In making the balance between supporting “little fires or bonfires”, the Culture Fund is investing in ideas and projects from individuals and organizations while facilitating cultural exchange and cooperation across the country, regionally and internationally in the following thematic areas:,
Millennium Development Goal 3 - Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women In delivering its mandate to the cultural and creative sector of Zimbabwean society, Culture Fund pays particular focus to vulnerable groups of marginalized women and youth in rural & urban community settings. The Fund contributes to the unlocking of the full potential of women in the cultural and creative economy by bringing their experience, knowledge and interests into the productive matrix through providing grants and technical assistance to projects aimed at uplifting the status of women.
The institution promotes gender equality and women’s participation ensuring that women get empowerment opportunities in the arts and culture sector through gender diversity policies. The Culture Fund Board policy stipulates that more than 30 % of grants should go to female-led projects annually. In practice an average 46% of the grants have been awarded to female led projects for the past three years.
Some key highlights include support for International Images Film Festival (IIFF) organized by Women Film Makers of Zimbabwe, Pamberi Trust’s Female Literary Arts and Music Enterprise (FLAME) Programme, the Association of Women in Performing Arts in Zimbabwe workshops to train female artists on their Intellectual Property rights, book publishing support to Primrose Dzenga, Mbuya Rose Siyachitema and
Colette Mutangadura; and the Ibhaisikopo project by Priscillah Sithole, which trains female artists (some whom are disabled) in photography and filmmaking. The Fund supports and keeps a quota for female artists in its creative entrepreneurship and festival management programmes.
Some uplifting stories
Diana is an award winning female artist who ventured into the male dominated sculpture industry. Her accolades include Most Promising Female Artist Award in The African Millennium Exhibition (2004), First Prize in the female category in the CAC Exhibition (2006) and a Special Mention Award in Gabriel Suskin Prize for Shona Sculpture (New York -2007).With a grant from the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust in 2007, she boosted her raw materials to produce works for sale locally and internationally. Her project is yielding positive results. Diana is a living example of the fact that women, given the platform, have the potential to achieve great things.
In July 2011, Patience Tavengwa, an award winning and experienced film and theatre director got a Culture Fund grant for the purchase of an I-Mac 27 Inch LED 16:9 Widescreen Computer and a Final Cut Pro Suite software. With this support Patience is set to improve the standards of her independent production house, I Dream Productions and help make a meaningful contribution to the local film production industry.
Almega Textile Design Workshop
Almega textile design is a project by rural based and disadvantaged women in Murehwa. The project sells ethnic garments and tie ‘n’ dye fabrics to the local community. Culture Fund supported a textile skills and development workshop held by Almega Textile at Murehwa Culture Centre in September 2011. This kind of assistance helps empower rural women through skills development and positions them for improved livelihoods.Grassroots training and development initiatives form the cornerstone of a sustainable culture industry through youth empowerment. The programs carried out by stakeholders and cooperating organizations form the building blocks of a viable culture sector. Through providing grants to programs run by cooperating partners, Culture Fund is making a positive contribution to transforming communities economically, culturally and socially through arts and culture.
The opening up of opportunities through culture locally and internationally demanded that Government and cooperating partners take a new look at; and re-align the school’s curriculum to suit this dispensation. The teaching of national culture, art and
traditions to young children in schools at grassroots level became an important part of Government policy.
Arts education and development contributes to youth empowerment through enhancing traditional values, inculcates cultural appreciation, raises cultural awareness and imparts artistic skills in the youth. It creates pride in national heritage and lays a sound foundation for young people to make meaningful contributions to the global cultural industry through new creative cultural products that are uniquely Zimbabwean; grounded in national values. Over the past 30 years,a number of organizations and individuals moved in to complement Government policy through various initiatives.
Some Initiatives Supported by Culture Fund
Bringing CHIPAWAO to More Children Festivals
CHIPAWO is an arts education for development and employment trust which works with children and young people in child development. At its centre in Harare, it trains children in music, dance (traditional and modern) and drama.Culture Fund supports Bringing CHIPAWO to More Children Festivals, a program that takes CHIPAWO’s training programs to rural schools. CHIPAWO trainers have held workshops for children from selected schools in Magunje and Mt. Darwin training children in mbira and dances such as dinhe, mbakumba, muchongoyo, mhande, isithikhitsa.
Isiphiwo Sami Schools Festival
Theatre, music, poetry and dance-drama training school Inkululeko Yabatsha School of Arts (IYASA) runs the annual Isiphiwo Sami Schools Festival; a series of training workshops and competitions for young children in the City of Bulawayo. The festival is also community outreach and talent search program that has seen more than 15 schools participating and benefiting from the workshops and competitions. With an ensemble of 20 full-time performers the internationally acclaimed IYASA has take Zimbabwean culture to the global stage with its exciting, deep and thought provoking productions. The youth focused multi-award winning performing arts organization has over the past 10 years successfully exported Zimbabwean culture through stories, music and dance.
UMP Traditional Music and Dance Association
UMP Traditional Music and Dance Association has also conducted youth training workshops focusing mainly on the mbende (Jerusarema) dance in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. In 2009 alone, Culture Fund provided a grant of US$4,400.00 (Four Thousand Four Hundred United States Dollars) for UMP to carry out grassroots training of the very popular Zimbabwean dance.Culture Fund grants to these and other organizations and initiatives continue to strengthen grassroots training and development programs, enhances youth empowerment complement the formal schools’ curriculum.
“A dynamic, diversified and sustainable culture sector imbued with Zimbabwean values and identity which contributes towards wealth creation.” – Vision of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust.
In the face of the rapid onslaught of different cultures brought about by accelerated globalisation aided by a fast changing technological environment, enhancing national pride through promoting national identity and preserving heritage has gained paramount importance. It is a key driver of wealth creation as it gives Zimbabwean cultural products a competitive edge on the global stage.
Through grants and initiatives that build the organizational capacities of cooperating partners, communities and stakeholders the Culture Fund contributes to the creation of a vibrant cultural industry and environment that is conducive for the production of unique cultural products while establishing global relevance.
The Culture Fund has taken an active role in enhancing national pride through supporting initiatives aimed at preserving and promoting heritage and all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance.The Culture Fund has a longstanding partnership with National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) to provide grants for the National Merit Awards (NAMA) among other initiatives.
NAMA, Zimbabwe’s premier awards ceremony seeks to promote the growth and development of the arts and culture through the recognition of talent, excellence and outstanding achievements. The event provides a platform for local artistes to receive national, regional and international recognition.
Support is also rendered to local and minority initiatives aimed at sustaining culture and preserving traditions that are risk of dying or disappearing from national memory. In the past few years Culture Fund has provided grants to Tapfuma Gutsa, Tsitsi Mariwo and Saki Mafundikwa to conduct research among the BaTonga people from Binga. This intensive research is on a number of elements, chief among them being the creative motifs and craft behind the Binga Baskets as well as the indigenous knowledge systems of the great river people. A similar initiative at local level is the grant for documentation of Ndau Culture in the Chipinge and Chimanimani Districts. Completion of the project will result in one of the few reference books on Ndau culture, a rare addition to the body of knowledge on Zimbabwean culture.
On a broader national scale the fund also supports Mawirirano Napasi by Stella Chiweshe, a unique venture that aims at promoting and documenting Zimbabwean traditions through hosting annual Biras (traditional religious ceremonies to praise and appease national spirits). The traditional gatherings bring together elderly people, traditional chiefs and communities from around Zimbabwe to participate in a three day Bira ceremony. Participants also engage in deep discussions on traditional laws of nature and traditional knowledge systems.
Great Musicians of My Time is a legacy project by Daniel Karavina which seeks to promote national pride by preserving and promoting the memory of Zimbabwean musicians through sculpture. The project is ongoing and with continued funding; it will contribute towards greater national pride among Zimbabweans.
Jikinya Children’s Traditional Dance Festival, a national dance festival, performance arts training and competitions at grassroots and provincial level such as the Chinhoyi Urban Schools Festival, UMP Traditional Music and Dance Association and CHIPAWO’s workshops bring together individuals from cultural backgrounds, norms and values. The interactions during these initiatives supported by the Culture Fund help create understanding and enhance cultural pride among the young generation.
The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust has also provided funding for the Dictionary of Shona Names by Professor Kahari, key arts and craft centres, the Great Zimbabwe Traditional Village Project, Nambiya Cultural Association and Enyandeni Cultural Village.
The Fund is a key development agency that cooperates to harmonize institutional, group and individual functions for the promotion national heritage, pride and identity while to helping to build a sustainable culture sector in Zimbabwe
Since time immemorial festivals of one kind or another have always been an integral and important part of Zimbabwean culture. In the distant past, a festival’s value to various communities and peoples was mainly religious ceremonies (praying for rain) or a celebration of important events such as a good harvest.
In modern times festivals have taken another dimension in that they have become a platform for culture agents to exchange fair value with other members of society in communities. While artists and organisers create an entertainment value for audiences they in turn get material benefits in the form of livelihoods and influence. This way; festivals are an important aspect of Zimbabwean culture even today as they have adapted both in form and substance in response to the much changed social, cultural and economic environment.
Modern festivals also provide platforms for cultural expression that fill the cultural needs of society. Numbers of formally organised festivals meant to cater for the needs of different communities have grown over the years. However, there are challenges for most festival stakeholders (culture agents, cultural entrepreneurs, artist, audiences and communities) in Zimbabwe today. These challenges include funding, organizational capacity and managerial skills to make these events worthwhile for communities and stakeholders.
Since its formation, the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust, in line with its vision, which seeks to create a dynamic, diversified and sustainable culture sector imbued with Zimbabwean values and identity by contributing towards wealth creation; and its mission of contributing to the growth of the culture sector in Zimbabwe by providing finance and technical support to cultural practitioners, institutions and activities has moved in to fill the gaps, address the challenges and ensure the delivery of better managed festivals in communities at all levels.
The Fund is fast emerging as the key contributor to community development through supporting different kinds of community arts festivals and consistently delivering on its mandate. Culture Fund delivers this mandate through the pursuit of its goals that include establishing a sustainable fund with a strong management capacity, identifying talent and creating platforms for innovation and space to grow the culture sector while providing access to finance, markets and capability for culture agents.
The number of community festivals that have received support from the Fund has grown steadily from merely eight in 2009 to twenty two in 2011. The fund has distributed over US$50,000 in grants to various festivals nationwide over the same period. In addition, through carefully and closely monitoring and evaluating of each festival, the Fund continues to put in place interventions that strengthen communities’ and culture agents’ capacity to continue delivering better quality festivals to society.These include workshops and management training. This way; and with time festivals will become better managed and more sustainable while making a major contribution to wealth creation, employment and national development.
The Culture Fund supports high profile national festivals such as the Harare Jazz Festival, Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) and the Zimbabwe International Film Festival. The organization has also taken a very active role in the festivals sector nationwide by supporting festivals and events at provincial and local community level. Schools’ festivals and community festivals such as the Mashonaland West Schools Festival, the Chimanimani Arts Festival, Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo, Dzimbahwe Arts Festival, Gwanda Arts Festival, Manica Arts Festival, Kumakomoyo Arts Festival, Pakare Paye Solo Festival and Young Africa Arts Festival have received the much needed support from the Fund.
In so doing, the Fund seeks to address the immediate challenges faced by the different types of festivals while building the organisational capacity of culture agents within communities through funding and training initiatives. Culture Fund is increasingly playing a major role to create sustainable value for communities in that once weaknesses are adequately addressed, culture agents and community stakeholders can then grow and sustain the festivals in order to enrich, create wealth for the benefit of society. These benefits include material, influence, livelihood and community development through the arts and culture.
In pursuit of its strategic goal of Identifying talent and creating platforms for innovation and space to grow the culture sector; the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust provides grants to projects, individuals and organizations that are involved in the identification of artistic talents in different genres of arts as well as development and showcasing.
The identification, nurturing and development of talent; especially in the youth helps create a vibrant culture environment that leads to artistic excellence. Showcasing this new artistic talent during festivals, exhibitions and tours is an important aspect that contributes to the growing of audiences and consumers of new creative work.
The Fund is an integral part of coordinated talent search, training and development initiatives that offer growth opportunities through showcasing Zimbabwe’s cultural products locally, regionally and internationally. In 2005, Culture Fund provided a grant for Zimbabwean artists to participate in the Pan African Arts Festival that was held in Algiers, Algeria. The festival’s main goal was for African countries to come together and share their cultures.
The country was represented by Rute Mbangwa & Jazz Sensation (music), Albert Nyathi (poetry), the Masvingo Bira Group, Nyamuzeya Traditional Dance Group, Jerusarema Mbende Group and Hloseni Dance Ensemble (dance). The film sector was represented by Tsitsi Dangarebga’s film Kare Kare Zvako, which according to reports was favourably received.
Music Crossroads Zimbabwe Trust runs an important and well coordinated talent search, development and showcasing initiative in the music sector. The organization has received grants from the Culture Fund for the purchase of computers, musical instruments and a public address system. Music Crossroads has made an important contribution to Zimbabwe’s music sector over the past 10 years. Some of the musical groups that went through the Music Crossroads program have become household names nationally and have toured regionally and internationally. One group of note being Mookomba.
The Bulawayo based, internationally acclaimed theatre, dance and drama ensemble IYASA also runs a talent search and training program called Isiphiwo Sami Schools Festival. Culture Fund has also provided grants to this project which has become a vital launch pad for careers in performance arts.
In supporting and promoting talent search, development and showcasing Culture Fund is making a major contribution to creating role-models of Zimbabwean culture that will inspire future generations. It also harnesses the potential in youth, improves the quality of cultural products and helps cultural agents to construct career paths while growing markets and audiences in the industry.
The Culture Fund is an independent, non-partisan Zimbabwean civil society organization. Driven by its mission, vision and values; the organization takes an all encompassing and participatory approach in delivering its mandate to Zimbabwean society. The nation is re-examining and redefining its political, social and economic landscape after a decade of turmoil and decline characterized by political polarization, human right violations and economic decline. This is a time of nation building that demands contribution from all sectors of society.
The current environment has provided Culture Fund with a rare opportunity to demonstrate that sustainable democratic dispensations in any nation can only be achieved through incorporating a strong sense of culture, values and identity in national discourse. Culture Fund’s operations, have become multi-faceted in this complex web of nation building and is participating in the promotion of promotion of artists and human rights.
On the one hand the key rights issues concerning the arts and culture currently include freedom of expression, the promotion and protection of diversity, censorship, policy formulation and implementation, State funding and training. At the same time there is a realization that arts and culture is a viable tool for the promotion of the national healing process, peace and unity. The organization is in active cooperation with civil society, Government and partner development agencies; using the culture dimension to show the strengths and progressive nature of Zimbabwe and making an important contribution to achieving sustainable democracy and development through promoting artists and human rights.
The Fund has for the past three years been involved in initiatives aimed at creating a favorable human and artists’ rights environment through participating in national dialogue and funding projects that contribute to thought provoking national self examination such protest and awareness rising performances. On the dialogue front, Culture Fund has participated in the production of an Artists Charter an input document into the constitution making process. It also participated in the Constitution making and national healing workshops focused on the arts and culture sector.
In cooperation with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, British Council, UNESCO, the Fund participated in the Zimbabwe Arts and Culture Indaba in 2010. This initiative brought together stakeholders in the creative industries, academics and policy makers to deliberate on the wide range of issues affecting the sector. Various issues including human and artists’ rights were discussed at this national platform.
The objectives of the conference include; creating a forum for the culture sector to input into national frameworks on the Constitutional reform process, culture policy and strategies on culture. It also seeks to strengthen sector collaboration and participation in national processes in a coordinated manner while contributing to the consolidated growth of the culture sector, through dialoguing, networking and learning.
The areas covered at the National Arts and Culture Indaba included the National Policy on Arts and Culture, Amendment of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Act of 1985, the 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Promotion and Protection of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, Constitutional Reform and Intellectual Property.
Culture Fund also has a Memorandum of Understanding with African Regional Intellectual Property Office (ARIPO) and Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) for conducting workshops aimed at raising awareness and training artists on their intellectual property rights. In addition, the Fund is also culture sector cluster representative at NANGO and Crisis Coalition platforms and it supports the national cultural policy review processes by the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture.
Culture Fund festivals and theatre; artistic platforms that promote expression and interaction aimed at raising awareness on human and artists’ rights in communities.
The Culture Fund FreeXpression through Festivals programme is an important component of the building blocks to a sustainable, humane and vibrant Zimbabwean culture. Annual support in the form of grants and technical assistance is extended to platforms for free expression of intangible heritage and contemporary culture in all the provinces of Zimbabwe. Hundreds of artists and thousands of people in society benefit from the diversity of such cultural engagements.
Key platforms that have received grants in this area are the Kumakomoyo Arts Festival, community protest theatre through MAYO in Mutoko, Bengeso Muchongoyo in Manicaland and Edzai Nesu Protest Arts Theatre Productions by Tafadzwa Muzondo.The promotion of artists’ and human rights is complex and multi-faceted however, Culture Fund is making an invaluable contribution to this space through diverse activities whose combined effect will lead to a much improved democracy and rights situation in Zimbabwe.
In addition to providing grants for different projects and initiatives to culture agents, Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust makes a valuable contribution to the sector through its leadership and management skills development program. The program uses workshops and seminars targeted at the Fund’s grantees, industry players and stakeholders to provide training aimed at creating sustainable arts organizations.
This way, the Fund has become an enabling force that is helping people and organizations in the cultural industry to develop and perform better. The impact of the program in the medium to long term is to facilitate new insights, change and learning to ensure sector viability. The program is targeted at recipients of the Culture Fund grants and industry stakeholders selected from all the provinces. Some key workshops include the following.
The Creative Enterprise Program
This is a business skills training programme. Participants are trained how to put their grants to good use and to assist them to be self-sufficient. It also ensures that culture agents take advantage of the changes in world economy and their immediate environments and use identified opportunities to run their work as businesses. The program’s emphasis is on the need to create synergies within the sector as these would assist artists in finding new ideas as well as marketing themselves better. Areas covered by the program include learning and sharing ideas, business angles (running arts organizations and activities as businesses), arts management and marketing.
The Festival Management Masterclass
Held in March 2011 in partnership with the British Council, the workshop was facilitated by international festival and event management expert Paul Gudgin. Areas covered during the workshop include managing people and partnerships, sponsorship and fundraising, tourism and destination branding, festival venues and infrastructure, budgeting and festival marketing.
Other workshops in the ongoing Culture Fund program aimed at creating effective and sustainable arts organizations through improving the design and management of cultural organizations and projects, training and sector evaluation include the Cultural Dialogue Policy Seminar (in partnership with the British Council and National Arts Council of Zimbabwe), the Creative Mentorship Program and the Intellectual Properties Workshop.
The training workshop program of the Fund in partnership with cooperating agencies like the British Council continues to develop the leadership and management skills base in Zimbabwe’s arts and culture sector.
The Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust brings an important dynamic to the shaping of Zimbabwe’s national strategy and policy for the arts and culture. The Fund works closely with Government, artists and other stakeholders including the British Council and UNESCO to develop policy and a national culture strategy aimed at developing Zimbabwe’s culture sector in line with international best practice.
The organization participates in; and funds various initiatives such as research, meetings and dialogue aimed at enhancing the competitive development of the culture and arts industry to through producing documents aimed at setting a legislative agenda and strategies that will ensure excellence and professionalism in the development and production of new creative works while putting in place the required training interventions.
The National Arts and Culture Indaba is a key national event within the arts and culture sector focusing on strategies and policy development for the sector. It is a pivotal platform for arts and culture practitioners, Government and partner organizations to set and re-align a national culture policy and strategy framework that encourages the participation in the development of creative industries in Zimbabwe.
The Indaba is a national platform and forum for dialoguing, networking and learning that also informs the ongoing constitutional reform process, culture policy and enhances strategic planning for the industry at national level. The output of the initiative is aimed at strengthening the consolidated growth of the sector in a coordinated manner.
Closely linked to this is the crafting of an effective Artists Charter; meant as an input document to the constitution making and national healing process. The charter makes several recommendations chief among them being the protection, preservation, promotion and development of Zimbabwean culture, the establishment of properly constituted statutory regulatory arts bodies and the creation by the state of a national fund to support cultural and artistic initiatives.
Other initiatives that the fund has supported include the National Arts and Culture Sector Strategy Dialogue Seminar, The consultative process for the development of a Culture Policy Document (a project that was initiated by the Ministry of Education Sport Arts and Culture) and The Filmmakers Guild of Zimbabwe Trust’s Stakeholders Consultative Indaba.
Supporting national culture dialogue, consultation and documentation is important in developing a national strategy and policy for the arts. The real value of such initiatives lies in the opportunities it presents industry players to network and engage socially whilst exchanging information, knowledge and views on the sector. It is vitally important that sector development is managed in a carefully coordinated approach that ensures the integration of the diverse cultural and arts environment.
In addition and of utmost importance, is need to put in place systems and mechanisms to effectively engage and lobby policy makers and ensure that resultant laws and strategies are a true reflection of stakeholders’ input.
Since its formation Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust has worked in complex economic and political environments; promoting creative behavior and stimulating cultural production through investing in ideas while facilitating the access of products to appropriate markets. The Fund provides grants for procurement of raw materials, capital equipment and production processes to individuals, community groups and organizations to produce valuable cultural products. On the other hand, the Fund facilitates access of these products to wider markets locally and internationally.
Stimulating production in the culture sector and facilitating access to markets through investing in ideas is in the main capacity building work. The real impact and results of such work can only be seen and felt industry-wide in the medium to long term. However, the fund has made a start, taken some bold steps and keeps investing in the process for the greater benefit of future generations.
’amaBooks Publishers received a grant of US$3.000.00 for the publication of a collection of short stories and poems by John Eppel and Julius Chingono in 2010. The publisher and the two writers have since signed contracts with the University of New Orleans Press and the book will be published in both Zimbabwe and USA.
The Fund has also provided small production grants for Margretha Hugo crafts (fine arts), Matida Mutasa’s “Wild Walk Sandals”, Guruve Marimba Ensemble (production of traditional instruments), Chishewe Arts (fine arts and crafts), Ruvimbo Batiks (a women’s group based in Domboshava) and Machena Crafts (fine arts and crafts). This has helped to stimulate production in short term while creating sustainable home arts and crafts industries; a key source of employment in communities.
Culture Fund provided a grant that contributed to the revival the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF) in 2009. The ZIBF is a platform that was established to market literary arts locally, regionally and internationally. In addition to the grant, Culture Fund put up a stand at that attracted a lot of visitors and authors Petros Pashapa, Primrose Dzenga, Collette Matangadura and Olly Maruma sold some of their books at the stand.
The Fund has also started facilitating access to local, regional and international markets for Zimbabwean cultural products at commercial fairs and exhibitions like the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (2009) and the Harare Agricultural Show (2011). Hector Mukwasi, Stanley Mandizvidza and Joseph Chifamba took part at ZIFF 2009. Some artists’ especially in the arts and craft sector have made sales at these fairs and exhibitions. In addition, the interaction and contacts made with prospective consumers and business raises an awareness whose value is in greater future sales potential.
To enhance the effectiveness culture agents, artists and arts organizations Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust is facilitating access to cultural information and playing an important knowledge management in role in the sector.
The fund is becoming a unique and rare source of much needed information and knowledge in Zimbabwe’s cultural sector. It supports initiatives and processes that contribute to development through enabling individuals, arts organizations and the entire industry to systematically create, share and apply knowledge and information.
This allows industry players to adopt key insights and experiences; fostering collaboration that improves performance and innovation in the cultural sphere. Culture Fund carries out this work through actively and effectively disseminating information to industry players as well as supporting research and documentation. Some important initiatives include the following.
The Culture Fund Resource Centre
Culture Fund secured a grant of USD 27,000.00 from The Royal Netherlands Embassy for establishing a Resource Centre housed at the fund’s offices. The grant was used for creating space for the centre and the buying of computers, digital cameras with memory cards and computer software.
The Resource Centre is operational; availing a platform for discussions and access to information to artists for the development of the arts and culture sector. It provides internet access to cultural practitioners and the community.Once it becomes fully operational and equipped; it will house a collection of published and unpublished material and documents on the arts and culture, development, gender mainstreaming, human rights, HIV/AIDS.
It will also offer a variety of services including internet research, a space for reading and viewing of videos as well as photocopying. Users of the centre will access information on CD-ROMs, newspaper clippings, newsletters and magazines. The centre is set to be Zimbabwe’s first one-stop hub for storing and disseminating arts and culture knowledge and information.
Culture Fund website
This was re-designed in 2010 and it is increasingly becoming an invaluable resource that keeps artists, culture industry players and the general public well informed on; and abreast with the Fund’s operations, developments in the sector and information of arts and culture in general.
The Culture Fund Base Line Survey Report
This was launched in July 2009 and is being distributed nationally and internationally through various mechanisms.
Research and documentation
Culture Fund has provided grants for projects carrying out research on; and documentation of Tonga culture. This rich culture of a minority Zimbabwean people is under threat of disappearing from memory because the indigenous tribe of Binga, the Tonga was displaced when the Kariba Dam was constructed in 1957.
Ancestral sites were cleared away, traditional knowledge systems suffered as many herbal plants were destroyed and hunting grounds were submerged in water. As a result the material culture of the Tonga lies underneath the Kariba Dam. It has largely remained undocumented and survives today through oral tradition and the art and crafts of the Tonga people. Anthropological projects implemented by researchers with Culture Fund support contribute to the body of cultural knowledge. They help us understand Tonga traditional culture and knowledge systems as they were before construction of the dam.
Tapfuma Gutsa is conducting intensive research on a number of elements, chief among them, the creative motifs and craft behind the Binga Baskets. In his Harare Polytechnic studio, he is working on a 10 tablet project representing his findings.
Tsitsi Mariwo is exploring the knowledge of the Tonga women and the possibilities of formalizing their Intellectual Property Rights.
Saki Mafundikwa is making a film documentary on the indigenous knowledge systems of the Basilwizi, the great river people.
Documentation of Ndau Culture
Researchers are documenting Ndau culture in the Chipinge and Chimanimani Districts. Ndau is a rare blend of Shangani, Nguni and Shona ways of life and is one of Zimbabwe’s obscure and misunderstood minority cultures. Completion of the project would be result in one of the few reference books on the culture.
Mawirirano Napasi Project
The project aims at documenting and keeping alive Zimbabwean traditions through hosting a Bira ceremony conducted to appease and praise Vadzimu (ancestral spirits), to thank the soil and to thank the mbira instrument which is believed to be a powerful instrument which brings down the rains. The traditional gathering brings together elderly people, traditional chiefs and communities from around the country. It also provides a forum for participants to discuss traditional laws of nature, knowledge systems and the sacredness of Zimbabwean traditions.
The Fund’s information dissemination functions and findings of projects such as the ones mentioned above contribute to better information access and cultural knowledge management in Zimbabwe and internationally.