The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter
IN what Amagugu International Heritage Centre founding director Pathisa Nyathi has described as a giant leap for the arts, Government has established the Arts Development Fund, with the Matobo-based centre becoming the first recipient after it was given $25 000 to complete one of its buildings.
According to National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Nicholas Moyo, the fund will from next year be part of the country’s national budget.
Nyathi revealed that the amount was handed over to the centre on 26 November, following an earlier visit by Government officials. They were impressed by the centre’s self-sufficiency and decided to lend a helping hand.
“They came to Amagugu in the company of about four members of staff all from the National Arts Council. That was a follow-up to an earlier visit to Amagugu some few months. They were impressed by what was there more so because what they saw there wasn’t a result of support from Government financially nor was it from some NGO. It was all from our own pockets so there was an appreciation of the fact that we had done all of that without extending a begging bowl,” he said.
Nyathi said the cash windfall would be crucial for the completion of construction work at the centre.
“There was a building performing side that we had not completed and what was needed was cement — 50 bags of cement. This was giving give us a challenge and on that day the ministry pledged to do something about it. They followed up on that promise and gave us $25 000,” he said.
Nyathi said the fund was something that they had been campaigning for over a long period of time.
“The gist for me is not that we got the money but what actually stands out is that for the first time the ministry has created what they call Arts Development Fund. This is what we have been clamouring for many years for. Government wasn’t giving money for arts development. For the first time they have created it and importantly as Amagugu we became the first recipient of the fund,” he said.
Nyathi said regardless of the amount given, the fund showed Government’s commitment to developing the arts.
“We have been told that as of next year it goes into the country’s national budget. For the arts that is quite significant. It may be a small step but I think for now it’s a giant leap in the right direction. When they begin to acknowledge that they need to grow the arts, develop the arts in various ways.
“That’s why on our part we are happy to have received that amount. It’s going to complete our project and timeously too. It comes before our Food Expo in March and when that event happens we would have completed that floor which had taken many years to complete. It was going to take us a bit of time but now we are quite comfortable. This is a move by Government that we welcome as Amagugu,” he said.