I AM remorseful to intrude into the boardroom of the National Arts Council (NAC) see what, from the rumour mill, it is incorrect for all those arts association envoys not to go back to enlighten and advise their members on what is discussed in the boardroom.
Further, why was the NAC-sponsored workshop on adjudication held last week in Chongwe, Lusaka not made known widely?
I am aware that the generally successful meeting encompassed works in theatre and drama, fine art, music, dance, poetry, fashion and design.
Again I know that there has been a rift, an aperture and gap between the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) and the National Schools Arts Association of Zambia (NASAAZ), but we all know now that the latter has firmly come to stay, and that a combined NAC-sponsored workshop would have been a good idea it would have brought the militaristic parties NATAAZ and NASAAZ tightly together. This could have been the ideal time to chart the way forward for the two associations.
Then the Patrick Samwimbila-led Zambia Adjudicators’ Panel (ZAP) quietly took advantage of the workshop in Chongwe and held their annual general meeting without, what I feel, consensus from its old membership.
I say devoid of consensus because those who simply affiliated during the workshop could not have been the long-time serving members who could have deserved any positions. They are not experienced, and may soon mess up the already messed up ZAP.
Nevertheless, I am not going to deny congratulating all those who took over from Samwimbila like Enoch Chiwati who is now ZAP president and Ernest Tembo as his secretary general – the two have been my long-standing friends.
The questions back on my mind linger again, who says anyone can turn out to be an adjudicator of plays or poetry or and music and dance?
Art is an intrinsic belief, inborn, inert only effectively sharpened by education and training, therefore, by merely being an affiliate member of ZAP should not be the sole merit for anyone to warrant being qualified as an adjudicator!
Let me get back to the matters of NAC; I moderately feel board members sitting on the NAC board have titanic mandates, tasks evenly spread to promote the performing and visual arts, not to just drink tea during meetings – NAC should execute duties as prescribed by the 1994 Act.
Whatever is discussed during board meetings from the preamble should immediately be passed on to the membership through a memorandum as a form of appraisal.
For me, this way, the general membership will tally along together with everyone – otherwise lack of this information from NAC through these men and women is more the reason we have demented opinions on the leadership and performance of NAC.
By the way, we know that Mulenga Kapwepwe’s leadership of NAC has expired; and that during the forth-coming NAC board meeting, the members will be electing the chairperson and other positions!
I learnt this through my insiders following a NAC board meeting held last April.
Questions arise, nevertheless! Who takes over the NAC leadership from Kapwepwe?
Do we have the artistic and administrative skilled caliber among the current NAC board members?
Do the general memberships of arts associations have a say over who should be elected before the voting?
Can we have the names well in advance, particularly those that have been proposed to sit on the board from the line ministries?
Well, I want to urge the board members to seriously think twice and evaluate those names as it is such leadership that has cluttered and muddled our theatre, music and other art forms. All the leaders in NAC should not be for decorations, but work to promote the arts in all the provinces of Zambia.
They never should be choosy and cozy, and selective in the way they fall back on the arts associations.
Look, I am greatly pleased about Adrian Maaka Chipindi, the acting director of NAC – the young man has shown and proved that there is so much vim, vigor, energy and enthusiasm in his red blood and mind!
Adrian’s approach to issues and matters are of concerned maturity, and widely admired, and he should not be distracted by a wayward new NAC board which may impede on his itinerary.
The other week Adrian was in Muchinga Province to prop up the artistes, and attended the World Theatre Day anniversary celebrations in Chililabombwe later before he sauntered for the Mwansabombwe theatre festival in Mwansabombwe, Luapula Province.
This and more, is precisely how much this man has done within so short a time. He needs our support.
I will be the first to admonish, rebuke and reproach Adrian once he fails to do his job, remember!
As for NASAAZ hosting close to 200 people at one workshop, and all drawn from all the provinces including the Senior Standard Education Officers (SESO), teachers and administrators is no mean achievement!
NASAAZ chairperson David Asumani is another young man I feel needs support as his plans are supplementing and encompassing if not doing much more of what the Zambia Folk Dance and Music Society (ZAFODAMUS) the Zambia Association of Music, (ZAM), the Visual Arts Council (VAC) and NATAAZ should be doing, but have utterly failed to do.
David knows for instance that equipping SESOs with artistic knowledge is the most successful venture that will win their support, and spur dramatic activities in schools, and soon all schools will have a changed attitude towards creative arts – on this, David is accurately right.
According to my grapevine; various topics were conducted during the workshop; the code of conduct and ethnics in adjudications, while issues to do with mainstream theatre, popular theatre; creative writing and mainstream drama were similarly brought to the fore at length.
Poetry, choral music, fine and visual art, traditional dance, fashion and design were among those unsung avenues of art that were shared among participants.
And did ZAP look at what constitutes good adjudication for instance of plays and poetry?
Do those ‘graduate’ adjudicators understand the rudiments of drama such as cameo roles, main actors and supporting actors?
There are backstage actors whose invisible roles are greatly neglected, was this talked about?
These and much more, is what is currently prime needing correction in our contemporary adjudication.
I am optimistic Enoch Chiwati will sweep clean his ZAP team and make it useful to the arts in Zambia.
For instance kudus go to ZAP for the establishment of parallel structures to run NASAAZ; one for schools, the other for the general community arts.
Ever since the formation of NASAAZ this has been a thorny issue, as all arts associations; VAC, ZAFODAMUS, NATAAZ, VAC and ZAM need this arrangement.
Schools are the nurseries where those running the arts associations came from, remember?
Facilitators during the same workshop among others were the musical icons Maureen Lupo Lilanda and Jagari Chanda, and creative writers like Billy Nkunika, Norah Mumba and theatre director Eddie Tembo and others from the Zambia Open University.
The Ndola-based David Asumani, keep it up boy!
The Family Question and Other Plays was launched in Lusaka with theatre lecturer Stewart Crehen describing the event as good for Zambia as it will bring recognition of the theatre circles by the entire world through book publication.
Written by Prof Dickson Mwansa, The Family Question and Other Plays rekindles some of the playwright’s works written over the last four decades, and come in well as Zambia celebrates her Golden Jubilee this October.
In Nakonde, Muchinga Province a theatre group has been born with a pledge to rejuvenate theatrical activities in the border town renowned for entry into Zambia of relatively cheaper Japanese cars.
According to Nestory Matipa Mautelo, the New Nakonde Theatre (NNT) has already embarked upon rehearsing two plays; The Agony of AIDS and I am Your Wife.
Nestory told me, the plays reflects the apparent issues of the local society and cautions against wayward living while the latter hinges of abuses associated to women in the families.
“We have gone flat out to assemble dances, and are doing research in the villages so that we can enrich our plays, and participate in this year’s NATAAZ festival in Lusaka,” Nestory said.
Thank you Nestory, let me hear from you again soon.
John.email@example.com – 0955-0967-0977-710975