Zimbabwe/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

The Arts and Cultural Industries- The cultural policy of Zimbabwe 2007 stresses on the importance of arts and culture industries in the development of the economy of Zimbabwe. The cultural policy of 2007 provides that, ‘Cognisant of the potential the creative and cultural industry plays in both the economic and social development of the country, the Government will enact legislation to provide an enabling environment for the growth of this sector. The resultant effect should be the adoption of strategies, which will yield public appreciation, participation and consumption of our diverse arts and culture products.’ Art products are one of Zimbabwe’s major exports to the developed countries. In 2006 NACZ was supported by UNESCO to carry-out a survey on the contribution of the creative industry to Gross Domestic Product. 

Cultural diversity- The NACZ with the support of the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture every year organises the Culture Week celebrations around May 21 to commemorate cultural diversity in the country. The theme for Culture Week Celebrations for the year 2010 was, ‘Zimbabwe’s Cultural Diversity at 30.’ 

Safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage- Zimbabwe has been active in the implementation of the 2003 Convention on Safeguarding tangible and intangible cultural heritage. The implementation was initiated by the Zimbabwean National Commission of UNESCO’s Standing Committee on Culture which comprises representatives of Government departments responsible for culture aspects, arts and culture parastatals and arts and culture experts and representatives of some arts and culture national associations.

All UNESCO Conventions on Culture are processed through the Standing Committee on Culture. The committee overseas the implementation of Conventions on culture by requesting to be informed by implementing agencies, and assisting in dealing with challenges faced by those involved. The committee also process applications for UNESCO Country Participation Projects. 

In 1991, the Standing Committee set up a Committee to deal with issues to do with intangible cultural heritage. The Committee, set up under the Ministry of Education, Sport & Culture under the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary composed of 25 individuals who were considered experts in intangible cultural heritage, as well as custodians and creators of intangible cultural heritage for nominations for the Proclamation of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.(Chifunyise 2010).

Chapter published: 28-09-2011