Zimbabwe/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

A historical perspective

At independence a Ministry of Education and Culture which was responsible for administering arts and culture and policies relating to the sector was created. The cultural component was however quickly moved to the Ministry of Youth, Sport, Culture and Recreation in 1981. The newly created Department of Culture struggled to fit in the new ministry which had become so engrossed in implementing youth programmes which were an important instrument for strengthening the ruling party’s political structures.

The Department of Culture did not manage all aspects of arts and culture. Some vital wings of culture were scattered in other ministries.

1.       Museums and Monuments Commission, the National Archives and the Censorship Board were managed under the Ministry of Home Affairs;

2.       The audio visual services had remained with under the Ministry of Education;

3.       Audio-visual industries and broadcasting institutions were managed by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting

4.       Traditional chiefs and the Chiefs Council were in the Ministry of Local Government;

5.       The Ministry of Legal Affairs was responsible for copyright issues,  and

6.       The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education was responsible for teacher education and UNESCO. This is still the situation with cultural institutions- they remain scattered in many difference ministries.

A cabinet reshuffle in early 1990s saw the return of the Department of Culture back to the Ministry of Education. Chifunyise (2011) narrates that after the return,

‘ the Department of Culture found itself spending a long period of time trying to relate to  new administrative structures that were dominantly  focused  on the education function and which at provincial level could not provide leadership to the provincial cultural officers who had moved back to the ministry . The return of the culture function to the Ministry of Education was seen by senior officers in education at the district and provincial level  as indication that it was an insignificant function   which could not be accommodate and  whose return was to burden the   all-important education function. Just as there had been resistance to the introduction of cultural and sports education into the formal school curriculum, most of what the Division of Culture was advancing was not considered essential to achieve dominant objectives of education the ministry was expected to achieve (S. Chifunyise, 2011).’

In 1994, a new Ministry of Sports Recreation and Culture was established. This ministry had to oversee some of the responsibilities around arts and culture. In 1998 the cultural and sport function of this ministry were merged with the Ministry of Education to create the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture. Again in this ministry arts and culture remained overshadowed by ‘important’ sections such as sports and education hence the continued absence of a well consolidated cultural policy.

In 2009 the Global Political Agreement brought about a government of national unity and the establishment of the Ministry of Education Sport, Arts and Culture. Following that, the importance of a fully-fledged administrative structure for Sport, Arts and Culture was recognised   by   the appointment of a Principal Director for sport, arts and culture; the director for arts and culture and the director for sport. This led to appointment of arts and culture officers at provincial and district level even though some of these were teachers transferred to the sport, arts and culture functions. This ministry was dissolved in 2013 following elections won by ZANU PF. The new ZANU PF government created a Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture in the same year.

Current Ministry of Sport, Arts and Culture

This ministry was established in 2013 and has always been a top priority for advocacy programmes in the arts and culture sector. The sector wanted arts and culture to have a separate ministry from education as they felt that that marriage has been responsible for the peripheral treatment received by the ministry in terms of funding. The Ministry’s mandate is to transform the Sport, Arts and Culture (SAC) sectors into vibrant sport, recreation and creative industries and ensure equitable and inclusive participation, social integration, economic empowerment and nation building for all Zimbabwean citizens. Its overall functions are to:

1)       Formulate and implement legal frameworks, policies, strategies and standards that safeguard and promote sport, arts and culture.

2)       Safeguard and promote culture.

3)       Create a diversified funding framework for SAC.

4)       Promote the establishment and rehabilitation of SAC infrastructure and facilities.

5)       Promote research and development.

6)       Build delivery capacities of and coordinate the institutions and agents of SAC sectors.

7)       Domesticate regional and international protocols and conventions.

8)       Monitor and evaluate SAC programmes and activities.

9)       Mobilise human, material and financial resources for SAC programmes.

10)     Facilitate SAC mainstreaming in order to expand participation in SAC activities

The Ministry is headed by a Minister, Deputy Minister, Permanent Secretary and Principal Directors for Sport and for Arts and Culture. Under the Ministry there are seven departments with different functions as follows:

1.       Culture Department with a mission to nurture and safeguard cultural practices and artefacts that promotes national pride and identity.

2.       Policy Planning and Coordination Department with a role to facilitate and coordinate formulation and review of policies, strategies and programmes for sustainable development and promotion of sport, arts and culture

3.       Legal Department with the mission to diligently provide well researched legal services and advice to the Ministry of Sport Arts and Culture.

4.       Arts Development and Promotion Department with a mission to provide an enabling environment for the development of the arts sector in Zimbabwe

5.       Finance, administration and human resources department with a mandate of managing financial, material and human resources, in order to provide efficient and reliable services to all clients and stakeholders in support of the fulfilment of the Ministry’s mandate.

6.       Sport Development and Promotion Department which seeks to transform the delivery of sport through equitable participation, development and empowerment for national prosperity.

7.       Internal Audit Department which seeks to ensure the efficient use of resources by developing and implementing control systems, mechanisms and procedures

The Ministry acknowledges its role as being that of policy formulation and providing oversight to its implementing arms through systemic reporting and monitoring and evaluation systems. These arms include the following parastatals:

The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

Its mandate is to:

1.       Foster, develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practise of the arts in Zimbabwe by encouraging the teaching and practice of the arts and their presentation, performance, execution and exhibition to the public

2.       Advise and co-operate with the Government, local authorities, registered arts organizations, or any other societies, organizations associations, groups or other bodies or individuals in any matter concerned directly or indirectly with the arts and the teachings or practise thereof

Sports and Recreation Commission

Its role is to coordinate, regulate, promote and generally oversee sport and recreation development in the country.

National Gallery of Zimbabwe

Its mandate is to educate, foster, develop, promote and improve the understanding, practice and consumption of the visual art, contemporary and visual heritage in Zimbabwe.


Chapter published: 24-02-2015


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