UNESCO trains team to draft Zimbabwe’s National Music Strategy

The UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa in partnership with the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe trained the national team responsible for drafting Zimbabwe’s music Sector Strategy from 4-5 October 2021. The team was equipped with practical tools that will ensure an optimal strategy development and drafting process.

Through the training, the team acquired knowledge about Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), in particular the music sector and a clear understanding of what a public policy strategy does. A member of the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on Governance of Culture for the implementation of the 2005 Convention, Mr. Farai Mpfunya facilitated the workshop. 

Whilst welcoming the participants, Ms. Barbara Gotore, representing Mr Nicholas Moyo, the Director of National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, highlighted that the training workshop marked a milestone in the implementation of the project as the training paved way for the actual drafting of the strategy in an inclusive and participatory manner.  

This capacity building workshop represents a key milestone in the implementation of the project as we move towards the drafting stage of the envisaged music strategy/policy. Let me hasten to say that as NACZ we are keen to move to other genres of the arts in crafting development policies that are informed by international best practices at a time when the cultural and creative industries are increasingly becoming the backbone of creative economies world-wide.

- Barbara Gotore, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Assistant Director


Representing UNESCO, the Culture Programme Assistant, Mr Rodney Bunhiko, said music is one of the most popular and accessible art form, and a key expression of Zimbabwe’s unique cultural identity. He said the project’s focus on the music industry can garner wide support, especially from the youth. 

The workshop was part of the process which started with several stakeholder consultations, a situational analysis of the music sector, peer to peer exchanges with music stakeholders from South Africa and Nigeria and a case study on the promotion of traditional music instruments. With the assistance of the UNESCO Expert, Mr Farai Mpfunya and Ms. Yarri Kamara, the strategy which you will draft is supposed to address issues such as professionalization, entrepreneurship, marketing and promotion of the Zimbabwean music industry, and navigate on resource mobilization as well as harnessing the opportunities presented by the digital environment.

- Rodney Bunhiko, UNESCO Culture Programme Assistant


Several challenges that hinder the development of the music industry, limiting music’s contribution to the economy and livelihoods were outlined in the situational analysis of the music sector that was conducted. Challenges include, de-structuring of the music value chain and piracy “caused by the disappearance of record labels over the past few years.

Reflecting on the workshop, Ms. Polisile Ncube, the Director of Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA) said the training was long overdue as the issues discussed were key to the drafting of the strategy with proper solutions especially on issues to do with royalty collections. 

During the training, Mr Maxwell Mugaba of Entertainment Republic said the strength of the national team was in its diversity as it consisted of several stakeholders in the music value chain, from the artists, producers, promoters, academics, distributors and culture and creative industries policy experts with balanced representation of age and gender. 

Follow up to the training is the actual drafting process, where the national team will periodically meet to draft sections of the Music strategy, its public presentation and the actual implementation. 

Zimbabwe is one of dozen countries benefitting from a new EU/UNESCO capacity building programme entitled, “Supporting new regulatory frameworks to strengthen the cultural and creative industries and promote South-South cooperation.” The project provides expertise and support for peer-to-peer learning opportunities with fellow public officials in partner countries, thus contributing to the creation of international South-South networks for creativity.

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