The Bulawayo City Council and its technical partner Nhimbe Trust, are pleased to announce the inaugural launch of the Bulawayo Day and Bulawayo Arts Festival 2020 Report .
Conceived through a cultural cooperation partnership and endorsed by Council Resolutions, both Bulawayo Day and Bulawayo Arts Festival, celebrated annually from the 1st to the 5th of June, have been recognised by the Government of Zimbabwe as “a noble act of inclusivity” that “nurtures participatory and sustainable development for society, in line with the vision of devolution.”
Citing the Festival’s mission which is that of ‘promoting and strengthening the role of arts and culture as drivers of inclusive and sustainable development, through the mainstreaming of cultural policies and initiatives in Bulawayo’s urban development strategies,’ the report offers a synthesis of the cultural cooperation agreement between Bulawayo City Council and Nhimbe Trust. It maps international and local instruments and frameworks that have guided the crystallisation of the partnership.
Amid challenges caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, the report documents how the cultural and creative sector re-adjusted to digital programming, in advancement of Bulawayo’s SMART City Strategy. It also tracks artist and audience impressions, and digital viewership and engagement of over 144,000 reached in 45 different countries across the world.
“The hosting of a virtual festival by the City of Bulawayo and its technical partner was a major breakthrough in not only bringing various artists together, but in positioning the City’s creative industry in the international virtual artistic stage of prominence, further cementing our brand as a cultural hub. The stage has been set for the catapulting of Bulawayo’s talent to all corners of the world. It is the City’s hope that we will continue to build on this strong foundation. The future for the creatives and the Festival does indeed look bright,” said Nesisa Mpofu the Senior Public Relations Officer of the City of Bulawayo.
In adding to these sentiments Josh Nyapimbi, Nhimbe Executive Director, highlighted that “the launch of the report is especially significant as a means of celebrating the richness, robustness and resilience of Bulawayo’s cultural and creative sector. It is a critical first step in situating reflections that take stock of the momentum that has been realised in attempts aimed at domesticating and localising SDGs through a cultural expression lens.”
The report, in its identification of digital programming vulnerabilities, challenges and competency gaps, proposes operational actions that should be implemented in building up to 2021 commemorations. These steps, which are neither conclusive nor exhaustive, are an open invitation to all cultural and creative sector stakeholders to recommend concrete, feasible and innovative solutions on how the City can better build capacities and competencies needed to mainstream SDGs, international conventions and treaties, as well as the National Arts, Culture and Heritage Policy.