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That promote the diversity of cultural expressions
National Policies
To ensure that Zimbabwe provides the best possible business, regulatory, technical and fiscal infrastructure to enable Zimbabwe’s creative businesses to flourish commercially and to increase overseas investment and trade in Zimbabwe’s creative industries.


Can unions or artists’ guilds not serve and protect an embattled local creative economy? With musicians typically operating without record labels and book publishing industry literacy decimated, for example, unions might take some of the risk and sting out of the quagmire state of our cultural and creative industries. Recent Supreme Court rulings, which triggered a wave of massive job cuts in the public and private sectors, reignited conversations with creative civil society on the need for the establishment of an Artists’ Union in Zimbabwe. Unions often set wage standards across a field, even for people who don’t belong to them; uncounted artists, writers and musicians can pursue their craft because their spouses have union-protected jobs such as teachers, nurses and police. The present day economic downturn is reminiscent of the 2008 upheaval in terms of the overall morass of poverty, unemployment and hyper-inflation, yet key differences separate the two eras. 2008 was a time of massive organising, strikes, union activity, and dissent. 2015 does not provide us with such inspiring levels of dissent and activism. If the period preceding 2008 can teach us one key lesson, it is the need to organise. Nothing changes when people do not engage in the long and difficult work of building a diverse, multistakeholder, working class movement from the ground up. This includes artists. While the mainstream labour movement represented by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) are lobbying against the recent Supreme Court rulings, the creative civil society voice is conspicuously absent, mainly because artists in Zimbabwe have no collective voice in the form of a trade union to represent them at work and to lobby and advocate on their behalf. A trade union is needed to represent artists at strategic decision-making levels and positively influence the value and role artists play within society. Artists as workers need a unique, sustainable and supportive infrastructure, which is built by its members for its members. Such a union would challenge the economic inequalities in the cultural and creative industries by working together to negotiate fair pay and better working conditions for artists, as well as promote models for good practice. The need for fair remuneration for artists’ labour, which should translate to a wage comparable to other professionals, cannot be overstated, as fair and transparent payment for artists is not only ethically desirable, but vital for a sustainable and vibrant local creative economy.
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