Zim, Iran deepen cultural relations Islamic State of Iran Ambassador to Zimbabwe Abbas Navazani (left) flanked by National Arts Council (NAC) deputy director, Josiah Kusena (right) follows proceedings during the prize-giving ceremony of the Cultural Competition held at the Embassy in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Edward Zvemisha

Trust Freddy  Herald Correspondent 

IRAN and Zimbabwe share a very rich culture made stronger by common interests, the Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Abbas Navazani, has said.

Speaking at a prize presentation ceremony held at the Cultural Centre of the Iranian Embassy in Harare yesterday, Ambassador Navazani said co-operation was only possible if there was understanding of each other’s culture.

In an effort to promote that understanding, the embassy via its cultural centre held an art competition which saw 50 artists taking part and 11 of the 50 walking away with prizes in art, essay and poetry.

The topics covered in the competition include Islamic lifestyle, the Islamic revolution and achievements, and the history of Iran and the Islamic religion.

Artists had to submit their artworks in the form of photographs, videos, articles, songs and paintings via email in line with the given subjects by December 15.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Navazani said: “Cultural relations between countries are geared towards strengthening the relations between nations -regionally and internationally. 

“A good example is the relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Zimbabwe a relationship that dates back to the time of the liberation struggle where Zimbabwe finally attained her independence.”

Despite the distance between Zimbabwe and Iran, Ambassador Navazani said relations have been enhanced through strategic co-operation which is of mutual benefit to the two nations. 

“We share the same political ideologies and have very close existing economic relations which are being further strengthened through exchange of knowledge and experiences.

“The relations have been further strengthened through the implementation of programmes to promote the understanding of cultures between the two nations through the exchange of visits.

“Various memoranda of understanding have been signed between Iran and Zimbabwe Universities in furtherance of these relations. 

“One example is the MOU signed between the University of Zimbabwe and University of Tehran meant to foster academic and cultural exchange.”

Professor Kudzai Biri, who won the first prize in the essay category, said,: “My strong position is that there should be continued Christian-Muslim dialogue, not only in Zimbabwe, Southern and Central Africa where they have peacefully co-existed for centuries but in all parts of the world. 

“The secular world tries to impose and discard religion, which is very important to believers. As such, religious leaders should not get tired of dialogue to promote better understanding and peace in communities.” 

Mr Raphael Jamu, who took the first prize in the art category, expressed his gratitude to the Iranian Ambassador for providing a platform for cultural exchange.

“As an international artist this competition helped me to explore more. I now understand the Islamic culture much better. 

“I made paintings focusing on their lifestyle and I am happy that I managed to conquer in this contest.”

The deputy director of the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Josiah Kusena, said the competitions were good for Zimbabwean artists.

“I want to believe that the competition will open new avenues for our artists not only in Zimbabwe but in the Iranian fraternity and community.

“Such competitions are important in terms of enlarging their territories and also help Iranian citizens to appreciate what Zimbabweans can do,” he said.

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