By Paidashe Mandivengerei
MUSIC in Africa Foundation in collaboration with Germany’s Goethe-Institut has launched a Sound Connects Fund worth £4m aimed at supporting the work of creatives and cultural organisations in the southern African region.
The initiative is supported by the ACP-EU Culture Programme which was established by a secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and gets financial backing from the European Union (EU) and Goethe-Institut.
Zimbabwe’s creatives and cultural organisations in the performing arts, animation, film, photography, videography, gaming and visual arts sectors are eligible to apply for funding.
The grant will be awarded annually from 2021 to 2024 with successful applicants receiving between £35 000 and £180 000.
The first call for grant applications opened on 17 June 2021 and will close at midnight on Sunday 25 July 2021.
Music in Africa Foundation director, Eddie Hatitye said eligible applicants are from Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zambia.
“The ACP-EU Culture Programme (Southern Africa) – Sound Connects Fund is an incredibly crucial initiative that will make a huge difference across the creative industries in southern Africa. We are calling on all eligible organisations to seize this opportunity and propose sustainable programmes that are aligned to the clear goals of this initiative,” he said.
“The initiative will strategically seek to support projects and activities that facilitate the rapid production and distribution of high-quality goods within and outside the region, increase capacities among professionals, support rapid mobility and exchange among creators.”
Hatitye added; “Enhance access to new markets, develop visual literacy (especially among underrepresented groups), promote advocacy aimed at protecting the interests of creators and support the existence of sustainable financing structures.
“From 2021 to 2024, the fund will award grants worth €2 850 000 and offer a robust capacity-building programme (to the value of €570 000) to eligible creatives and cultural industry organisations in nine SADC countries, Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.”
The Goethe-Institut Sub-Saharan Africa regional director, Klaus Krischok added that the funding comes handy when the livelihoods of creatives had been threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Goethe-Institut is proud to be a driving partner in this project, together with MIAF. Sound Connects aims to reach progressive cultural and creative initiatives across nine countries in Southern Africa. The joint initiative is more relevant than ever in times when arts and culture are under duress,” said Krischok.