By Kundai Marunya
Zimbabwe will this year launch the 16th annual Culture Week celebrations at recently set up Sotho culture village of Bolamba village in Gwanda, Matebeleland South on 19 May.
The event will mark the beginning of festivities across all provinces celebrating the importance of cultural diversity through various cultural and artistic expressions.
Themed Culture: A Tool for Building Communities, the program signifies identity and a true sense of belonging.
“Culture binds communities, binds nations and ultimately binds the entire world though diverse in nature and practice,” said National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) acting communications and marketing manager Cathrine Mtombeni.
“Countries are united by a common consciousness whose national expression is laid bare by culture. It is culture that rightly defines a people, a community and ultimately an entire nation. Zimbabweans are known in a community of nations primarily because of cultural traits.”
Activities at the official launch will include Art and Craft Fair, traditional dances, contemporary performances, praise poetry, music and herbal medicine exhibitions.
This year children will also be catered for with a program that includes different games among them jumping castles and painting.
“The week-long program in fulfillment of the 2005 Convention that seeks to protect and promote the diversity of Cultural expressions,” said Mthombeni.
Culture Week will be punctuated with varied activities that express cultural heritage of humanity, augment and transmit through the different cultural expressions by using diverse modes of creation.
Explaining its origination Mthombeni said the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity by UNESCO in 2001 proclaimed 21 May of each year the World Day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
Cultural diversity is a defining characteristic of humanity that when cultivated and respected can create a well-developed nation. It nurtures diverse human capacities and values and in the process promotes national growth that fosters unity and identity.
In commemorating this day, countries are encouraged to celebrate the uniqueness of diverse cultures found in them as part of world culture. In addition, this day is intended to provide an opportunity for the flaunting of various cultural heritages that need to be preserved for posterity.
“Cognisant of the phenomenal growth in popularity this World Day has enjoyed hitherto, NACZ decided to make this occasion a week-long event hence the existence of the Culture Week every year,” she said.
The official closing ceremony will however be held in collaboration of the Africa Day celebrations in the Harare Gardens on 25 May 2018.