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

4.2.1 Conceptual issues of policies for the arts

One of the major issues that people in Zimbabwe have been discussing is the issue of arts administration.

Stakeholders in the education, sport, arts and culture sector say there is need for government to consider splitting the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, arguing that the current set up is compromising efficiency and service delivery as it is too broad. Artists are expressing views about the underperformance of the responsible ministry and have called on government to split it as it is too broad. They also lament the lack of funding in sport and arts programmes which is mostly due to the fact that the larger part of the budget is set aside for education. 

Stakeholders have also complained about the National Arts Council which is operating under an outdated Act. According to them the NACZ should be an autonomous body free from government interference. The government’s role would then be to fund the council, so it carries out the responsibility of funding arts and culture. 

The second major issue at policy level is the budget allocation given to arts and culture. The government has not given enough support to the budgets for the NAC, National Gallery and National Library and Documentation Services and the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe among other parastatals and departments that deal with arts and culture. These institutions do not get funding for programmes. In the end they have to rely on partnerships with the private sector and donors for the implementation of programmes. 

The other controversial issue is the cultural policy document itself. Since its adoption in 2007 it has not been publicised enough to the extent that most stakeholders have never seen it. The adoption of the document was not followed by the development of a national cultural strategy and plan of action to facilitate for the implementation of the policy.

Chapter published: 28-09-2011