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Zimbabwean artists challenged to target regional, international audiences


Lisa Duduzile

BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe Arts and Culture Association President, Boniface
Chimedza, has challenged the country’s artists and producers to
package their productions for the regional and global markets.

“Let’s shift our focus and target the lucrative regional and global
markets, which will give us a better return on investment than what
our local market is offering us at the moment,” said Chimedza during
the official premiere of the Marbles television series in Harare
recently.

Chimedza further bemoaned the scourge of piracy which he said
exacerbated the plight of the local artists, making it almost
impossible for some of them to earn a decent living from their sweat
and talent. This comes after the backdrop of Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Channel failing to pay for local content.

“Our producers are concerned with the payment structure that is being
offered to them by the national broadcaster as it does not allow them
to recoup their production costs. That means they are failing to break
even, let alone make a profit from their productions,” said Chimedza.

“But film production is business and it should have a return on
investment to enable producers to thrive.”

The Zimbabwe Arts and Culture Association president said offers coming
to local producers from the regional markets were “excellent” because
producers were being paid instantly and in US dollars.

“It makes sense therefore for our producers and artists to package and
perfect their specifically for the regional and global markets- where
their work is not only appreciated, but also handsomely paid for,” he
added.

Producer Beauty Nakai Tsuro of Tatenda Studios also raised some concerns.

“When it comes to content packaging I think it’s wiser to have
regional and international market in mind because it is always an
advantage to the producers to have a wider market. Despite that, we
still ought to think of our nation and people first when it comes to
the target audience and entertainment, but lately, it hasn’t been wise
to do so in Zimbabwe because there are no laws that govern the
protection or legalities of artists’ content, which is the biggest
crippler of local content being distributed or made for Zimbabwean
audience,” said Tsuro.

“Zimbabwe Broadcasting Channel has failed miserably when it comes to
paying for local content hence producers are not committing to the
broadcaster. With the economic hardships we are facing as a nation, it
is now weighing the [producers to come up with descent productions to
supply the broadcaster without any payments from the.”

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