Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
IN what could be refreshing news to vulnerable artists on Covid-19 induced lockdown and even beyond, yesteryear music promoter Karen “Mai Jojo” Madake has registered a Trust set to look into their welfare.
Zimbabwe Artists Trust (ZAT), whose notarial deed number is MA0002656, is set to assist the vulnerable artists in trying times like accident, death, destitution and other trying times like the Covid-19 pandemic era.
Besides Madake, other members of ZAT are Rowesai Hungwe, Hosiah Chipanga, Allan Chimbetu, Shepherd Chinyani, Josphat Somanje, Rabson Umari, Edward Kuyipa, Siphelani Chimuka, Abigail Matibe among others.
The board of advisors consist of Saul Maninji, Dr. RJ Mbire, Andrew Kunaka, Prophet Tapiwa Freddy, Lwazi Mbowa, Nkululeko Dube and Standazile Dube, and others.
In an interview, Mai Jojo said her heart bleeds for the artists’ welfare once they fall on hard times.
“I realised that there was need for a practical approach towards putting an end to the wholesale vulnerability of artists: musicians, dancers, writers, sculptors, etc.
“Many of these live their twilight years in poverty and when they die they get paupers burials.
“Their surviving spouses are left to suffer, at times as homeless destitutes. It is a vicious circle that we as Zimbabwe Artists Trust seek to put an end to,” she said.
Mai Jojo also outlined ZAT’s long term and short term plans.
“In the short term we are putting in place medical and funeral schemes, and programmes to assist the widows and widowers, orphans and vulnerable children and elderly artists with food, clothing and shelter.
“We are also going to roll out an advocacy initiative that promotes the economic and social rights of the artists and the recognition of arts as an industry that is capable of contributing to the economic and intellectual development of both the individual and society.
“In the long term, we are going to have housing schemes, we will also build cultural centres in all provinces. In addition, we will create new as well as expand existing regional and international markets for our artists works.
“The mission of Zimbabwe Artists Trust is to empower artists through provision of vibrant social security schemes and self-development opportunities, whilst enhancing the sector’s contribution to inclusive job opportunities and sustainable development.
“We want to ensure that, among other objectives, artists and their families obtain descent shelter, medical assistance and dignified burial,” she added.