Home Arts & Entertainment Skilled artists will position Zimbabwe as a leader in the global creative space – Prof Mavima

Skilled artists will position Zimbabwe as a leader in the global creative space – Prof Mavima

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Skilled artists will position Zimbabwe as a leader in the global creative space –  Prof Mavima

Story by Justin Mahlahla

The Minister of Skills Audit and Development, Professor Paul Mavima has urged the arts sector to embrace skills development in order to grow the sector and enhance the competitiveness of local products on the global scene.

In his address during the launch of the Skug Barn and Market in Harare this Thursday, Professor Mavima emphasised the need to grow arts skills in the areas of marketing and networking, among others.

“The skills component in the arts is essential in empowering artists to excel in their craft. By providing opportunities for training, mentorship, and professional development, we can help artists hone their skills, push boundaries, and explore new creative horizons. This, in turn, enables them to produce high-quality work that captivates audiences and makes a meaningful impact.

“When we talk about markets in the arts, we are not just selling paintings or performances – we are selling stories, emotions, and experiences. By tapping into local and international markets, artists can diversify their audience base and generate foreign currency through the sale of their artwork and performances. This not only benefits the artists themselves but also contributes to our overall economic growth. Under the National Development Strategy 1, government seeks to increase the consumption of local cultural and creative industry products by 50 percent by 2030,” said the Minister.

He added, “We must remember and indeed be convinced that Zimbabwean national identity is reflected in its food, art, music and fashion. Our creative industry therefore plays a vital role in preserving and promoting these cultural treasures. By introducing skills that grow the creative industry, Zimbabwe will also be able to diversify its economy. The government recognises that in order to thrive and reach its Vision 2030 goals, it must expand and modernise. The creative industry is endowed with such great potential for growth, and by investing skills in it now, Zimbabwe can position itself as a leader in the global creative space.”

“Capturing markets is crucial for expanding the reach and impact of our artists. By raising artists’ profiles and promoting emerging talents, we can help them gain visibility, recognition, and opportunities to showcase their work to a broader audience. Through strategic marketing and networking initiatives, we can open doors for artists to access new markets and establish themselves as successful professionals in the industry. As we celebrate and profile artists of all forms, from painters to musicians, dancers to actors, we must also recognize the arts as a business. Artists are entrepreneurs in their own right, and by equipping them with the knowledge and skills to navigate the business side of their craft, we can help them sustain and grow their careers in a competitive market,” he added.

Social networks play a pivotal role in promoting artists and connecting them with their audience, said the Minister, adding, “By leveraging digital platforms and online communities, artists can engage with fans, showcase their work, and build relationships that transcend physical boundaries. This not only enhances their visibility but also creates opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, and collaborations that drive their success.”
Professor Mavima explained that the Ministry of Skills Audit and Development plays a vital role in promoting arts skills by investing in training programmes, workshops, and educational initiatives that empower artists to excel in their chosen field.

“Through strategic partnerships with industry stakeholders, educational institutions, and community organizations, we can create a supportive ecosystem that nurtures talent, fosters innovation, and celebrates diversity in the arts.”

He also emphasised the important relationship between arts development and tourism promotion, especially in a city as culturally vibrant as Harare.

“By showcasing the unique talents and creative expressions of our artists, we can attract tourists, art lovers, and cultural enthusiasts to our city, boosting tourism revenue and elevating Harare as a must-visit destination for arts and culture. As we embark on this incredible journey with Skug Barn, let us continue to champion the arts, support our artists, and celebrate the transformative power of creativity in our society. The Ministry of Skills Audit and Development welcomes your input and ideas to grow the arts together. We will share skills and deliberately grow this sector so that it contributes meaningfully to our national GDP, but first, individuals lives must be transformed, through skills training.”

Skug Barn and marketing platform co-founder, Nomvula Mhambi said the Skug Barn Entertainment & Creative Hub Concept was started by two women in November 2022.

“We started this venture with the intention of offering a safe and fun environment for women to go and have a good time whilst being able to make some extra income through our events such as the Skug market. We are finally ready to
showcase to the rest of Zimbabwe what we have to offer and would love to take this journey with you,” she said.

It involves the Skug Party Bus, a concept created to compliment the work done by registered tour operators.

“We bring ‘the Vibes’ to what would have been an ordinary bus trip to a destination. Instead when a tour operator partners Skug Party Bus, their clients receive on board live entertainment, a party host, customized food and beverage services to suit their preference and a whole well executed and curated experience. We are transforming how people travel to their destinations around Zimbabwe and across our borders. Skug Party Bus will see a revival of Township tourism, city tours and play a significant role in putting Domestic tourism back in the spotlight.

“We aim to use this concept to promote social community initiatives that support the arts and culture sector in Zimbabwe and will play an important role in amplifying our efforts to curate memorable experiences around ‘Brand Zimbabwe’. This party bus will offer a safe and fun means to explore Zimbabwe reducing drunk driving or road carnage from negligent driving by party revelers. It will also make the costs associated with exploring Zimbabwe more attractive by allowing participants to take advantage of group packages and offers,” she said.

The Skug Market & Skug Market E-Commerce Platform also compliments the experience with the inteoruction of a virtual market through a website where people can buy locally produced goods and services and stream locally produced content.

Added Mhambi, “We have tasked ourselves to gather 200 artists from across the creative sector and help them generate a gross profit of USD$500 each. The successful execution of this initiative will see Skug Market contributing revenue streams worth one million dollars to the creative industry in Zimbabwe. We will achieve this through a strong local and global network that stretches asross organizations such Zimtrade, as well as local and international shipping companies. We will also tap into the extensive social capital possessed by the Skug Founders and their peers.

“Besides remittances how are we tapping into the large diaspora community? Skug Market will give them the ability to contribute to the Ziababwean economy through purchasing locally made products on the platform and streaming music and other content generated in Zimbabwe. Using the platform, diasporans will be able to purchase locally made products with ease, while we handle the complicated logistics for them. One of the biggest challenges we will solve for them is how to transport their local favorites to the countries they reside in when they are away from home. To do this, we intend to send containers to the UK and the USA at least once per quarter with goods that will be listed on the website.”