Arts sector honours Nick Moyo, hosts farewell dinner

Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture permanent secretary Nicholas Moyo (second right) attends a function in his honour last Friday.

Stakeholders in the local arts sector, including musicians, promoters and writers, gathered in Harare last Friday to celebrate the illustrious career of Nicholas Moyo, the former director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ), and his subsequent promotion to the position of Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture.

Josh Hozheri, president of the Promoters Association of Zimbabwe, Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions and Albert Nyathi, the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association board chairperson organised the event.

Moyo, whose career spans over 25 years in the arts fraternity, formed the Schools, Actors and Writers Union (SAWU) early in the 1980s alongside Dumisani Gumbo and Nyathi who was at Msiteli High school at the time, while he was a student at Magwegwe High school in Bulawayo.

After school, the union morphed into the Young Actors and Writers Union (YAWU) with Moyo serving as chair once again. As YAWU they performed in various community halls in Bulawayo before ending up in Victoria Falls where they performed at Chinotimba Hall and Victoria Falls Hotel.

“After that, we were done with A-levels and came to Harare with Nicholas at Belvedere Teachers College training to be a teacher while I was at the University of Zimbabwe being trained theatre by arts educator Dr Robert McLaren,” Nyathi said adding that he later met Moyo at Belvedere Teachers College when McLaren initiated a programme that involved students from the college.

Later, Moyo was to teach for a term in Lupane after which he joined the Zimbabwe Association of Community Theatre, led by the late Kenyan-Zimbabwean playwright, teacher and social worker Ngugi wa Mirii, where he was responsible for the Zim-Holland World Youth and Cultural exchange programme that took students to the Netherlands.

He joined NACZ in 2000 where he took up the role of Provincial Arts Administrator for Bulawayo and Matabeleland North after being scouted by the former director Titus Chipangura and rose to the level of Assistant Director, Arts Promotion and Development. In 2018, he was appointed as the executive director of the Council by the board chaired by Professor Herbert Chimhundu, a position he held until his recent promotion.

National Gallery of Zimbabwe director-general Raphael Chikukwa, theatre practitioner Zaza Muchemwa, writer Tsitsi Nomsa Ngwenya, film director and screenwriter Stephen Chigorimbo, musicians Tanga Wekwa Sando and Kireni Zulu as well as other guests from various disciplines in the arts sector attended the event to express their gratitude and appreciation for Moyo.

“This occasion represents our appreciation of the recognition of Moyo’s appointment to a decision-making level, the first decision-making level to be occupied by a person from the arts sector ever since Zimbabwe achieved its Independence. It is an awesome experience for all of us, previously we didn’t have a voice anywhere up in the echelons of power,” academic Musaemura Zimunya said.

Moyo told guests that although he had been a broadcaster and had also made artistic achievements in theatre, music, dance, poetry and film, he consciously chose to be an arts administrator. As an actor, he worked with Chigorimbo on the set of the 1987 movie Cry Freedom featuring Denzel Washington as Steve Biko and Chigorimbo as one of the assistant directors.

“It’s humbling to have people want to appreciate and tell you while you are still alive. To get people to grow an idea like this for me and my family it’s still overwhelming. Today exactly four months later I think I can correctly say I am celebrating being appointed as a PS (permanent secretary).”

Moyo was appointment on October 6 last year.

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