By Tafadzwa Zimoyo
Senior Arts Reporter
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry has encouraged arts practitioners to use various online platforms to celebrate Culture Week, which kicked off yesterday.
She made the remarks during an online address to launch the week that will run up to May 23 under the theme “Zimbabwe @ 40: Celebrating our Cultural Diversity and Heritage”.
The theme dovetails with the national mood of celebrating the country’s 40th independence.
Speaking on Zoom platform, Minister Coventry said people should be proud of their cultural heritage and celebrate diversity during Culture Week.
“Culture Week this year provides an opportunity for wider participation of communities through online interaction and exchange of ideas on arts and culture in addition to creating platforms for artists to interact and network,” she said.
“Let us be proud of our heritage by caring for one another and not exposing each other to Covid-19 so that we can use our cultural identity to win the fight over this disease that threatens our existence as humanity.”
Minister Coventry noted that the time that families are spending together due to lockdown restrictions should be used for the development and preservation of cultural values.
“This year’s Culture Week is also significant for Zimbabwe, coming as it is, when families are spending a lot of time together due to the national lockdown measures,” she said.
“This provides an opportunity for us as Zimbabweans to appreciate and enhance our own knowledge and understanding of our own culture and those of others around us.
“As we practice social distancing, let us not forget our values of Ubuntu/Unhu. Let us continue to co-exist and engage in respectful dialogue even on social media, where most of us now spend much of our time on, as a result of the lockdown measures. In our online conversations, let us celebrate our cultural diversity as it is the driving force for development.”
Minister Coventry said in provinces, online launches will be replicated together with other performances by traditional dance groups and exhibitions of various traditional artefacts, cooking instruments and traditional apparel.
“I would like to commend the creative and sporting personalities in the country who have fully embraced technology and have utilised it to inform and educate us about Covid-19, as well as entertain us during this national lockdown,” Minister Coventry said.
She called upon the youths to particularly embrace Culture Week activities as they were the future of this country.
“This year’s Culture Week will, in addition to this national launch, include discussion that will celebrate International Museums Day through an online conversation between International Organisation of Museums (ICOM) of United Kingdom, The British Council, The National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ), Victoria Albert Museum and the Mori Museum of Japan,” said Minister Coventry.
She noted how the virus has made an indelible mark in the country and the world over with new cultures and behaviours emerging in order to cope with a new world order, a new normal.
Tomorrow the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe will lead online discussion entitled “The impact of Covid-19 on Traditional Zimbabwean Cultural practices”, while the National Gallery of Zimbabwe will showcase an online visual exhibition called “Freedom through the eyes of General Tongo” which will be followed by online conversations.
On Saturday evening, a musical concert featuring some of the country’s top artists will be screened on ZBC TV, as well as on social media platforms, as the week’s festivities wrap up.