sector cuts across a number of line ministries such as: 
a) The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services (under which the Department of Cultural services and the National Arts Council of Zambia fall); 
b) The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services (under which Zambia Music Copyright Protection Society and film and cinema administration fall); 
c) The Ministry of Tourism (under which the National Museum Board and National Heritage Conservation Commission Falls);
d) The Ministry of Local Government and Housing (under which the administration of Chiefs falls); e) The Ministry of Science Technology and Vocational Training (under which the training of artists in col- leges falls); 
f) The Ministry of Home Affairs (under which the national Archives falls).
The above scenario raises the problem of co-ordination for effective and efficient delivery of cultural services to the nation."

It is under this gloom and neglect that fleeting subsistence from foreign granting bodies and embassies provide a glimmer of support. Under the PF, some of the ministries mentioned here may have been merged or scrapped all together. Nevertheless even as the new government settles in, there still seems no clarity or clear-cut policy that has been adopted to foster the arts industry vis-a-vis Zambia’s creative economy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your grateful informations, am working in Tourism Portal ,
    so it will be a better information’s for me. Try to post best informations like this always