Cultural Heritage Under Threat – Saboi

By Staff Reporter

GOVERNMENT has been challenged to allocate adequate funds to the Ministry of Arts and Culture as a way of inculcating and supporting the country’s traditional intangible culture, particularly among youths.

Zambia risks losing its cultural heritage as government has not prioritized policy formulation that protect the identity of the future generations.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Newsdayzambia.com, performing artist and academician Saboi Imboela says currently, most of the cultural heritage objectives were being spearheaded by the private sector whilst government was not doing much to change the status quo.

“Most cultural programmes we see are organized by private organisations and individuals and not the government. Government needs to have similar programmes, or at the very least support such initiatives. We started having the traditional food event at the government complex but it seems it has stopped. Such kind of programmes need support from the government, the public and different stakeholders to survive” she says.

She says most of the youths today are inclined towards the Western culture which they are exposed to at the expense of their own cultural values and therefore, exhibit Western tendencies and behaviour.

She says in other countries like South Africa, most of the TV soaps are in their local languages and their arts council have cultural preservation advertisements running on TV, whilst discussions and talks on the topics are also held.

She observed that the government in South Africa had funded the cultural sector to ensure that there was cultural cohesion and preservation unlike in Zambia where it was viewed as mere entertainment.

“There should be a deliberate programme that supports preservation of our culture. The family being the primary socializing agent should also play a rightful role to impart the right cultural values in children from an early age. Then other socializing agents like the church and government also have to play their part to make this complete culturally grounded individual,” said Saboi.

Meanwhile, Veteran Musician and Civil Rights Activists Miko Zulu said Zambian music had a huge influence in shaping the Zambian culture because it cuts across the tribal border.

“Cultural preservation can be attained if there is direction given to the arts section. If not natured, the same music can be a catalyst of erosion of our cultural heritage.

Miko said it was unfortunate that people lived in an era where colonial influences were still at play causing most musicians to want to imitate foreign acts and feel inferior with their own culture within the music industry.

Government has prioritized tangible culture in the form of tourism in the 2019 budget but has been silent about the intangible culture in terms of the arts and traditional development.