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Bulawayo: A creative city dream but…

By VUYELWA SIBINDI

…unprofessionalism, hostility and lack of tolerance are hindering growth.

Following the success of the recently held 3rd Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAAs), it seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the arts industry with some social media fanatics calling for the city to host its own version of the Durban/Lusaka July.

Whether or not sponsors and the local arts fraternity will heed the call remains to be seen but what is evident is that city has potential to be a creative hub, however not all that glitters is gold.

Already home to the Intwasa Arts festival, Bulawayo Arts Awards and the Homecoming show, Bulawayo is a potential hub of creatives and artists that should be supported and propelled for development in order for dreams to be realised.

Award winning comedian, Dumisani “Maforty” Ndlovu, weighed in citing that lack of collaborative efforts in  the city’s arts industry are the major reason behind Bulawayo’s failure to bloom into a creative city.

“I think Bulawayo lacks collaborative efforts, there is unnecessary competition thus every Tom, Dick or Harry believes they are the saviour of the Bulawayo arts Industry,” he said.

Maforty revealed that for new artists ,the sector is not a walk in the park.

He said, “It seems there is a clash of egos from all stakeholders in the arts industry. Sometimes an upcoming artist is viewed as competition instead to be seen as an extension to the arts industry family. Let’s not forget the presence of gate keepers and the rife unprofessionalism.

Globally, creative cities have been described as cities characterised by the presence of talent, tolerance and technology. Bulawayo undeniably ticks the talent box and has access to various technologies, tolerance however remains a challenge.

“We have access to technology and the talent is undeniable present. Our tolerance levels are questionable because there is no unity in the arts industry. We still find some who believe that because of their years of experience they know better on the other hand those new to the industry believe they bring new ways of doing things. Though both narratives are correct, the industry is failing to harmonise the ideas to the betterment of the industry” Maforty said.

He also highlighted that the idea of hosting a Durban July remake in the city is merely a dream for now.

“The current state of the arts industry does not seem conducive to host such an event.”

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