Zimbabwe Wins The TechWomen Grant!

A few months ago, the Oasis interacted with one of the TechWomen Program attendants, Kim Bwanya. She talked about her relationship with technology and how excited she was to be part of the program. This time she talks about the impact project she presented with her teammates during the program and how it will help Zimbabwe.

How did it feel being among other women pursuing STEM-related careers?

It was good and challenging at the same time. Being among all the beautiful talent was great however being in the midst of people from different cultures was a challenge. A few people from Sub-Saharan Africa attended, and inclusive countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria were present. The rest was from Asia and people from the Middle East. In comparison, our cultures are so different.

By challenges, might you be referring to racism?

Oh No, there was no racism whatsoever but the cultural differences slowed us down. Inherently people in Sub-Saharan Africa have the same traits which differ from people in the Middle East. Hence we took longer to reach the same understanding mainly because of language barriers.

Another challenge was some people did not know when to step up and when to step back. For example, during the question and answer sessions, one person could take up three-quarters of that time continuously asking instead of allowing other people to voice their questions.

How did you feel about that?

It didn’t affect me on a large scale.

How did you handle all the trip expenses?

The good thing was the program was sponsored by the US Department of State. Everything is taken care of including flights and accommodation. They also give program attendees a stipend. They gave us a card with money to buy our groceries and a card for transport because the public transport system is accessible with just one card. Although, I think more money would have sufficed.

Explain the relationship you had with your mentors when you got to California.

We had several mentors grouped into three different types: professional, cultural, and action plan mentors. The purpose of cultural mentors was to take us around the country and show us different experiences. Professional mentors were to help individuals archive their personal mentorship goals. As team Zimbabwe, we had three action plan mentors; their sole purpose was to help us work towards the impact project, pitch it on one of the final days, and hopefully earn money, which we did. We won the top position as team Zimbabwe amongst 21 countries.

What was the strategy you had as a team?

Action plan mentors would make sure we meet with them regularly as team Zimbabwe, either for lunch, potluck or dinner. Which helped strengthen the team bond and led to our victory.

Can you talk about the impact project that team Zimbabwe presented?

The impact project is called Focus Zimbabwe; we are to set up aquaponics plans in orphanages. Aquaponics is soil-less farming. The aquaponics setup unit uses fish, water, and nutrients to produce microgreen farming. The nutrients from the fish feed the plants. This system saves space and water and, you can get the yield six times faster than you would on mud. We aim to set up these units in orphanages. We will teach them how to set up the aquaponics system thus equipping them with skills. They then can grow their microgreens not only for consumption but also for sale to generate money for the orphanage. They won’t have to wait for donations or handouts. 

Where are you setting up the first system?

We are going to start with SOS Children’s Village. It’s got three brunches in Zimbabwe; one in Bulawayo, the other two in Harare and Bindura. So we will start with the Bulawayo brunch and, as the year advances, we will move to the other branches.

When is it kickstarting?

We received the grant at the beginning of this year. We are yet to discuss the logistics and how to set up everything. I think midwinter, the project should be on course.

Does this mean the team is all set and has the money to do it?

The money that TechWomen gave us is just for start-up, but we are working on raising more money so we can build as many units as possible and reach out to as many orphanages as possible. We have already started to crowdfund.

Does TechWomen help you crowdfund?

Yes. One of our action plan mentors is going to help us. We can raise twenty thousand US dollars with her help.

How are you assigned to the impact project?

As a group, we all have diverse skills, I am in technology. We have a lady who does agriculture, another who is a chemist, one who is in innovation management, a lecturer, and; one who is a data scientist.

Can you comfortably go back to your mentors to ask for assistance?

Yes. Once you start a relationship with your mentors, it doesn’t end when you’ve completed the program. I’m still communicating with my professional mentors. It’s an ongoing relationship until it naturally dries out.

Did the program meet your expectations?

They exceeded my expectations, but it was overwhelming because we were always busy. We got screen fatigued because we were in and out of zoom calls and long-hour workshops; it was exhausting.

What is the one thing that felt like an eyeopener from this program?

The beauty of this program is that it puts people in the San Francisco Bay Area, where all the money is, where most innovations in Tech are, and being right at the center of that as a Zimbabwean is like seeing dreams come alive on a large scale. In that area, people don’t speak in thousands but millions; you’d find that someone my age putting the same effort that I put in my work has probably obtained way more in Silicon Valley because opportunities are easy to grab.

Would you recommend someone to apply to TechWomen?

I highly recommend it and wish they could take everyone in this country to go there and experience life from a different perspective. People need to take on opportunities like the one TechWomen provides because such programs, if taken seriously, bring innovation and financial aid to the country, which Zimbabwe needs.

Behind the curtain with Tariro neGitare

Tariro neGitare

Afro-soul patron, Tariro neGitare (translated as Tariro and the guitar), is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter currently based in Bulawayo. As a   creative entrepreneur, Tariro Chaniwa’s passion for creators in the industry manifests itself in bringing upcoming artists to the spotlight and grooming creativity through various platforms.

The Oasis had an opportunity to talk to Tariro and explore her source of passion.

How have you used music to express yourself?

Music is definitely a form of expression. I’ve used it to express myself through the songs I sing. The lyrics relate to some of the experiences that I go through and what other people encounter. I always try to fuse the experience with the lyrics and the melody.

You have shared the stage with the greatest of artists. What drives you to want to share your podium with/ platform for upcoming artists?

There are four runners that shared the stage with me and I have known the impact that has had on me. Certain doors would not have been opened if I hadn’t been privileged and honoured to share the stage with those legends. So I think it’s only right to do the same with the upcoming artists.

I realize the Sistaz Open Mic might have been where your career as a musician started skyrocketing. How did that influence your passion for music.?

The Sistaz Open Mic was a great platform. It did influence the way I do things. I am particularly fond of the ecosystem method. Nonetheless, I feel it’s The Acoustic Night that boosted my career because it’s easier to grow in a collective. When artists are in the same space they are feeding off each other, building and supporting each other.

You were in the corporate world for a bit; tell us what made you choose music over corporate?

I was earning more in music than I was in the corporate industry that’s why I went for music. Also, more opportunities were coming through music; I was enjoying it. When your passion is paying you, definitely you would opt for where the money is. Also, I felt that God had made it clear that this is the gifting; this is what I need to pursue, that’s what made it easy to make the transition

Can you share with us the times in your career when you felt like giving up?

I’m not a quitter; of course, there have been times when I felt discouraged and just disappointed. I don’t think I have gotten to a point where I wanted to give up. I always want to get to the next stage; I always want to explore new things, and I am always curious. I don’t remember when I felt like giving up.

As a follow-up question, what kept you going?

What keeps me going is knowing that God still wants to use me. I am a vessel; it’s not about me but about the mission and the purpose that God has given me. Therefore when you give it all to God you are pushed to keep going for God’s Glory.

Women in the arts industry face a lot of stigmatization and sexual abuse. What makes them strong enough to still stand on the stage and perform?

Women face challenges just like men do; I think what keeps them standing is the dream; the vision, and the passion. When they know something needs to be done they brace themselves to face adversity and take every challenge and opportunity to learn. Sometimes you really have no choice because if you cover down and don’t go through the challenge then what will you eat? I think that as women we take every challenge as an opportunity to learn.

What do you think makes most females in the industry believe it’s not possible to make a brand for yourself without compromising your integrity?

I don’t think it’s fair to generalize that females think it’s impossible to make a brand for themselves without compromising their integrity. I know plenty of women who haven’t compromised their integrity and have made it. Although I think what can make someone do that is fear, not knowing your worth, not believing in yourself, and the gift that God has granted you. If you believe that God is the one who gives the increase then there is no need to compromise because your source is God.

What is your ‘go-to’ thing to do when you face challenges?

My ‘go to’ thing has been the word; the word has been my sustenance; it has given me a direction back to the path that God has for me. The word keeps me going. Tariro’s journey and passion for the arts have encouraged young talent in Bulawayo, helping creatives to embrace what they have and take on the world with confidence. She has been consistently hosting Acoustic nights, Magitare Live, and Seminars to groom and platform young talent in Zimbabwe.

Behind the curtain with Lady Tshawe

Lady Tshawe

The Oasis in Bulawayo has recently appointed a multi-talented creative to be part of the chief staff. Nomatshawekazi Michelle Sangiweyinkosi Damasane popularly known as Lady Tshawe is an award-winning theatre actress, scriptwriter, director, acclaimed poet, and dancer.

The Oasis interviewed her about life as a creator.

How is your transition from dealing with mainly artists to dealing with all sorts of creators?

It’s totally new for me but still exciting because I feel like I can make mistakes and learn from them. I have never done it before and I never thought I would see myself in an office. However, I feel like I have always been on this journey as an artist. I think I’m taking a risk and people are taking a risk by hiring me at The Oasis.

Which form of art still spikes your adrenaline?

Acting! I love telling stories through adopting a character and creating mannerisms for that person, creating an accent for them and a wardrobe for them. It’s no longer me it’s a different person and it’s their story. I find that exciting because there are some things that I sometimes get shy to talk about as Tshawe but if you give me that same topic as a character …I’m able to express it more than I could as myself. So if someone says there’s a role for me, I’m there because I love telling stories that way. It can be tiresome and draining emotionally but going through the process is amazing for me.

What drives your creativity?

I’m driven by my main objective which is to inspire young people to pursue their dreams and to ensure that every time I meet people doing my artistry I leave a message of hope and love. It’s my way of showing kindness to people so I always try and strive to inspire, give hope, and love every time I am performing or delivering work.

What makes you different from other artists?

What makes me a cut above the rest is the amount of work I put into a project, if it means depriving myself of sleep so that a project is done a hundred and ten percent I’ll do just that. I know I’m not naturally talented so I work extra hard to make up for that because there are people that I work with who are so talented and they don’t have to do much. Yes, I will make mistakes but I learn from that. Also, I’m always ready to learn and willing to take risks to do a project even if there’s no money in it.

Do you ever take on gigs that won’t pay you?

Of course, there are some projects I will agree to do because of the level of social capital and the relationship but more often than not, I will ask for the dollar sign, I ask what’s in it for me or what am I getting because I also have a family to feed? At the end of the day, it’s my livelihood, I can’t always do it because I’m passionate about it and exposure doesn’t pay the bills.

Do you think you’ve reached your level of success?

I haven’t started, to be fair I feel I’m only beginning to make sense of my career. Of course, I’ve had good moments in the industry but I haven’t reached the pinnacle point where I say ‘now I’m successful’. I have succeeded in most of the goals I’ve laid down but I’m nowhere close to where I want to be.

What’s your major goal, one that you think brings you close to your success level?

One of the major things is having a theatre academy. We have a couple of theatre academies but they cannot hold the capacity of artistic talent in this country specifically for Bulawayo and Matebeleland. So I would love to build an accessible theatre that hosts performances and theatrical shows but also trains young people who want to venture into the theatre.

How do you balance being a top-rated artist and taking people under your wing?

I think for me it’s knowing how I started. When I came into the art sector someone took me under their wing, they showed me around, taught me the ropes of the Bulawayo entertainment industry, gave me opportunities, and took a risk on me. That’s the reason why I always find it easy to connect young artists to people that could take them even further. I’m always about giving and taking, someone took a chance on me and I learned something from them, now I need to share that with other people.

What’s your advice for a young artist who has been discouraged by COVID-19?

If it means having to do something unrelated to your passion to ensure that you can finance it, do it but don’t let your dream die. Of course, it’s hard with COVID-19, we are trying to find our footing with all these regulations and how to create art with it but it’s not impossible, it’s doable and we are learning.
Just give yourself space and time to learn and, find new ways of doing it, and always look for someone to open up to and help you manoeuvre the industry. Discouragement can come from not having someone to talk to or go to for advice, so it’s not always that you need money, you might just need someone to bounce off ideas to.

You advocate for females through Nhimbe Trust, can we say you are a feminist?

I wouldn’t call myself a hundred percent feminist but I am all about women empowerment and human empowerment so whatever cause there is that empowers people I’m there. But because I’m female I have a bias toward women and I would love to see more women in decision-making positions.

We know you are a poet, what are your thoughts on the Hip-hop industry, and would you like to be a part of it?

I listen to it and do respect it because it’s conscious music but wouldn’t see myself rapping. The main reason is that my poetry is different; it doesn’t rhyme as such so it would be difficult to try and put it on a beat, especially a Hip-hop beat. The last time I tried rapping I bit my tongue but I have tried working with different Bulawayo Hip-Hop artists. I get involved with Hip-Hop through collaboration, when someone wants me to come and throw in some poetry, I work on it and be part of it.

What’s that one question that you wish people would ask you?

OH, I’ve never thought about what I would like to be asked. Maybe…how it is to be a public figure and still manage to keep your life private? Or maybe why is it that people don’t see you in a lot of public places but you’re such a public figure?

Would you like to answer that question?

I’m an introverted extrovert, I love people but sometimes I get drained. So if I’m not performing at a certain place, I’m probably at home watching the concert online and I paid for the ticket just to support the artist. And I think that’s the reason why people don’t see much of me because I just love being at home. I love to catch up on my series and just entertain myself at home.
Also for brand alignment, one thing I have learned throughout my career is that it’s important where you place yourself or where you spend most of your time because in most places people see lady Tshawe and not Noma. Hence sometimes I limit my where I go because I don’t want to offend people who love my work and I want my brand to still have that respect.

What’s your favourite series?

It was Criminal Minds. Fun fact, growing up I always wanted to either be a doctor or a cop, I was interested in homicide things. But I realized science and maths were too much work for me so I decided that I will do what I’m good at and that was the arts but I always immerse myself in crime and med series.

What challenges have you faced throughout your career?

The first challenge was getting into directing, curating shows, and administration which was a predominantly male-dominated space. I was just trying to assert my position; people kept doubting my abilities and telling me I’m better off sticking to being on stage performing.
Also, having qualifications felt like a threat to some of the people that I worked with.
I have also had instances where people try to take advantage of me by asking for sexual advances because I am a female.

How did you deal with being asked for sexual advances?

I am stubborn, tough, and can be harsh with such people so when they approach me I always tell them off. I have learned that if you are too soft, you can never be heard and people won’t take you seriously because they can mistake you for a pushover. Moreover, I am a go-getter, I don’t have to give sexual advances to be afforded an opportunity because my brain is enough, I’m qualified to do it and I work hard.

When did you feel like giving up?

During the first two to three years (2012-2014) of my career, I was still trying to learn the ropes and I felt like I always had to prove myself. I had previously learned at a private school and I was afforded certain privileges but now I had to work with people that learned on the other side of town. They used to call me ‘coconut’ (a term used to accuse someone of betraying their race, or culture, by implying that, like a coconut, they are brown on the outside but white on the inside) and I also couldn’t fit in with the white people because I’m black -ngiliNdebele-. So that was difficult for me to navigate because I had to prove myself to both sides.

There were many times when I would get home, cry and tell my mom that I didn’t want to do art anymore. I would ask her if I could go back to South Africa where I think I could try and make it. It was a time when I felt like most of my enthusiasm was crashed, and I actually started looking for a job as a teacher of music and drama. Nonetheless, I learned that I am strong and can withstand such pressures.

What’s your ‘go-to’ thing when you face challenges?

I drink tea and sleep. When I sleep, I rest and when I wake up I have a better way to deal with my challenges or a better way to approach them because I’m now calm. Also, I have people to talk to when I face challenges.

Lady Tshawe’s experiences and successes in the art industry can be an encouragement, to keep pursuing your goals no matter what.

Does Social Media Stifle Creativity

The problem with people today is that we expect a smooth road to success, and we expect our lives to be hassle-free, but the reality is life is difficult. We recurrently deny reality and then expect social media to solve our problems, and it does but there is a catch. We become less innovative and less creative because we repeatedly depend on other people’s ideas. We have forgotten that creativity and innovativeness thrive in hardship. To some extent, social media platforms stifle our creativity and have inadvertently hindered the creative process. Here are some thoughts for your consideration.

Lack of Originality

Creativity is about generating ideas, being innovative, and being original. Social media suffocates that innate spark of originality, spontaneity, and authenticity, which are very crucial to art. People now act the same way as the next person and uniqueness is a rare term.

You’re being creative, but only in the exact way in which others on the platform are being creative, it’s a fully constrained expression.
Elisa Arienti – Artist and co-founder of Dubai-based fashion brand, La Come Di. 

Hence with social media people just can’t think outside the box.

Time Consciousness

Creativity is about generating ideas, being innovative, and being original. Social media suffocates that innate spark of originality, spontaneity, and authenticity, which are very crucial to art. People now act the same way as the next person and uniqueness is a rare term.

Unnecessary information overload

With the overuse of social media, creatives end up consuming too much that could do too little for them causing unnecessary information overload. The fear of missing out also results in information overload which keeps people returning to social media over and over again. Impressive innovation and expressiveness need them to be smart about the things they consume so that they get the most out of their creative energy and time.

Unnecessary information overload

With the overuse of social media, creatives end up consuming too much that could do too little for them causing unnecessary information overload. The fear of missing out also results in information overload which keeps people returning to social media over and over again. Impressive innovation and expressiveness need them to be smart about the things they consume so that they get the most out of their creative energy and time.

Low curiosity levels

High levels of well-being are demonstrated by increased curiosity and creativity hence eating unhealthy can block a person from being inspired to create. 

Artists experience detrimental physical and mental health repercussions due to social media overuse. Social media takes so much time that creatives forget to take care of themselves; they lose track of time, forget to exercise, and settle for instant and unhealthy foods. As a result, it affects their health mentally and physically.

False sense of identity

Young creatives can now be prematurely lulled into a false sense of creative identity and success by the number of likes and followers on their social media networks. This premature creative identity is the biggest threat to their independence by subconsciously undermining their individuality and re-routing their collective attention away from their interests and towards the mainstream. Creatives are no longer taking their time to develop their passion, their craft, or their expertise mainly because PR companies, talent agencies, and art galleries are seeking out ‘artistic’ talent based on follower count and not on the independent merits of a person’s work.

Uncomfortable competition

Getting overly exposed to social media heightens levels of perceived competition. Creatives start feeling a little uncomfortable when they discover they are competing with thousands of creatives alike. When exposed to people better than them they start questioning their skills, creativity, and capacity.

You can’t create lasting art if you’re heavily involved in social media. 
John Mayer – Pop Artist

Those who decide to remain offline make better art than those who remain online because ideas have to gather.

False Inspiration

Quality control is quite challenging when it comes to social media platforms. All social networks allow users to upload artwork without any restrictions on the quality and the ownership of the original artwork. Information spreads quickly including false and inaccurate information which might corrupt creativity. Similarly, the good work sometimes gets lost among all the other unqualified artwork and creatives get falsely inspired.

Disconnected from reality

Social media use disconnects people from reality. Although the digital world allows you to meet with people from different countries, it prevents the real meaning of social communication. Human brains communicate better when two people talk face-to-face rather than using texting or chat applications. By choosing applications over real-life, creators base their entire artistic universe within the confines of an intensely curated reality that is built on advertising algorithms that decide what they see.

For creatives, it’s important to ask yourself if social media supports or hinders your creative flow. Are you allowing yourself to create? Are you taking time to develop your skill? Do you from time to time ask yourself if a trick, design or innovation is originally yours? How about you start looking at social media from a different perspective, understanding how to form this tool for the benefit of your creativity and fuel your talent.

Kim Bwanya represents Zim Women!

Over the years Zimbabwean women in technology have been surrounded by various forms of biases exhibited around their educational stage up to their employment stage. These biases can cause lifelong impacts that would render any individual questioning their skill. Although not widely, the complexity of such issues has been recognised by countless organisations and these have come together to support and empower women in technology.

Wadzanai Kimberley Bwanya, a Bulawayo-based woman in tech speaks to the Oasis about how she remained focused on her vision to be in the IT sector up until now. She has been selected to be part of the six women who will represent Zimbabwe in the TechWomen exchange programme happening in Mountain View California.

Who is Kim?

I am a creative director and founder of Beedesgined Studio, a creative agency that is currently located at The Oasis in Bulawayo. We specialise in UX designing and web development for companies and business agencies worldwide.

Aside from that, I am a co-founder and tech lead at tea in 60, a social enterprise that does virtual mentorship for Zimbabwean girls and women in/interested in STEM. We are matchmakers for girls who need mentorship and women who have made it, either in the diaspora or locally.

How is your relationship with the Oasis?

Two people are working at the Oasis office and the rest of my team works online. I like the environment and working from here is very convenient, the internet and electricity are mostly reliable, it’s very ideal. Unlike having power cuts at home which sucks because I need to be online most of the time. I recommend people to come here.

What is TechWomen?

TechWomen is an exchange program for emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). They connect women from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East with professional mentors from Silicon Valley, United States. The participants are provided with access to networks, resources, and knowledge to empower them to reach their full potential.

Where is the program happening?

We will spend all five weeks in California, Mountain View. Initially, we were supposed to be in California for four weeks and spend the last week in DC but because of fluctuating Covid19 cases, we were told to do the DC bit virtually.

What will happen during the exchange program?

We are going to be working on an impact project as six Zimbabweans which we will then pitch towards the end of the seminar. If it’s good enough, we will potentially get funding for it. We’ll also be doing a lot of site seeing.

Tell us about your mentors.

I was matched with three mentors from GoDaddy, a software developer, a UX designer, and, a UX researcher. They will all be working towards making sure I reach my mentorship goals. I will have to present to them what I want to get out of the mentorship and then they collaborate to make it happen.

When did you start knowing about TechWomen?

I started knowing about tech women when I was still in college but I didn’t qualify because they needed you to have done tonnes of stuff.

They might not say it but you can tell from the criteria and from the people that have made it that you need to have been very active so I told myself I’ll apply when I am ready so last year I felt like I was ready and I put it in my calendar like four months before when I was supposed to start applying.

It took me six weeks to apply because you had to write eight essays and I hate writing, I hate talking, anything that requires content that’s why it took me long, but I had a good support system, people who encouraged me and reviewed my essays.
It’s very competitive because I think they had almost ten thousand applicants worldwide and a hundred and thirteen locally. But I made it to the semi-finalists, ten people were called to an interview and they wanted six.

How did the interview go?

We did the interview online on zoom sometime last year, probably between November and December there. I panicked during the interview, I knew what they were going to ask but I didn’t respond properly so after the interview I told myself that I won’t make it. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it, they choose their top six, and I was an alternate just in case any of them drop out.

How did you take that?

I was expecting it so I had already started applying for the next cohort who will be going in September because I now knew where I had gone wrong and how I would correct it.
Fortunately, one person dropped the program for a job in Malaysia and that was amazing because I was in!

How do you feel about being part of TechWomen?

It wasn’t surprising because I was very intentional about it. I knew about it years ago and I intentionally took steps to work towards it but I still feel very fortunate to have cut because when I look at the people who were applying I can’t believe I made it. I look forward to it because it’s promising to expose me to a lot of things that I could not have easily accessed.

What’s your tech history?

Tech for me started way back in primary school, back then we had an old computer and I loved playing games on it and experimenting on it so I always knew that whatever I wanted to do was supposed to be in IT.
In high school, I did computing for my O’s and A’s. Initially, I wanted to do software engineering but when I got to NUST, I ended up choosing computer science and we still worked out okay.

I’ve always known what I wanted to do, unlike many people who figure it out as they go but during my final year that’s when I started realising that I’m more inclined to my artsy side because with computer science it’s a lot of programming and logic but I can balance both. I realised I’m not just a logical thinker I’m also a creative person so I decided to merge what I’m good at and what I’m already studying. That’s when I started doing UX designing and now it’s more of UX engineering.

The TechWomen initiative inspires women to keep pursuing STEM careers by strengthening the participants’ professional capacity, increasing mutual understanding between key networks of professionals, and exposing those to female role models.

Magitare Live At The Oasis

Magitare Live At The Oasis.

Magitare Live is an offshoot of the Acoustic night. It promotes young creatives of different disciplines e.g. musicians, poets, comedians, speakers by giving them a space to come together to perform. It is hosted at the Oasis in Bulawayo by Tariro neGitare.

The show first started in Harare and has recently moved to Bulawayo. In partnership with The Oasis, their mission is to reach out, capture, and celebrate all the creatives in Zimbabwe.

Magitare Live’s vision for 2022 is to build a creative ecosystem where artists can grow and feed on each other.

Recently, Magitare Live hosted Real Shona, Mimmie Tarukwana, Ashely, Pride, Thandoe, and Thanya. The Oasis had a chance to interview each of the artists.

Real Shona

Real Shona is an urban new age musician, songwriter, performing artist, and visionary based in Bulawayo.
Born in Mutare, Real Shona says his stage name comes from embracing his background and being proud of his ethnic group ‘the Shona people.’

What are your goals for 2022?

“This year, I am looking forward to dropping two singles, focusing on doing more shows and performances, and becoming a businessman.”

How did you enjoy the show?

“It’s nice what Tariro has here, The Oasis has a dope studio, and if I was to be asked to return I am coming back.’

What advice would you give to young artists?


…dream big, aim high, and believe in yourselves.

Mimmie Tarukwana

Majoring in soul RnB, Mubanga Natasha Tarukwana aka Mimmie is a singer, songwriter, now actress, and part-time model.
She released her first solo EP in February 2021 called ‘They love Mimmie’ but she’s still part of her Jazz band called ‘The Outfit.’
How does your band feel about you being a solo artist?
“It’s always been my dream to be an artist on my own… my band has been very supportive they have been helping with my music.”

How did you enjoy the show?

‘At first, I was nervous because it’s been a while since I’ve been interviewed, but Tariro just made me so comfortable and welcome’

What are your goals for 2022?

One of my long-term goals is to create safe spaces for the young artists. I feel like upcoming artists need to be protected.

I was not protected when I first started in the industry… I want to create a safe environment where people can record their music and learn how to be sound engineers.”

Mimmie says she has dedicated herself to learning media tricks every year so that when the time comes to open her centre she knows what type of people to employ. Last year she learned sound engineering.

Pride Mhlanga

Pride Mhlanga AKA Majoer Prodi is a performing artist and holder of 2021 ZimStars Awards Best House / Dance artist.

His art started back in the day when he was still part of Chipawu – a non-governmental organisation focused on programs that benefit and empower Zimbabwean children through participatory arts education.

How did you enjoy the show?

“Magitare live is a great initiative, it’s not one of those that you get every day it’s growth.”
“Just being here feels like an awesome thing to me, it changes a lot in my life…I’m not at my peak yet but I’m learning a lot and meeting a lot of different people, learning things I haven’t experienced before and that shows how much I’m growing through the art.”

What are your goals for 2022?

“2022, I am pushing Wena Wensundu all day long. People have to listen to that music; people have to get hold of that music…we are also planning on having a cinematic concert for it”

Tell us about that album?
“Wena Wensundu is a very diverse album, it doesn’t have one genre, it’s like crossing borders without going anywhere…also the title itself defines me, who I am as an African child”

The album has five regional and international collaborations with artists Jessy Cullmann from Germany, Bella Layne from DRC, Juma from Malawi, D Ukingo from Tanzania, and Nelly from South Africa.

What advice would you give to young artists?

It’s a jungle out there… talent is not enough you need people who know people, and you need people who know the business.

Learn music business but engage with people who do music business.’


Thandoe’s birth name is Thandokuhle Sibanda, she is an award-winning poet born and raised in Bulawayo.

She was poetry slam champion twice in one year namely Larfarge poetry slam and Intwasa poetry slam in 2018. She launched an anthology called ‘One Day to The Next’ to inspire and address societal issues that people encounter.

How do you feel about the show?

‘I haven’t done anything of this nature before, when I got the invitation I was excited because Tari has done quite well for herself and to be able to do something like this with her is a big deal. Also, I like that she’s featuring poets. Poetry isn’t a much-realised form of art so being given the same platform like other artists is great.’

What are your goals for 2022?

“This year is about growing my brand as a poet and also tapping into other spheres of art. I’m looking on expanding in terms of doing visuals and I’m looking forward to more collaboration in terms of dance.”

What advice would you give to young artists?

Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t compare yourself to other people, your progress is not going be the same.

“Also, don’t be too lazy, Zimbabwe situation can give you a lot of excuses to not do a certain thing but don’t be that person.”

Michelle Thanya

Michelle Thanya Moyo, popularly known as Michelle Thanya is a Bulawayo based poet, writer, theatre enthusiast, and Music manager in training.

Michelle won the Intwasa Extra Arts Festival as the youngest poet there, runner up in the Intwasa arts slams for two years, and second place in group poetry in the 100 girls 100 voices initiative. She acted in a short film called ‘Date Night.’

How do you feel about the show?

“I’m quite honoured to be in a room with Tari… she’s teaching us how to be better creatives by not only focusing on poetry but also recording and producing content.”

What are your goals for 2022?

“This year, I want to research more on creating content for my podcast ‘Thanya two cents’ and be more consistent in releasing poetry content.”

What advice would you give to younger artists?

Keep trying, step out of your comfort zone…I don’t think you will ever be recognised for doing nothing…

“The biggest thing is to try, at least die trying.”

Ashely Nkiwane

Ashely Nkiwane is a singer and songwriter, who has a great interest in Visual Art.

She was part of the top five finalists in the Art of Health Music Competition.

In 2016, Ashely moved to Zimbabwe from South Africa after the tragic passing of her dad. She says the people of Zimbabwe seemed to love singing a lot and she wanted to try that out. That’s when she realized she had singing talent.

Ashely featured in the late Alex Granger’s song ‘I Wanna Be With You’

How do you feel about the show?

“Being part of the Magitare Live cast and being interviewed professionally was a whole new experience but I had fun…Tari is a wonderful person, this is my third time meeting her… so far I love her”

What are your goals for 2022?

“I haven’t been recording much so I am hoping to do more recording and partake in live shows this year.”

The future is bright for Magitare Live and other such initiatives. The Oasis is delighted to pursue and nurture such collaborations. To see the establishing of such platforms that will celebrate local talent and encourage young artists towards reaching their potential and monetising their talent in meaningful and sustainable ways.

How can creative hubs impact the economy of Bulawayo?

What are creative hubs?

Creative hubs are physical or virtual places that provide services for creative entrepreneurs to connect and collaborate. Places where freelancers, entrepreneurs, and start-up team members share informal knowledge and exchange information. Six components that are usually involved in the creation of creative hubs are incubators, specialist cultural service providers for companies and artists, virtual platforms, development agencies, co-working facilities, and clusters.

Creative hub operations have so far led to clear, tangible benefits on a local level, including investment, tourism, and the livelihood of individual communities. These hubs have also positively affected the way the general public perceives art and design which contributes to the sustainability and growth of the creative economy.

Creative hubs and the economy

The best way to envision how creative hubs can influence our Bulawayo economy is by considering where other hubs worldwide are now, what they have achieved, how that influenced their economy, and whether as Bulawayo, we can be inspired to do the same or better.


In an environment like Bulawayo where finance and networking opportunities are scarce, hubs aid by focusing groups or individuals that have these kinds of resources into the country. Hubs bring creative people together which fosters great innovation and large investments if the products become a success. Take a look at Kenya’s success through the iHub, BRCK is an innovation that contributed largely to the economy and it came as a result of an innovation hub.

Kenya’s iHub produced a hardware product in the form of the BRCK mobile internet device that guarantees Internet access when grid electricity goes down. Sold under the tagline the “Backup Generator of the Internet” the BRCK features wired or wireless network connections, battery life of eight hours, and the ability to connect up to 20 devices. –TECHZiM

Kenya’s ISP firm BRCK- Innovation Village


The creative activities carried out in art clusters, hubs and art incubators, often located in the revitalised spaces of former industrial zones or abandoned buildings, can constitute a significant share of the creative economy. In Bulawayo, the street art created by Nyasha Jeche & Marcus Zvinavashe of CaliGraph on the celebration of women was a great way to represent art. The general public now perceives street art differently as it’s being seen as a new vision for the city and a way of attracting international visitors. However, if art was further encouraged through opening art hubs, Bulawayo would generate revenue through art incubators.

Stellenbosch Triennale is an hour’s drive from Cape Town and it highlights the region’s emergence as a global art hub. ‘Triennale’ is most commonly used within the art world to describe large-scale contemporary art exhibitions from select countries. The first Stellenbosch Triennale began in February 2020. For six weeks, the Triennale attracted more than 6,000 visitors, before the event went on hiatus after the Coronavirus outbreak reached South Africa.

Stellenbosch Triennale

New spaces

The co-working model provided by creative hubs can enhance the promotion and development of creativity in its most diverse forms. By encouraging creativity and innovation in people through offering affordable workspace, hubs have made it easier for modern business people to stand up and create a new business without having to deal with the burden of maintaining leased offices. This has inspired business people to build new spaces for cultural creation and these can be a way in which a city like Bulawayo can generate initiatives that make it possible for financial investments.

Bulawayo already has numerous hub establishments such as Center for Innovation Technology (CITE), Village Coworking (former TechVillage Innovation), the Oasis Business Hub, and Multimedia Box which provide affordable workspaces. The Oasis Business Hub in Belmont offers affordable pricing for their resources which include working area, WiFi, and a boardroom for the client to stakeholder meetings; for only $30 per month. These will hopefully encourage the creation of more hubs.

The Oasis Business Hub

Hubs bring together diverse communities to co-create and shape the world in new ways. They create an active and alive creative economy that will boost society as a whole and the world at large. Creative hubs have been a success in other cities and countries, Bulawayo can do it too.