Dar es Salaam. The government has directed the National Arts Council, commonly known by its Kiswahili acronym as Basata, to prepare a strategic plan that will make the Mwenge Makonde Sculptures area into one of Dar es Salaam’s major tourist attractions.
The Minister for Information, Arts, Culture and Sports Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said in Dar es Salaam on Monday, August 20, 2018 that to achieve the goal of turning the area into a tourist attraction, all Makonde sculptors who were evicted from the area must be told to return and resume their works.
He also asked Basata executive secretary Godfrey Mngereza to tell those who own shops adjacent to the sculptors to know that they only own the shops and not the land.
Dr Makyembe issued the order after holding discussions with the Makonde sculptors in Dar es Salaam on Monday, August 20, 2018 in a bid to find a solution to the 33-year long land conflict involving the latter and the traders of their products.
The ongoing conflict started when the sculpture traders claimed ownership of two plots of land designated by the Dar es Salaam City Council in 1980s for the purpose of promoting the art of sculpture in the country.
According to Dr Mwakyembe, the purpose of the land remains unchanged.
“The land will remain the property both of the sculptors and those engaged in the trade of sculptures, said Dr Mwakyembe who doubles as Member of Parliament for Kyela, adding: “The only way of living the earlier intention of the government is to respect the ownership of the land and [seeing the] Makonde as stakeholder in that.”
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