Sometime last week I had a conversation with one art industry kingpin. We talked all things arts and entertainment and how we can monetize our crafts. This conversation continued until a point where we discussed the popular topic of funding and “embezzlement” in the arts industry. What really hit me hard was how some people running the arts are still in the same position that they were 10 years ago. I quickly asked myself if the issue of stealing funds is true then why are they still just like the rest of us.
Countless times when scrolling down my twitter feeds I have bumped into tweets that accuse one individual or the other of stealing funds from either festivals, hubs, events, arts shows and performing groups. However when I look at those accused I quickly ask myself, where is the money going to? Unless if they are investing in some black market shenanigans which they will later go and reap when hard times hit, they are still in the same boat as the rest of us.
A few years ago I was introduced to one of Bulawayo’s leading arts gurus from the way rumors were flying about how he has killed and buried one of the city’s leading festivals I expected him to be driving the latest range rover and living in a mansion at a top suburb in the outskirts of Bulawayo but alas he is trying to hustle like the rest of us.
Ladies and gentleman, are our arts leaders accused of taking what is ours for themselves guilty, or we are just but accusing comrades who are struggling like any other Zimbo in the arts industry? Are young people just barking of exploitation while they fail to go out and hustle like the said leaders, who are always out creating and writing concept notes to better their lives or do we really have gate keepers who are always waiting to exploit every chance they get to suck the arts dry. Is the arts industry being funded? or we are just assuming that just because someone is doing an event he/she is being funded.
The question remains up for discussion if we really do have people embezzling money then where is it going? I hope to get the answer one day but for now we wait.