Farai Mpfunya studied French and electrical engineering and worked successively in telecommunication, elektronics and the IT industry in Paris, Harare and London. He is also a film maker. He fouded in Christon Bank, Mazowe Vallei, in the nineties a small design agency until he becamme the director of the Zimbabwe Culture Fund in 2007.

Farai Mpfunya: "The Zimbabwean conflict has made people more assertive"

November 2009 -

The ARTerial Network represents the interests of the African cultural sector. How that is done differs from one country to the next. In South Africa, artists do well not to get involved in lobbying; it is better to establish a separate organisation that lobbies on their behalf. Those wanting to exert influence meet with animosity from the government. In Zimbabwe, things are entirely different: according to Faria Mpfunya, director of the Zimbabwe Culture Fund, prefer to keep a firm hand on the reins. "Zimbabweans do not want others to speak on their behalf. That would be like organising a children’s festival without children. In poorer countries, there are not enough scholars and experts. The expert called upon will always be an expat. In Zimbabwe, that leads to conflicts. People want to be represented by an African. You don’t have Africans lobbying for Europe, do you?"

According to Mpfunya, artists in Zimbabwe will not accept a separate lobby organisation because they believe that in the arts sector should not be left outside of the centre that influences policy. "The Zimbabwean conflict has made people more assertive. They are now capable of asking questions about the constitution and about their rights. Artists must be involved in that through parliamentary lobbying, just like other lobbies for women’s rights and land issues. They have the right to contribute to the construction of a cultural sector." In Mpfunya’s opinion, the ARTerial Network strengthens the voice of Zimbabweans in the arts sector in Zimbabwe. "We can use the examples and experience gained elsewhere for our own lobby activities."