By Maiko Zulu
LUSAKA PLAY HOUSE SAGA: ARTISTES STILL OPHARNS IN THE NEW DAWN
My take on the issue of Lusaka Play House is that there is clearly NO DIRECTION for the Arts in Zambia and that is why the Arts are like an orphan whose parents are not known. It’s no wonder that even ZNBC news castors still say “Ministry of Tourism and Arts” and in another article they say “Ministry of Sport, Youth and Arts”.
Last time we addressed the issue of space for artistes at Brian Chilala’s funeral, there was n impulsive reaction by the then Minister of Lands Jean Kapata who immediately and without consultation offered land to the Zambia Association of Musicians. Now it can be revealed that the land in question is in the criminal infested Forest 27 which we were told by the then opposition UPND that it would be reverted back to a reserve forest. So it was a question of throwing crumbs of proceeds of crime to a crying orphan.
It’s unfortunate that while in opposition, the current government had no clear plans for the Arts and that is why private investors like East Park are far ahead than government in terms of creating space for artistes.
The fact still remains that Lusaka Play House itself does not even belong to artistes and technically artistes have little or no say over the property.
While under Ministry of Community Development years back, we were told that the land behind ZNBC and opposite Parliament Motel was reserved for artistes under Narional Arts Council but somehow NAC managed to lose the land.
The Lusaka Play House parking space issue is a wake up call to the still napping Ministry in charge of the Arts to pull up their socks and begin to actually work for the sector rather than always going to officiate at privately organised events in those nice suits. NAC itself is not a progressive ingredient in promoting the arts as it had become a cader institution aiding and abetting crimes through the Artiste Empowerment Fund whose resources could have been used to create space specifically for artistes.