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Zimbabwe: Analysis

Zimbabwe: Analysis

Zimbabwe has a rich cultural heritage built over a long period of time. The cultural values, norms, rituals and religions have merged to shape the population into a unique way life, religion, belief system and method of relation to their environment. It is said that such value systems and beliefs give Zimbabweans their identity as a people.

There is a need to increase the level of funding to strengthen the capacity of institutions responsible for the preservation and promotion of culture. Culture is not only about preservation, as the successful forays by the government into creative development of contemporary art and culture have already shown. Many artists have made powerful in-roads in the global arena with their products, and such efforts should be supported. There is a need to establish a cultural fund for the benefit of arts and culture groups to promote research, preservation and creativity. Artistically, Zimbabwe is rich in music, traditional dance, poetry, stone sculpture and drama, among others. Despite colonial rule spanning 110 years, Zimbabwean pre-colonial culture has endured. There is much room to exploit the multi-cultural richness of Zimbabwe given the mild, uneasy ethnic relations that exist between the majority of Shona people and the Ndebele in the South-Western part of the country, resulting from pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial events that have not been given much attention for rectification, especially at a political level.

Zimbabwe enjoys good relations with many other countries in Africa for many reasons, chief among them its readiness to defend ‘Africanness’ at political, economic and socio-cultural levels. This could be due to the fact that the country is still seized with a political leadership steeped in, and motivated by the past. Sport is also an important part of Zimbabwean culture; football being by far the most popular sport, as this is played by the majority of the African population. Rugby union and Cricket are also played, but traditionally this was among the white minority. This has changed since Zimbabwean independence in 1980, and the country became a test nation in the 1990s, contributing to social cohesion.

In general, Zimbabwe combines arts on literary, intellectual and visual levels, and the activities highlighted bear true testimony to a rich cultural heritage so appreciated at home and abroad. The National Arts Council has been central to cultural diplomacy in Zimbabwe, despite operating on a tight budget due to the economic and political crisis of the last decade. It is expected that the government will enable a more conducive legal and political environment, to enable arts to thrive with regards to critical voices. The new dawn in Zimbabwe’s economy and politics, which has seen the country slowly but surely rising from the precipice, enables the prediction of a phenomenal growth of an arts industry that has stood the test of time, and a number of severe challenges.

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