Ray of Hope for African Theatre

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By Frederick Philander

MANZINI, SWAZILAND

It is a challenge for all African states to invest financially and avail meaningful resources to develop art in order to make African art stronger than what it is at present.

This was the public plea by the Deputy Minister for Youth Affairs in the Swaziland government, Hlobsile Ndlovu, to all African countries, particularly to member countries of SADC.

She was addressing a five-day African Theatre Network conference at which theatre experts for children’s and young people’s theatre gathered to work out the mechanics to strategically consolidate all theatre efforts.

Representatives from 15 African Assitej-Centres, including Namibia, attended the lively and insightful meeting that can have far-reaching consequences for theatre on the continent in the Royal Kingdom of Swaziland.

“Art, and particularly theatre, has made a tremendous impact on world culture, thereby establishing Africans as a unique people. For this reason my ministry has increased its budget for this financial year towards strengthening efforts of the Swaziland Arts Council for artists to function better and more effectively,” said Ndlovu.

In her opinion, artists need to be recognized for their efforts.

“These artists require full control in the commercialization of their works in close cooperation with governments,” she said to great applause from the conference participants.

The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) financed the conference, a watershed event that will run out at the end of this year. The international body has been supporting the African Network for the past 5 years to the tune of more than N$6??????’??

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