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Association for female artists launched in Manicaland

The Manicaland Association of Female Artists (Mafa) is the brainchild of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) Manicaland Office.

AN association of female artists was launched in Manicaland to tackle challenges haunting players and redressing imbalances within the cultural and creative sector.

The Manicaland Association of Female Artists (Mafa) is the brainchild of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) Manicaland Office.

In an interview with NewsDay Life & Style, Manicaland region NACZ arts manager Caroline Makoni said statistics showed that there were few women in existing arts organisations and associations and a handful occupied leadership positions.

“We need to address, first and foremost, the non-participation of female artists in issues to do with their well-being in the sector. We are also lobbying for the inclusion of female artists in the broader gender discourse. Another idea behind the formation of the association was to see the professionalisation of the operations of female artists,” she said.

Makoni also noted that the association was envisaged to bring a positive impact on the lives of female artists as they will speak with with one voice when confronting the obstacles they face such as stereotype and harassment.

“Female artists face a unique set of challenges in their line of work. These mostly stem from patriarchy and negative perceptions of female artists which require a paradigm shift. Some face harassment at the hands of unscrupulous promoters. Some are shortchanged when it comes to the signing of contracts.  The NACZ will engage technocrats and experts to provide capacity building to female artists. This will be done in spaces where female artists are free to express their opinions without fear or any inhibitions,” Makoni said.

Makoni noted that their main objective was to capacitate female artists enabling them to claim their spaces and what is rightfully theirs.

“Empowerment of female artists will enable them to take part in programmes that benefit them. Emphasis will be on confidence building to enable them to engage meaningfully and thus, benefit from the broader provincial and national programmes meant to address gender disparities,” Makoni said.

Mafa’s membership is drawn from all districts of Manicaland.

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