4.2.11 New technologies and digitalisation in the arts and culture
Zimbabwe is grappling with information technology issues. The government introduced information technology at a subject that is now taught from secondary school level in Zimbabwe. IT has also been included as part of communication skills courses at tertiary educational institutions.
Internet access in Zimbabwe started to improve around 2009 when the country's biggest mobile phone operator, Econet Wireless, launched its 3G service. According to a 2008 report by Internet World Stats,Internet usage in Zimbabwe has grown by 165 per cent over the last three years, bringing the number of users to 1 351 000. Over the same period, Internet penetration (the percentage of people using the Internet) has gone up from 6.7 per cent to 10.9 per cent.
Although internet usage is not restricted information technology skills in the sector are very limited and this directly impinges on the use of technology in the arts and culture sector. NGOs are working hard to assist artists in improving their information technology skills. For example The Africancolours Artists’ Association (AAA), sponsored by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust conducted visual arts seminars around the country in September 2007. The main objective of the seminars was to encourage the country’s visual artists to use the various forms of Information Technology around to publicize their work to a global audience and help contribute to the growth of the country’s culture sector.
Culture Fund also has an internet resource centre at its premises where artists can access internet for a maximum of 1 hour per day.