Zimbabwe: Culture Fund Director Mpfunya Scoops Award

Shout-Africa/ Herald – Harare — CULTURE Fund Trust executive director Farai Mpfunya was awarded the Zimbabwe Institute of Management National Contribution Award at a function held at Rainbow Towers last Friday.

Farai Mpfunya

The award is given to individuals have remarkably contributed to the nation in one way or the other.

Previous winners include Betty Makoni, a child rights activist, and eye surgeon Dr Solomon Guramatunhu for his Eyes for Africa initiative.

The late Ariston Chambati and Econet founder Strive Masiyiwa are among corporate heads that have won the prestigious award.

“I am honoured to receive this recognition, but I would like to say that it is not for me as an individual.

“It is recognition for the culture industry by business and all stakeholders should feel elated,” said a humbled Mfunya.

The Culture Fund is viewed as a model of how African countries can bring sustainable development while safeguarding their diverse cultural heritage.

“Even with the economic setbacks that the country has suffered, we are still way ahead of all the other countries when it comes to the structuring of our programmes.

“Tanzania, which we helped set up, is the only other country with a comparable system,” said Mfunya.

Mpfunya is an electronics engineer with an MBA from the Middlesex University Business School, London, and has also gone through the British Council Strategic Leadership courses for emerging African leaders.

He is using his time with the Culture Fund to pass on some of his skills to artistes who he says need to view themselves as entrepreneurs, with art as their production.

The world of art and culture is internationally seen as providing high-income jobs but sadly the same cannot be said of the local scene.

With stories of hard-up and destitute practitioners of all art forms appearing in the news often, there is an urgent need for Zimbabwean artistes to realise that unless they are inherited, empires are built and not accidentally acquired.

“It is not about having a professional manager. Many businesses have managers but that does not mean that the directors leave everything to the manager,” advised Mfunya

“An artiste needs to have a plan for their career. One must ask themselves what they hope to achieve in two, five and 40 years. That is the only way that they can then start to strategise on exactly how they will reach those targets.”

With the objective of empowering art and culture practitioners, the Culture Fund has embarked on the Creative Entrepreneurship Programme in partnership with the British Council.

In that initiative they have trained more than 140 art and culture practitioners from all the 10 provinces in topics that include entrepreneurship, financial management, intellectual capital and brand building.