Masvingo artists lament lack of art facilities – DailyNews

MASVINGO artists lamented the lack of venues and facilities needed to carry out their work.

This came out at the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) Stakeholder Workshop held at the Charles Austin Theater in Masvingo last week.

Kudzaiishe Murove, who runs the Utakataka Express (4×4) run by Tongai Jnr Moyo, said the lack of art facilities is hampering arts development.

“We don’t have public places to rely on for rehearsals. At the time, we relied on the Charles Austin Theater, but the owners – the City of Masvingo – chose to lease it to private owners.

“We are happy that the town of Masvingo has managed to recover the joint, but unfortunately the venue is not yet suitable for performances because it was left in poor condition by previous tenants,” said Murove.

Vadamburi Express group leader Last Chirambamuriwo agreed with Murove. He said the lack of facilities in Zimbabwe’s oldest city was the main reason Masvingo artists moved to larger urban centers such as Harare to pursue their careers.

“There is no public performance facility to speak of in Masvingo. We only have private bars and nightclubs. The town of Masvingo has leased its arts facilities, making it difficult for local artists to find places to rehearse. To make matters worse, private entertainment venues typically charge around an hour for rehearsals, which is out of reach for many performers,” he said.

In response to artists’ concerns, Zimura deputy director Henry Makombe said his organization would contract the town of Masvingo for land to build an arts venue.

“We have already acquired land in Bulawayo where we intend to build an arts center with facilities such as rehearsal rooms, studios and offices among others for the benefit of musicians. We also intend to work with Masvingo to create the installation,” he said.

It’s not just musicians who have been frustrated by the lack of facilities and opportunities at Masvingo, award-winning filmmaker Sydney Taivavashe recently told our sister newspaper. Sunday Daily News that he was forced to move from Masvingo to Harare in search of better opportunities.

“I fell in love with cinema in 2003 while staying in the small mining town of Mashava in Masvingo. I saw a film tape from a projector and seeing the images and how the projector turned them into motion left an indelible mark on me.

“While at Masvingo I used my tuition to invest in art and that’s when I moved to Harare where there are better opportunities and facilities,” said Taivavashe.

Taivavashe is now a force to be reckoned with within the arts industry. He is the director of internationally renowned films such as Gonarezhou, The story of Mbuya Nehanda and poor cousinsamong others.

William E. Bennett