Namibia/Zimbabwe peer learning on local contents

On 24 September, cultural policymakers and key cultural actors from Zimbabwe and Namibia met to share their experience in designing measures to support local content production and revising copyright legislation. 

From Namibia, the participants included Ms Mkariko Amagulu, Acting Deputy Director, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Salmi Shigwedha, IPLC Communications Consultant, and Mr Nashilongweshipwe Mushaandja a National Expert from Namibia.  From Zimbabwe, the participants included Dr. B. Samwanda, the Director of Arts, Culture Promotion and Development at MoYSAR, Mr Farai Mapfunya, a UNESCO National Expert from Zimbabwe. 

Namibia and Zimbabwe are among the twelve countries benefitting from the EU/UNESCO technical assistance programme entitled Supporting new regulatory frameworks to strengthen the cultural and creative industries and promote South-South cooperation.” At the core of this programme is the notion that peer-to-peer learning can significantly support policy development process. In Namibia, the EU-funded project focuses on supporting local content production and copyright protection, and the peer-exchange provided a space for key stakeholders in Namibia to learn from Zimbabwes experience in revising their policy on local content programming. 

Zimbabwe adopted an affirmative action policy in 2016, requiring 75% of broadcasting coverage to be reserved for local content. The policy makes provisions to increase the broadcasting of local productions and open up for more players in the countrys broadcasting services. These measures assist in empowering local artists, enhancing their creativity and raising awareness about Zimbabwes national culture and heritage. A direct result of the policy has been the emergence and strengthening of new musical genres such as Urban Groove, Kwaito and Zim Dance Hall. 

The topics discussed during the peer exchange includes the importance of defining what creativity is to culture, involving and securing buy-in from key stakeholders, and securing political will. 

A key recommendation from the Zimbabwean delegation was to ensure an ideological basis for prioritising local content production. It was emphasized that regulation should not be limited to setting a local content quota system or adapting to technological advancements. Zimbabwe encouraged Namibia to not refrain themselves from taking steps in the formulation of policies, despite technical difficulties. While technical challenges influence quality, such challenges should not hinder the development of local content. The Nollywood industry in Nigeria serves as evidence that while a budding film industry might face technical challenges, it can still succeed in attracting viewers from an entire continent.  More importantly, there is space for other standards of quality than those set by, for example, Hollywood.

The limitations of Zimbabwes policy were discussed, namely that the 75% local content policy did not automatically translate into financial success for broadcasted artists. As such, the Zimbabwean counterparts noted the importance of setting up a measure and a copyright law, which will enable effective content creation and the enforcement of royalty payments. 

Namibia plans to continue peer learning vis-à-vis Malawi and Ghana.