Over the last 15 years, Nhimbe Trust, the leading creative civil society watchdog organisation for Zimbabwe’s cultural and creative industries, and vocational creatives, has been lobbying for the development of a vibrant and sustainable Zimbabwean cultural and a maiden presentation at the 5th Pan African Cultural Congress, Nhimbe successfully negotiated the changing landscape and needs of the industry. The achievements Nhimbe realised within the African creative sector broadly, and the Zimbabwean sector specifically, culminated sector that is sufficiently regulated and well-resourced. Nhimbe’s vision is geared towards supporting socially and economically sustainable jobs and livelihoods.
Our outgoing strategy focused on three pillars: Public Policy, Market Development, and Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. It is through these pillars that Nhimbe Trust was at the forefront of initiatives that improved the working environment of creative civil society in Zimbabwe and Africa. From the formulation and adoption of the new National Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy (2017) to the first ever inclusion of creative industries as a priority economic sector in the Finance Act 2018, into a demand for thought leadership that was extended to various foreign governments, foreign government functionaries, regional organisations and global governance institutions. This demand was identified by our dynamic team as an opportunity to formally institutionalise the commitment we have towards the global expandability of Pan African Cultural and Creative Industries. The institutionalisation of our efforts manifested through the launch of Nhimbe Global Affairs Observatory (NGAO).
Within a backdrop where the challenges and opportunities of cultural and creative industries are not confined to a singular geographic landscape, NGAO is a symbolic representation of Nhimbe’s aspiration to contribute meaningfully towards cultural policies and programmes that universally promote human rights, economic growth, the protection of cultural heritage, the diversification of cultural expressions, the facilitation of cultural exchange, the sharing of best practices and the defence of freedom of expression in all its facets.
Our incoming strategy, which will run from 2019-2021, focuses on Development Cooperation, Cultural Policy and Creative Education. It reflects a changed and dynamic environment that continues to evolve as impacted by globalisation. It is based on an action-based framework we have created in our identification of opportunities that we strongly believe are guaranteed to shape the growth potential of the arts and culture subsector of cultural and creative sectors, not just in Zimbabwe but on a Pan African level. Most significantly, the strategy reflects our commitment to create programmes that redress the social and economic realities of women and youth creatives who still remain highly disempowered within the arts and culture sector.
With the awareness that we will continue to encounter considerable funding challenges, particularly at the local level, we are committed to the creation of sustainable, diverse and resilient programmes that will authentically celebrate the distinctiveness of Pan African culture and heritage. It is vital that in these times Nhimbe Trust supports our cultural sector to be innovative and resourceful, and to become more resilient and relevant than ever before.
Professor Lupwishi Mbuyamba