Arts and Sport stakeholders decry lack of facilities

By Tafara Chikumira
STAKEHOLDERS have raised concern over the neglect of recreational and sporting facilities in Midlands Province amid indications that some amenities are being converted into business and residential areas for commercial purposes.
This comes after a damning audit report by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, which exposed some local authorities for converting sporting and recreational facilities into business and residential areas.
“We used to have recreational facilities like theatre halls where musicians and actors were natured in the townships. These places have now been reduced to private colleges and pre-schools.
“Some have even been demolished to pave way for businesses. This has a long bearing on us as a nation. It is at such places that we used to have some of the best actors and musicians being natured. The effect has a bearing on what we even see on television as dramas and musicians.
“People will always argue that actors of yesteryear were good it was because of proper grooming and if nothing is done we are heading for serious problems in entertainment circles as a country. We used to have a golf course and some sporting facilities in Mkoba and Ascort. All these places have now been turned into residential areas. What are our kids supposed to do under such circumstances?
“Surely we need to preserve such places. The city fathers who instigated such have pocketed money at the expense of generations to come. My major worry is centred on the rural visual artists. We are being under represented hugely. We hardly have a place to sell our paintings no matter how good they are. Its about time that government also considers our plight as rural artists. A lot can be done to help us to reach our potential.”
Director of Arts and Culture in the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Dr Biggie Samwanda says government is ceased with the matter.
“I must say we are in the process of gathering data on all recreational facilities that are not functioning well,” he said.
“We are coming up with a broad initiative to ensure that these facilities become functional. We are also trying to find a way on how some of the facilities can be transferred to be run by government departments. I would like to urge most artists to form or join associations so that you bring your grievances as a group as most issues are the same across the country.
“We are also in the process of decentralising some of our operations. This means rural communities will be taken care of.”
Government is already in the process of formulating legislative and policy to create a conducive working environment for artists and athletes in the country.

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