By Njoya Tembo-ZAM President
ZAM wishes to applaud the Republican President for being resolute on the importance of the creative arts and recreation in fostering national development. We appreciate that the President in his address to Parliament recognized the potential that lies in the Arts and Culture. In his address, the president was forthright that these areas have not been fully exploited and therefore needs every stakeholders’ commitment to the realization of the dream.
Diversification of our economy would be incomplete if we do not talk about Tourism, Arts and Culture which need to go hand in hand. Arts and culture, just like farming, are non-waste assets like mining. And these are basically our heritage as we can easily pass them on to the new generations for improvements technologically and otherwise.
The establishment of a Tourism development and Investment Corporation as a subsidiary of the IDC to serve as a special purpose vehicle for public investment in tourism is timely and a great opportunity to see real and tangible investments in the sector.
Infrastructure development must be treated as priority, marketing and distribution of our works is a sure way of earning foreign exchange, an international record label would be helpful in this respect. Fast-tracking the transformation of the arts council into a commission is needed. We should see meaningful arts festivals within and outside Zambia for our artists to get exposed at international levels. Our pay checks need to equal those of our foreign counterparts whose payments are always better here in Zambia than where their countries of origin mostly.
In due course, those with talents but now seeking security in various jobs will find satisfaction and fulfillment in the Arts, probably leave their current jobs for arts.
With the above said, we feel if this will be the direction our newly appointed minister Hon Charles Banda will take, then his legacy will be unmatched going forward. We once again wish to congratulate Hon Banda on his appointment. As the saying goes, once an artist always an artist. We hope the minister would be able to earn himself the ‘Mr Arts’ status.