Rumbidzai Mbewe, Sunday Life Correspondent
ArtistEs in Bulawayo have decided to revive arts hubs in a bid to produce better quality products for their audiences. Last week in Bulawayo they held a consultative meeting at the recently established arts hub, Bluez Café, with stakeholders to come up with ways in which they can improve their artistic work.
After a long discussion, artistes raised the issue of pricing at some of the venues that they use for their shows. They expressed concern over the way some venues charged them for shows will leads to them not making any profits at the end of the show.
“We are not saying that people should give us venues for free but all we are asking for is to be charged a price that will satisfy both the owner of the place and the artiste. What people need to understand is both of us are trying to make a living through these shows, that is how we earn a living and put food on the table for our families,” said Khuliyo, a musical artiste.
The artistes mentioned that the birth of Bluez Café is a positive step in the right direction as far as the arts sector is concerned.
They said the positioning of this Café will attract a lot of audiences as it is situated at a central location which makes it easier for people coming from all sides of Bulawayo.
However, other artistes suggested that Bluez Café should not be the only venue that will draw audiences but they can liaise with other stakeholders in different communities to hold shows at different community halls.
“As artistes we must consider that it is not everyone who has a dollar in their pockets who comes to watch shows in town.
What Bluez Café needs to do is to take these shows to a community which makes it easier for people to attend without having to folk too much or any amount,” said Memory Kumbota, a veteran artise and actor.
Some of the female artistes present at the meeting expressed the need to support the girl child in the arts industry through these hubs. Zanele, a member of the all-female group Nobuntu, said they tried to come up with spaces that promoted the girl child and many female artistes were discovered through this programme but financial constraints led to the shutdown of this initiative.
“We need to come up with an outreach programme for female artistes so that they are exposed the same way our fellow male artistes are. The males are always in the forefront and the females following behind, this has to change and I hope these hubs will be an opportunity for us females to shine,” she said.
Spoken word artiste, Lady Tshawe said there was need to create more poetry shows through these hubs. She encouraged spoken word artistes to collaborate with each other so as to help share ideas and come up with something different and unique.
“The reason why I am pushing for more poetry shows in the city is because that’s the way upcoming artistes get exposure.
These shows also create a platform for us to be creative and keep us on our toes coming up with new staff all the time,” she said.
Bluez Cafe’ intends to bring together creatives from all walks of arts, partnering them with supporting industry, identify and develop talent, provide a platform for artiste incubation and a place where creatives can collaborate and turn the arts industry in Zimbabwe into a viable economic activity with a clear direction.
The director of Bluez Café, Joshua Nyapimbi said the café will provide musical instruments for artistes coming in to do their rehearsals.
“So far we have most of the instruments that artistes can use during rehearsals and we will also provide free Wi-Fi for them.
Some of the things we will discuss them as we progress as we still have a long way to go in creating a conducive environment for artistes in this city,” he said.
Bluez Café will open officially on 25 May of this year.