Zvishavane artists unite to temporarily block the demolition of a craft centre: petitions Kirsty Coventry

Zvishavane Collaboration Artists Associations have written a petition to the Minister of Youth, Arts and Sports Honorable Kirsty Coventry and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe to intervene in a standoff between the council of Zvishavane and the creatives over attempts by the town to demolish an arts and craft centre.

By Plot Mhako

The Zvishavane Craft Centre was built in Zvishavane by the German Embassy donated and officially opened on the 24 th of October 1998 by Dr Nowin Graf Leutrum. It was handed over to the local council [ Zvishavane Town Council] to administer its welfare and the occupants keeping the dream of the Germany Embassy lively of empowering the local artists. 

The Zvishavane Arts and Crafts Centre

It was an initiative by the German Embassy to empower the local sculpture artists who were carving by their residence and had nowhere to display their wares. Up to present day local artists who are into crafts and other different genres occupy the centre which is situated near the Zvishavane bus terminus for easy access to customers and transport. 

Zvishavane Town Council grader at the arts centre yesterday attempting to bring down the structure.

After 22 years of existence on the 2nd day of September through the housing department the council ceeded notices of evacuation to the artists with an instruction to relocate to another site which is unfinished, unfit, crowded and not ready for occupation, without any consultation with the artist and other relevant stakeholders.

On the 15 th of September 2020 the council attempted to demolition the centre and we resisted as artists. They brought earth moving equipment and the security personnel to see smooth demolition of the facility.

Zvishavane Collaboration Artists Associations

In their petition which the publication could not confirm if it had reached thhe officials yet, the united artists wrote;

“With this background we implore the National Arts Council \ Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and recreation to petition the minister of the relevant ministries to stop the demolition of the craft centre so that the artists continue to be relevant and in line with Covid-19 regulations to work in well ventilated and spaced facility.” 

The creatives added that Artists are vehicles in preserving our aesthetic culture values and heritage. We pledge with you to intervene. 

The letter was signed by : Evidence Siziba-Chairperson [Zvishavane Artists Association], Edward Jaya-Arts and Culture Officer [Ministry Of Youth, Sports, Arts And Recreation], Chuma Gemion-Chairperson [Zvishavane Arts and Culture Association] , Mbedzi-Craftsman, Doubt Ncube-Draughtsman, Lazarus Mtombeni-Zimbabwe National Traditional Dancers Association and Emmanuel Mhike of Muonde Trust       

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