A NEW wave of optimism and hands on the deck approach appears to be sweeping over the region, especially in the arts sector. It has always been an interesting debate when artistes from Matabeleland cried foul over perceived marginalisation, especially regarding the broadcasting stations that were all based largely in Harare.
We believe that era has passed and that the dynamics have changed to a large extent, with most artistes now masters of their own destinies. Technological advancements have brought with them so many possibilities even for budding artistes who are launching their careers with the aid of social media.
While we do not doubt the marketing power of social media, we believe it takes more than just a social media presence to make it in the industry.
It is indeed that local artistes have recognised the value of unity as recent developments show that they have been supporting each other in their works, their music album launches and shows.
We believe such co-operation can only lead to better fortunes for our artistes. Artistes in other parts of the country and even outside our borders work together and do collaborations that have helped them penetrate other bigger markets. Going it alone is not always the best idea for local musicians.
Though still low, we believe the spirit of collaboration will lead to much greater things such as festivals or annual arts shows that bring together the cream of Bulawayo and Matabeleland or Midlands and Masvingo, for example.
We have seen foreign-based artistes establish such festivals in the country and reap handsome rewards.
We await serious collaborations in song and other forms of art in Bulawayo and the region before our artistes make big names abroad.
Can you imagine homecoming shows for big internationally renowned artistes such as Iyasa, Mokoomba, Nobuntu, Black Umfolosi and many others dotted around the globe? There is so much artistic talent from Bulawayo and the region that is exported to far away places and could be used to nourish our artistic environment and nurture future stars if only a platform could be created for such.
If it is a question of funding, we hope artistes can take such festival ideas up for funding even by the Government, seeing that there will be a devolved system of Government so that we unlock the revenue generation potential of the sector.
As Sanganai/ Hlanganani roared into life in Bulawayo this week, the focus was on tourism spots, areas of interest.
There is no denying that it is the rich culture that adds to the excitement in some of these places and that many of our artistes have tried and some under trying circumstances to embody that culture.
However, for their voices to be heard going forward there is a need for unity of purpose among the artistes who also need to be liberated from the complaining syndrome but come together with a vision that will define not only their generation but shape even the future of the arts sector in this country.