Young leaders’ space 2018

Quite a number of young people across the country are doing a marvelous job as champions of development, yet their efforts go unrecognized leading to misconceptions that distort the role of the youth in building communities and thereby draining their motivation. Youth for Innovation Trust has developed an initiative to amplify the voice of young people who are doing well in their communities in order to celebrate their efforts. Through several strategies YIT is engaging innovative young people in and around Zimbabwe to promote informed participation in development and growth in all aspects of life. Through this initiative young people across the country have grown closer to their peer leaders and sought partnership and collaboration of efforts. Here are their stories…

Langelihle Sibanda

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Langelihle Sibanda (22 years) a safari guide, Lph lecture, travel consultant at Mbira Tours and Safaris ,events coordinator at Royal events and a Philanthropist, she also the founder of Reach Out Charity Organization. ROCO is made up of individuals who are committed in investing their time and expertise for the betterment of the lives of the less privileged children in Zimbabwe. To date it has worked with over 150 vulnerable children from across the country focusing on Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare.

The sole aim of the organization is to support the less privileged with education needs. They work with volunteers who collect and distribute stationery packages, school shoes, uniforms for specific schools. Their vision is to the world leader in sustainable education development for orphaned and vulnerable children. Langa describes her upbringing to have contributed to some of the work she does in reaching out to vulnerable children. She up with separated parents, at a tender age she started selling foodstuff to raise money for her school fees and she dreamt of building an orphanage and change the lives
of the less privileged.

Reach Out Charity organization (ROCO) has done several initiatives as a way of reaching
out to the less fortunate, some of their programs include stationery campaign were they collect stationery for the vulnerable children as well as the sanitary wear campaign were they collect and distribute sanitary wear to young girls. The organization relies on fundraising for most of its work, they have used several innovative platforms to raise funds these include, movie nights and fundraising dinners. In 2019 she hopes that the organization would continue to reach out to the vulnerable children as well as raise funds.

Discent Collins Bajila

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I am a Social Democrat. I believe in gradual change from suffering to prosperity. I’m a deal maker. I’m a mediator. I’m a negotiator. I basically enjoy bringing people together…

 

The following is a profile of Descent Collins  Bajila, a young adult who is a political philosopher and believer in the power that lies within our youths. He is currently transitioning now as he has played a big role in the political sphere by being an activist. In his life as an activist Bajila, learnt a lot from mistakes and has acquired a great stake of knowledge from his mentor. He has been active in politics and civil society  since 2005. Now that he’s the Executive Director for Future of Africa Partnerships (FAP), he’s leaving a space to the youths so that young minds can also fill the gaps. FAP seeks to establish best practice networks across the African continent on matters of Water, Sanitation, ICT, Agriculture, Energy and Sports. In his work, Bajila has noted that democracy in Zimbabwe remains unstable and least beneficial to the electorate, hence, activism should not be IDEOLOGY based but ISSUE based.

He’s part of the Movement Democratic Change (MDC) as the Secretary General of the Youth Assembly and he supervise the party on youth related issues. He was very instrumental in the writing of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe and the development of MDC policies. Being involved in politics has taught him that when one steps in the political field they expose themselves to all manners of abuse. Bajila says he has experienced a lot of betrayal and criticism but became strong along the way. Now he is focused on the future because a lot is at stake if people continue to look in the past. His goal is to save and serve Africa that can be one village.

Nonkanyiso Mabaleka

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I pretty much do a lot of work myself. I am the product, the company, the product manager but balancing all that is not easy.

 

She goes by the name Nonkanyiso and responds to Mabaleka as a surname. Nonkanyiso means mother of light or enlightenment however, having ventured into arts, her name seems to be carrying its weight in meaning and purpose. She’s a singer, songwriter, actress and a writer. She finds joy and purpose in doing these activities and also it brings peace and contentment to her soul. Nonkanyiso used to be a beauty therapist and advises one to have to not just love the arts industry but be born with it in order to find ease. She has a strong character that keeps her going in this tough journey. She says sometimes things do not happen as fast as one hope for and they can fold and give up at times. She keeps going because she’s has put in so much work and energy even when things are not going according to her plans. She seeks advice from those who have knowledge and have been in the industry for some time.

Nonkanyiso believes that there is a need to change in attitudes towards people who are into arts. She does not see arts as just a hobby, to her it is more than that, it’s a profession, talent and a job. She acknowledges that it is hard for artists as there is need for financing their projects. Nonkanyiso is also the owner of ONKA Productions,the company is based in Killarney and focuses on music, drama and literature works. She has a lovely team of young people she started working with last year. They staged their staged first African Folklore tale in October. They are still growing in the industry.

She is also a writer and some of the works that have been seen is the book titled “Maziawuzikhetheliabazali bakho.” The book is aimed at helping young people understand that they can break the cycle and be better than their parents. The book also tries to mend the broken homes, that lack respect in marriages. The book advocates for more solid homes and lives. It took a while for her family to support and accept who she was, she would go to Harare to record some tracks there, but she would tell her family that she is going there for a job hunt. Now they are supportive though they do not completely understand. She’s the product, the company, the product manager but balancing all that is not easy for her. For instance people have been waiting for her next single but she has been busy with the play and writing all the things she must write from planning, short stories, scripts for the next play.

Some things she cannot divulge yet as she is are still planning. She just started working with ladies from Jacob Foundation that works with women of all ages under their Pearls mentorship program.

Philani A Nyoni

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 I create the work for the work: the poem is a poem, it’s not a manifesto, and it is not my gospel. The poem is what it is.

 

He’s a writer, film maker and an award winning soul, a soul that carries the body of Philani Amadeus Nyoni. His artist name is PAN, and it comes from initials. Philani prides himself in his identity which is embedded in his name; while his father came with the name ‘Philani’, his mother named him ‘Amadeus’ because she comes from a rich Catholic background. Philani has had a wonderful chance to be part of at least four international workshops in his career though growing up he wanted to be a scientist. As a writing guru, Philani believes that the process of writing without inspiration is meant to enable one to be capable of writing when inspired.

“I write in a diary which is often made public because it’s encrypted with imagery”.

Philani says that he creates the work for the work and the poem is a poem, not a manifesto or a gospel. He works on several things at a time and probably might get bored with one or lose the willpower or “begeisterung” as defined by the German romantics. For him every day is a struggle, yet he believes that it is the most beautiful thing about his journey. His writing is therapy for him, his therapy also becomes other people’s therapy. He believes that writing with a message is usually propaganda. One of his latest career moves was when he was working on what was tentatively titled ‘Virgin Blood & Lingerie,’ Zimbabwe went through a leadership transition and he produced a decent product entitled #Philtrum 2.0.

 

Imelda Duduzile Moyo

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Imelda Duduzile Moyo (26) is a Public relations Maven and the founder of the Power Public Relations Communications Company. Imelda wears multiple hats, she serves as the Treasurer for Zimbabwe Institute of Public Relations for the Bulawayo Chapter and as a freelance Content Editor for Kwantuthu Arts Magazine. Prior to serving at her current roles, she has also worked for the Trinity Project, SkyzMetro FM, and she has previously free-lanced for the Urban Culxure Online Magazine as well as the South African publication- Inspiring Women.

Endowed with a fixer and handle mindset and a passion for solving problems faced by individuals, she credits her first job at the Trinity Project, for molding her into a creative communicator who is exceptional in her profession. Amongst her impressive clientele list is the Arthur C Evans Show.

Asked on the challenges faced by the PR Industry, Imelda expressed concerns on the failure of the Zimbabwean citizens in differentiating between PR and Marketing. She also stated that most people are unaware of the basics that inform the PR Industry.

Imelda believes that the traits that constitute a great PR practitioner consist of the ability to be objective, brutally honest, well read, cultured, transparent, a visionary, a planner, an action based individual with amazing networking skills, possessing impeccable communication skills and being time conscious.  Concerning the role of the Public Relations Practitioners in the upcoming 2018 Zimbabwean Elections, Imelda highlighted that the role of the PR practitioners is to promote transparency, inform and interpret different issues to the public and to restore the faith of the elections to the citizen of Zimbabwe.

Thubelihle Mafu

28685554_2057137264315173_8176757430528779790_nThubelihle Mafu  (28) a leader born and bred in  the dusty streets of Bulawayo, passionate about telling the story of the African child, she did her primary and secondary education at Coughlan and St Columba’s respectively.

 She studied journalism and media studies at the National University of Science and Technology, she believes journalism chose her as at a tender age she aspired to study law. Currently programs at Women Institute, Leadership Development (WILD), she describes herself as a strategists who use her feet effectively to reach out to issues affecting the youth in Zimbabwe.

 She began her political career at the age of 17 where she was invited at a youth meeting when she was doing her A ‘level where she met a few friends who later became her mentors. She was also inspired by his late father was active in politics part of the opposition party.  She was then elected as the secretary for information and publicity at the age of 18 to carry out with the legacy of his father.

She later joined ZINASU a student’s movement and she took in a one year training on Young politicians in Africa which was held in South Africa back in 2013, she later became part of Zimbabwe Lawyers Human Rights where she fell in love with advocacy and tapped into being a human rights defender.

During her days at University she began tapping into activism, this was sparked by the inequalities that students faced at the university. Thuba has worked with various organisations,  she has been involved with National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) as an information’s officer before moving to Women Institute Leadership Development where she is the program officer focusing on the upcoming 2018 elections. WILD focuses on women’s and young girls, its core mandate is to ensure that women and girls are at the core of social , political and economic development.

They focus on building capacity amongst women and young girls, they train women on social accountability and also help female candidates with mentorship programs. Her long term vision is focusing on working for the community and reaching out to every part of the country and touching different lives through her organisations’ programs

Likhwa Moyo

Likhwa Moyo is a 34 year old man who is passionate about politics, the arts and business sector. Growing up he was fascinated about business systems and hungry for knowledge. At a tender age he was keen on identifying business mechanism that would help him and his peers. He is currently serving as head of the Small Medium Enterprise Association of Zimbabwe branch in Bulawayo. He has been nominated for several business awards in the country. He is a firm believer of starting small and having enough information to full fill your dream.

 He is ever vocal when it comes to young people venturing into politics his main advice is young people should have clear strategies when they decide to take up politics, the strategy include having a clear cut manifesto, knowing what you want to deliver to the people and your major strengths as well as weaknesses.

Likhwa is part of the SME Association of Zimbabwe which is based in Harare and having another branch in Bulawayo covering areas such as Matebeleland and Midlands.  The organisation helps businesses in any way to build their capacity on various issues also the mandate of the organisation is to grow SMEs into large corporations. Their scope of work focuses on 6 key services

  • Growth Strategy Formulation
  • Access to markets
  • Access to funding
  • Training and development
  • Infrastructure
  • Lobbying and Advocacy

His day to day role involves formulation of programs for the members , also it looks at building strong partnerships with other organisations that provide complimentary services. His biggest take away in his life and career is the ability to always learn from the people he meets and associates with.

He recently launched Likhwa ‘s Launch pad , this was set up to help the average person planning to go into business, the inspiration behind this website was the gap he saw in particular in Bulawayo where people venture into business with limited information and if they get the information the way it is packaged it, is not understood by the average person. The launch pad is meant to simplify doing business and also to save aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to make money and have enough information.

Mgcini Moyo

21558741_10215017819548286_9037209960780691980_nMgcini Moyo (30)  a father of 2 girls , the youngest radio station manager to emerge in Zimbabwe, his career in civic engagement begun in 2004 where he was part of the Bulawayo Dialogue Institute Leadership development program , this is when he started to interact with various communities. He is the brains behind the initiative called  Leadership institute for transformation and social change (Intscha.com) this initiative focuses on youth leadership skills development.

He is currently the youngest station manager in the country heading Breeze Fm owned by Fair talk communications based in Victoria Falls. His role is to coordinate the marketing, technical, and programming and administration aspects of radio. Breeze FM‘s primary audience are people in Victoria falls and its surrounding environment such as Living stone in Zambia. Breeze Fm is a station dominated by young people.

He describes radio as a medium of communication which require people passionate about communication and reaching out to the communities. He is one of the youngest station managers to ever emerge in Zimbabwe and he firmly believes radio has 9 revenue streams that form the core element of radio business these include content generation, utilisation and broadcast, technical that is ensuring that the spectrum is accessible to all within the broadcasting radius, administration, human resources as well as financial aspect.

Nyoni believes radio has evolved over the years radio is not about the usual radio voices it is now about how one relates with the audience. Their vision is to be the best radio of choice in the Zambezi Valley, the station has diverse radio shows to cater for the young and old

He has worked on a number of projects in trying to reach out to every citizen of Zimbabwe some of his projects include his involvement in the COPAC process where he was a rapporteur based in Midlands province, he has also been involved in the BDI programs which later produced Intscha.com.

He urges young artists to submit their music and have a chance to receive airplay at Breeze Fm and this is a space that has opened many opportunities for many artists across Zimbabwe.

Victoria Ngono

With a distinguished career in the field of ICT, Vickie Ngono is an ICT Professional and Trainer, who is currently serving as the Managing Director of HabeNerd, an online ICT platform in Zimbabwe which exposes and provides all gender groups and people of all age groups with an opportunity of learning programming languages, regardless of the professional field they will be specializing in. Prior to becoming the Managing Director of HabeNerd, Vickie is also a member of the Computer Society of Zimbabwe for the Bulawayo Chapter who has served on the Executive and Software Development Committee for nearly 10 years, she is an Ambassador for Africa Code Week.

Committed to playing a vital role in equipping learners with essential Coding and App development skills, Vickie considers acquiring ICT competency as a valuable step that assists in fostering a culture of career development amongst the youth and it broadens the scope of the uptake of the STEM related career opportunities.

Asked on how the society could assist in the creation of enabling environments where women and young girls are enthusiastic about the stem related field as well as being supported, recognized and rewarded for their work in the ICT field, Vickie acknowledged the existence and prominence of global challenges that include the Technovation Challenge, a global challenge for girls aged between ten to 18 years, in which they identify and solve a social problem through the creation of mobile Apps. She added that the challenge should be well marketed and lobbied for on a national scale. She is the current Technovation Challenge Mentor for the Bulawayo 2018 champions, the 5th Diamonds.

A testimony to the statement that women in Africa are undeniably participating in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) revolution, Vickie advised individuals interested in being instrumental in the ICT field to find their purpose and place within the ICT world and make it worthwhile. She highlighted that this could be achieved through becoming a mentor, partaking in trainings, developing applications or lobbying for the rights of a specific target group to access ICT skills. She believes that, “Passion without a purpose is dead, people should get involved now and not later.”

Chengetai Mukuni

12646964_10156425221640524_5788394717843214840_nInspired by the traumatic experience of giving birth to her son two months early, an experience that motivated her to venture into the field of community development which has seen her contributing and being instrumental in the creation of a brighter future within the communities, Chengetai Makuni is a Community Developer, the Co-founder and Director of Baby Heroes Africa and a Rotarian serving as the Youth Services Director for the Rotary Club of Matopos.

Her greatest commitment is to Baby Heroes Africa, a foundation dedicated to supporting hospitals and families take care of preterm babies. The foundation’s vision is to increase the chances of the long-term survival of preterm babies while contributing to the ongoing development of maternal health in Africa. The aforementioned is achieved through giving aid to the parents of the preterm babies, for instance through giving them essential care packages; packages that consist of soap, clothes and diapers.  The foundation also provides the preterm babies who would have lost their mothers with Formula as well as offering emotional support to the mothers of the preterm babies.  Baby Heroes Africa also provides clinical and technical support to institutions providing care to preterm babies and the foundation works closely with the Mpilo Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospital and the Maphisa Rural Hospital.

Chengetai highlighted that through her role as the Youth Services Director for the Rotary Club of Matopos, she has been exposed to opportunities that have allowed her to ignite the fire of leadership in young people and she considers this to be an incredible experience that allows the young people to grow to their full potential as leaders.

As an active member who is instrumental in the issues of community development, Chengetai believes that philanthropy and the achievement of social impact all starts with one’s goals dedicated to the betterment of the community.  She stated that, “I celebrate with the hungry at any instances where they are assisted in finding food.” Thus, she constantly challenges herself to stay true and connected to her cause through telling her story and visiting the hospitals as this encourages her as well as reminds her of her identity and the path she has chosen to pursue.

Blondie Beatrice Ndebele

11150181_878177492249414_8410082046870040737_nHer passion and love for telling her story the different and unique way has opened many doors in her career and she continues to tell her story and that of the community through various ways. Blondie Beatrice Ndebele is a young journalist passionate about the stories that shape our communities and bring about change. She is currently the Information and Communications officer for Habakkuk Trust.

She contributes a lot in the driving of the day to day running of the organisation through writing articles, managing their website, doing research on various issues. He love for journalism begun at a tender age when her mother used to buy novels and newspapers , seeing names of various scribes on by-lines inspired her to have her name on one of the newspapers. During her spare time she blogs on various topical issues affecting the community of Bulawayo mainly focusing on sex and relationships as well as everyday stories and experiences. Some of her work include a blog ‘Facing the margins of Life’ where she writes about the challenges faced by people on day to day which are not reported by the people on the mainstream media.

Her role at Habakkuk Trust has shaped her as she works with a dynamic team driven to bring about change and development in Matebeleland. Habakkuk Trust is a Christian Organisation that seeks to empower communities to be able to advocate on issues that affect them. It’s an advocacy organisation based in Bulawayo but mainly works in rural areas of Matebeleland North and South. The core work of the organisation is advocacy, research, as well as information dissemination.

Blondie believes that as a journalist one needs to be focused on their work, be slow to anger and achieve their goals , she says although  journalism has been viewed and also dominated by males , women can do well in such as industry as well and make a difference in their communities.

Ronald Dumisani Moyo

17103801_1443839555661059_5356071568730920074_nRonald Dumisani Moyo , is a Journalism and media studies graduate and a post graduate in Monitoring and Evaluation he has written for several newspapers. He is currently a programmer at British Council where he works with several artists in the arts sector of Zimbabwe. He was driven by the passion and love for working with celebrities in the sector that shaped his career.  Growing up at a tender age his main dream was to become a lawyer  but he had a strong passion in writing , at tender age he used to write books that he circulated amongst his family members.

During his primary school days he took part in various poetry  competitions , winning these competitions inspired him to work hard and study journalism at University. Monitoring and Evaluation was inspired by the life experience in working in the communications sector in one of the Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).  Ronald views formal education as a necessary tool on paper that is needed in order to meet requirements but however citizen journalism has taken over and everyone can practise and be able to communicate effectively when it comes to writing and reporting.

He occasionally writes for an online African Business website start up of African Havard students called African Exponent. This website requires a 650 word article about a topic of your choice, be it any topical issue affecting the community where one comes from. It is a business inclined site but with a social element. This platform has writers from all over the world contributing their different stories which continue to shape the society and bring about development.

Ronald has been also involved in Nhimbe Trust where he has done a lot of work when it comes to arts, he used to draft the monthly newsletter as well as do research about the arts industry. At the age of 24 he was incorporated into the UNESCO quadrennial report team.

He is passionate about the arts industry in Zimbabwe and he dreams of a day where the arts industry is taken serious and artists are recognised as the contributors of development in any country and the agents of change in various communities.

Kudakwashe Takundwa

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Kudakwashe Takundwa is a tech savvy young man who grew up in the dusty streets of Bulawayo. He is the founder of an award winning online magazine, Urban Culxure as well as Bulawayo Times. Urban Culxure has been one of the leading online magazines in Bulawayo founded in 2014 , it has scooped  several awards such as the Bulawayo Arts Awards.

Takundwa has been involved in numerous projects, some of these include global dialogues contest in 2013 where he won and used the prize money to establish Urban Culxure magazine. Online media houses have been over the years viewed as disruptive innovations which have taken the industry by storm. It mainly focuses on Arts, culture, entertainment, travel as well as sports. Urban Culxure has been one of the online media houses in Bulawayo which has put Bulawayo Arts at the core of their business and this has brought about the appreciation of the talent which is in Bulawayo, Matebeleland and beyond.

Urban Culxure has been nominated once more for the outstanding media Category in the Roil Bulawayo Arts awards 2018.  To date Urban Culxure has received 2 awards and 3 nominations. Takundwa is passionate about telling the Bulawayo story and giving exposure to the massive talent that is in Bulawayo.

He has been vocal on many platforms on the issue of supporting local artists as well as products. Takundwa also runs Bulawayo Times which focuses on giving Bulawayo residents a voice and a space to get information about their city. He is also working on the establishment of an online television called Urban Tv which promises to take the digital space by storm.

The Urban Culxure team comprises of an editorial team led by Keith Moyo and Nkosi Ncube , this has been one of the leading online magazines and continues to make waves in the industry of Bulawayo and contributing a lot to the development of Arts in the region.

Sheryl T Chigwedere

13164375_615112105310214_8461218170690802128_n24 year old Sheryl Tendai Chigwedere is a Human Rights Activist, a child marriage survivor, the Harare provincial coordinator for Activista Zim and the project officer for Girls and Women Empowerment Network Trust, an Organisation that advocates for the empowerment of adolescent girls and young women.

Sheryl has volunteered within the community since the age of 20 and she first plunged into activism after the disappearance of the activist- Itai Dzamara, an experience which saw her partaking as part of the demonstrators who staged a protest and submitted a petition to the Parliament.

Asked on the implications of being a human rights activist in Zimbabwe, Sheryl, explained that the society has normalized the infringement of human rights, a behavior which has also witnessed the suppression of the efforts of the activists, at times forcing them to deter from their goal.

A fervent activist, Sheryl holds a seat in the provincial structures of the MDC T political party, youth wing. She regards the marginalization and lack of support for women in the political system as a reason that contributes to the scarcity of women in the political landscape.

Her ultimate goal is to become an international human rights lawyer and for her name to be included in the Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s billionaires.

Ishmael Ndlovu

29196834_1470852679691004_5597636060902326272_nIshmael Mkandla is a presenter and co-produces the programme Road to 2018-Elections Watch, at the Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE). The programme focuses on the activities pertaining to the preparation of elections, political parties’ activities, civil society programmes as well as the roles and the involvement of the electorate.

Prior to his current role at CITE, Ishmael has extensive experience in the media industry. Ishmael’s early experience concerning his active involvement in his ward in the year 2009, saw his ward councilor (Mr Israel Mabaleka) encouraging him to join Radio Dialogue as a citizen ward committee member; who was later trained as a citizen reporter and this informed his decision to undertake the degree in Media Studies at Zimbabwe Open University. Some of the highlights of his role at the community radio station include:  being a presenter, producing programmes, coordinating community dialogue meetings with the youths, writing articles for the annual newsletters and social media management.

Gripped by the powerful desire to effect change, Ishmael has also launched his own personal initiatives; Umsindo Media, a content producing platform that came forth as a response to bridge the gap of content producers mainly for television production and IBE Network q YouTube channel that will focus on the sharing of hard news, sports and entertainment.

In addition, Ishmael is a member of the ZimRights Organisation who is currently serving in the regional board as a committee member. As the ZimRights regional board member, he has lobbied and advocated for issues affecting the youths. An instance is that of when he once addressed a former Member of Parliament on the issue of youths, who active during campaigns were not being included in decision making processes in political parties.

Nigel Ndlovu

27867918_1600219326739165_5331338897553484449_nNigel Ndlovu (26) is an established Filmmaker, Entrepreneur, Digital Strategist, a Co-founder of the online Magazine- Culxure Mag Zim and an Independent Member of Parliament Candidate for Magwegwe Constituency who identifies as a servant leader.

Nigel holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Media Studies and he has previously served as an editor, cinematographer and social media manager intern at Cmedia Africa. In addition, he also co-produced the local film titled Isono Sami. His passion and experience in the media industry resulted in him being awarded his first award at the age of sixteen. He reinforced that for the Zimbabwean Film industry to prosper, it is essential to invest in the state of the art technology as well as maximising on production services.

Guided by the: “Less Talk, More Action,” campaign adage, he identified the lack of development, lack of the ability to initiate and implement change and the lack of political, technological, social and economic empowerment as key issues that influenced him to embark on his political career. He added that he was also inspired by the presence of young active youth leaders who are relentlessly championing for change in the country. He affirms that change begins with an individual and he has been actively involved in his campaign for the Independent Member of Parliament Candidate for Magwegwe Constituency post.

Nomatshawekazi Damasane

downloadA writer, poetess, dancer, singer and actress Nomashawekazi ‘Lady Tshawe’ Damasane is a multi-talented artist who finds joy in expressing herself through art dance, music, words and jewellery. Her works draw inspiration from her surroundings.

While at university, she changed her major from Journalism and Drama to Drama and Ethnomusicology. She believed that journalism was the foundation she needed to be a more holistic creative, hence, for her, the decision of changing her degree major was the appropriate and life changing one as journalism had provided her with a solid foundation. She recalled that her Zimbabwean and South African experience is a multicultural one that made her to view life and the industry through an informed perspective, it also taught her the value of work ethics, taught her to be invincible and to appreciate her uniqueness in an industry that can easily tear one apart.

The prolific artist considers writing to be a cathartic process and she has written and published a book titled: Inscriptions of an Inspired Soul, an experience which is amongst her most notable accomplishments. In addition, some of her accomplishments include: the launch of Lady Tshawe, being able to perform at Zambezi express- a musical, performing in front of presidents at The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) and at the Zimbabwe National Youth Games as well as staging her first solo show in the year 2017.

Lady Tshawe’s musical talents are not only limited to singing and dancing, she is also an instrument player. She plays mbira, marimba, and a bit of piano. She credited that the instruments aid her in the appreciation of music as well as in her writings.

When asked on how individuals can improve Zimbabwe’s Arts and Culture industry, Lady Tshawe replied, “I think we need to improve in our integrity. Hire an artist and pay them for their services. Most artists are disheartened because of the failure of upholding agreements. Also, it can be improved by allowing people to express themselves in different ways. Arts is not a box, we should not dictate how an artist should act or write or dance. Art is an expression and it is expressed in different ways”

As a community leader, her personal core values entail giving back to her community and she achieves that through her Church’s youth ministry and in her individual capacity.

Linda Masarira

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Influenced by the quest to change the political space and bring forth a new political culture in Zimbabwe, Linda Tsungirirai Masarira (35), is a human rights defender, an activist, a mother of 5 and an Independent Member of Parliament candidate for Harare Central, who after experiencing myriad injustices decided to run for political office.

Her first-hand experience in solitary confinement at the Chikurubi Maximum prison for males after successfully leading a protest of inmates at Chikurubi female prison against poor food and poor sanitation, strengthened her main political goal of rallying for change in Zimbabwe.  During her time in prison, she spent her time advocating for the rights of the prisoners and teaching them about their fundamental human rights. 

As a woman running for political office in an environment that is not congenial for women running for office, Linda remarked that, “An individual’s marital status has nothing to do with capacity, credibility and accountability.” She affirmed that the parliament should not be treated or viewed as a contest of marital status, for it is a national assembly of law making.

Linda has valiantly championed for numerous causes that include demanding labour justice and demanding labour rights, leading a protest against youths who were terrorizing citizens in Bindura and the “Bring Back our women from Kuwait,” campaign as well as writing an open letter to Zimbabwe’s former president Mugabe, on a mission to address the continued violation of human rights in the country.

She envisages to witness a Zimbabwe that is underpinned by the following characteristics: social justice, solidarity, equal opportunities for all, freedom and a corrupt free nation that promotes innovation and includes all Zimbabweans in nation building.

Natasha Karikamwenda

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Drawn to politics from her National University of Science and Technology (NUST) debate days, Natasha Karimakwenda (26) is a final year Chemistry student at NUST who is currently running for the Councillor seat in ward 5, Bulawayo, under the APA Zimbabwe political party led by Dr Nkosana Moyo.

Motivated by the desire to lead, contribute to people’s betterment in debate spaces and see them embarking and embracing new dimensions is one of the most fulfilling instances of Natasha’s life that influenced her to pursue her political career. She conceded that the major problem affecting the ward 5 areas is the issue of security. Areas that fall under ward 5 consist of four winds, Eloana, Famona, Hillcrest, Hillside, Bradfield and the Morningside suburbs.

Natasha believes that politicians are meant to serve and she strives to create a platform in the City of Bulawayo, where youths are active and innovative. Her ultimate goal is to envision the City of Bulawayo becoming a successful economic hub like the City of Johannesburg.

When asked of her thoughts concerning the constraints faced by women who are on a mission to attain leadership positions in the field of politics predominated by men, Natasha encouraged the women to overlook the hurdles that prevent them from reaching and achieving their full potential in leadership spaces. She equated the hurdles to small mountains and said, “Small mountains like that should not stop us (women), from going to places we know we can thrive.”

Sichasisile Ndlovu

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Sichasisile Ndlovu is a young social scientist who has worked for Civil Society Organisations for 7years. She is currently working for Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT) an organisation working towards realizing total youth empowerment as well as development in Matabeleland South.

Driven by the axiom that youths are the wardens of good governance of democracy and the need for them to fully participate in all circles if the country is to achieve any set goals. She has the burning desire to provide safe spaces where youths can be capacitated, trained, and encouraged to occupy real political spaces as well as leadership roles in their communities, cities as well as the country.

Her major concern that led to the founding of such a youth initiative was the gap in Matebeleland South when it comes to the issues affecting young people. Privy before the formation of this organisation she did a survey in Matebeleland South to note which issues are affecting young people and how youths feel about their exclusion in decision making processes.

The main objective of CYDT is to increase and promote youth participation in decision making as well as governance. Her main plea and drive is to see youths occupying leadership roles and making decisions for themselves as they are the majority population in Zimbabwe.

To date the organisation has engaged a number of political figures and they have challenged them to nominate young people into leadership roles and they should see youths as potential leaders not only as people to put posters and distribute flyers.

Schasisisle has been hugely involved in mobilising young people and encouraging people to register to vote, some of their activities include doo  to door campaigns which saw them being applauded by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) for the massive job in voter education in the following wards: Gwanda, Beitbridge, Collen Bawn and Insiza South.

She is a firm believer of building capacity in order to achieve human development and empowerment.  CYDT has done several trainings under Human Rights and Advocacy, Project Management. To date there has been a huge positive impact in the communities of Matebeleland South and a lot is still yet to be achieved and realised when it comes to youths occupying political spaces.

She urges other young people to stand up and be counted as that generation that made a difference in their country. Most of her work is built on passion as well as the power of networking , strategizing, and the key is the objective of starting.

Tsitsi P Mashiri

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Tsitsi Patience Mashiri  (24) she is currently on attachment at Chitungwiza Hospital under the sewing department, she is also the organising secretary for  Zimbabwe Independent Candidates Alliance (ZICA). She is an MP aspirant for the St Mary’s constituency. She is also the commander for gender in the Harare province for YARD a youth movement.

ZICA offers support to Independent candidates running for office as the country heads to the 2018 elections. She was inspired by the state of her community as well as the plight of the citizens of Zimbabwe.

She believes that the electorate has lost confidence in political parties, as political parties think of themselves and less of the masses as well as service delivery. Under YARD she has managed to encourage young ladies to take part in politics and be brave to lead as well as make change in the community.

Part of her manifesto is to end corruption, end nepotism when it comes to employment creation which has taken its toll on many big firms in Zimbabwe, as well as to create employment which is the main challenge facing youths in Zimbabwe

She describes herself as a spiritual young person who lives by biblical principles. She is currently the head of Sunday school department at her church, Youth secretary as well as part of praise and worship. She is a firm believer of keeping biblical principles, she urges young people not to indulge into sexual activities before marriage.

Tsitsi has been receiving a lot of support from her community, church as well as her family. The church has many times been seen as an institution which does not support political activities however this notion she receives much support to run for office in the Chitungwiza constituency. She also has been using the church as a platform to spread the word on the importance of voter registration as well as taking part in the elections.

Sandisiwe Dube

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Sandisiwe Dube known by many as TKP (The Kasi Princess) she is a singer, actor, MC, she is currently the host of a Drive time show on Skyzmetrofm radio. She praises herself as UmaMvelase Inkaba yami isentabeni zakoGodlwayo, Amathambo abokhokho aseSwatini.

She describes herself as a young girl coming from the dusty streets of Bulawayo with focus and telling her story as well as giving hope to other young girls in Bulawayo. She comes from a christrian background and her life shaped and directed by the word of God.

Her love for music begun at an early age when she was in Grade 5 at Mthimkulu Primary school when she wrote her first song. She has featured in some local film productions such as Stitsha and NyamiNyami. To date She has released a lot of tracks which has received a lot of airplay in a lot of radio stations in Zimbabwe. Some of her tracks include sangena, mhururu and many others.

She describes the drive time show she hosts as something she values and she gives much respect to the listener. She has worked with various local companies and she is involved in a lot of community projects. Her main goal is to influence positively and affect the community in every sphere and put a smile on everyone’s face.

TKP is a strong believer of gender equality and for women to stand up and fight for their rightful spaces. She urges women to stand up and challenge men, as well as take leadership roles unapologetically, fearlessly.  She encourages women to stand their ground and work towards their goals.

She has been largely involved in encouraging young people to register to vote, she has worked with Election Resource Centre in a number of projects.  She is vocal on the importance of voting to the masses in particular the youths who constitute a huge proportion in the Zimbabwe demographic.

She has worked with a number of organisations including PSI Zimbabwe   as well as Protons baker. During her time working with PSI Zimbabwe her major role was to communicate with the people as an entertainer as well as educate them on the importance of male circumcision.

She lives by the motto of always allowing herself to learn new things from people who have maybe reached levels she hasn’t reached and the path she has not travelled. She appreciates the diversity of Zimbabwean culture and languages and this has taught her to work hard as well as depend on herself.

Ntandoyenkosi Moyo

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Founder of Umahlekisa Comedy Club, Ntando Van Moyo is an award winning Comedian whose comic abilities always manage to leave the audience roaring with laughter.

The Umahlekisa Comedy Club was founded on a mission to create comedy spaces or platforms and to establish a comedy industry in the country. Apart from the shows, the comedy club has programmes that include training students in using humour in writing and public speaking, offering young comedians platforms to develop and showcase their talents. As a part of their success stories, one of the comedians groomed by the club, Mandlenkosi Mathe aka Mandla Da Comedian, was nominated for his first 2018 National Arts Merits Awards (NAMA) in the Outstanding Comedian category and he won the award, while another product of the club has been on the Mzansi Magic channel and they also groomed their first female comedian in an effort to champion for the representation of all genders the comedy industry.

In his role as the founder of the Mahlekisa Comedy Club, Ntando has been instrumental in the mobilization of the youths in a bid to get them to register to vote in the upcoming elections and his comic abilities have been acknowledged by the society to such an extent that he has initiated community programmes such as burials. Inspired by the desire to bring smiles to people’s faces, Ntando continuously strives to initiate peace, offer therapy and build relations and tolerance on various subjects as his jokes are meant to promote social tolerances in the country regardless of the differences. He affirms that in his profession, research, audience profiling and the knowledge of the environment, play a fundamental role in keeping the audience entertained.

Ntando perceives comedy as a political and social advocacy tool and he believes that, “Humour is a soft approach to tackling serious issues and if used well, it can build peace and understanding.”

Michael Ndiweni

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Michael Mdladla Ndiweni (35), is a socio-economic activist, who is passionate about human rights. He is a leadership trainer, animator, facilitator, blogger who has extensive experience in development work and has served in various organisations, local and outside of Zimbabwe. Michael is currently the Executive Director for Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA). He is a trained in the use of Methodologies of Adult and Popular Education ( animation and facilitation).

As the Executive Director for BVTA, Michael highlighted on some of the challenges being faced by informal workers. He proffered that, informal workers are affected by the lack of policies that recognise the informal economy, absence of policies that ensure provision of social security, for instance, pension schemes or medical aid schemes designed for the sector and the criminalization of the sector. He added that, the informal workers also face various forms of harassment from different entities.

Due to the aforementioned challenges, the BVTA has played a key role in the promotion and empowerment of the rights and wellbeing of informal traders. In that capacity, BVTA has completed an informal sector research and advocacy project which was commissioned with the help of NUST under the institute of Development studies and Faculty of Built environment.  The major aims of the research is to provide through leadership and understand institutional complex of the informal sector, understanding dynamics and probing city planning design.

BVTA aims to socially and economically empower the informal vendors. They provide leadership and advocacy training for their members. They trained 1500 informal workers, from the 29 Bulawayo Metropolitan wards, on social and economic rights, and they have also set up structures/ platforms for the informal workers to share their experiences and support each other. As the BVTA, they have represented informal workers whose rights have been infringed upon in courts and they even won some of the cases.

Brighton Ncube

img_4758.jpgBrighton has served as a Social Media Manager for various Artists and Organisations in Bulawayo. His credentials include, formerly reporting for the My Bulawayo Online newspaper, blogging and managing the Public Relations post for Bibliotech Libraries, serving as a Traffic correspondent for the Skyz Metro Fm radio station’s breakfast and drive-time shows and he also worked for the ZIFM radio station as the Bulawayo Traffic correspondent.Brighton Bafana Ncube is a young creative writer and he currently serves as the Media Officer for the Youth for Innovation Trust, an organisation that advocates for development through social innovation. He is driven by the sheer passion of telling his story and chasing other stories that will motivate and impact positively on the lives of the fellow youths. He is also an activist, journalist, a qualified voice-over artist and a social media manager.

An avid dreamer, Brighton is always in search for opportunities and this has seen him volunteering for various organisations as he believes that volunteerism is an amazing opportunity that opens doors for those with an insatiable hunger to succeed and make a difference within their communities. He recently joined the Bulawayo times, a community initiative focussing on Bulawayo, run by Urban Culture and he is a presenter for the show Anything Musical, a show under the #Asakhe Online platform. On the importance of volunteerism, he noted that, “Voluntary work has opened many doors for me and it is an imperative aspect for giving one experience, in moulding and shaping one’s career path.”

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