BULAWAYO artistes have urged fans to support local productions arguing the arts industry is dependent on grassroots support.
Speaking at the 2014 opening of Eziko Theatre Laboratory — a multi-live arena for local artistes organised by Victory Siyanqoba Trust — artistes said masses should give them due support so that they deliver.
Under a panel discussion titled, “The State of Arts in Bulawayo and 2014 Prospects”, artistes argued that local fans supported foreign acts at their expense citing the Kalawa homecoming shows that attracted thousands of music followers in Bulawayo.
“People in Bulawayo do not support our products. Even if one organises a show less than 10 people attend, making it hard to get financial rewards,” Future Dube, director of Sizinda-based Khaya Arts Productions, said.
Trust Gumbo, director of Kwabatsha Dance Company weighed in: “The arts industry depends on support from people. If there is no support from masses there is no future for the industry,”
Artistes also took a swipe at the new Sport, Arts and Culture ministry saying it should not prioritise sport ahead of arts and culture.
“We know that from the $10 million allocated to the Sport, Arts and Culture ministry, we will get nothing,”Desmond Ntini, an arts consultant, said.
“It is high time the government recognised arts as an industry which needs attention.”
However, fans responded by urging local artistes to up their game.
“While we agree that as fans we have a responsibility to support you, you also need to up your game so that your products match what masses take as ‘good’, a fan responded.
Meanwhile, Eziko Theatre Laboratory opened in style with outstanding performances from several arts groups.
Umkhathi Theatre Works, Thandanani Women’s Ensemble, Khaya Arts Productions, Iwisa Music and Dance, DS Vibes and Kenny all staged performances that enthralled revellers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the opening session, Desire Moyo the director of Eziko said: “Eziko is no longer an event, but a destination where one’s arrival means engagement.
“Those who will attend our monthly sessions will have the engagement that will transform their attitude towards arts, life and their country,” he said.
Moyo said interested artistes and arts groups were invited to be part of their monthly sessions held every last Friday of the month.