An interview with Tafadzwa Sharuanga the New Media Officer at Magamba Network.
When did Magamba get off the ground?
Magamba Network was formed in November 2007. It was an idea that basically started from home at Tudor Gardens when Samuel Monroe aka Cde Fatso teamed up Tongai Makawa aka Outspoken to create Magamba Network.
What circumstances created Magamba?
From what I gather from the founders of the organization they viewed 2007 as a period that lacked necessary platforms for freedom of expression. So this necessitated the need to create an organization that caters for the creation of spaces for freedom of expression or alternative ideas.
Who plays the leading roles?
Since 2007 the Magamba Network has expanded from being a small organisation run by two people, to an organisation with nine people all filling different roles. The founders of the organisation still play the leading role in this set-up.
And your vision?
Magamba Network has a vision for a free Zimbabwe where citizens are liberated to express themselves artistically through different media. Also I would say creating platforms for expression and raising awareness across the nation.
What kind of programmes are you currently implementing?
Magamba Network we can now describe itself as a technology, new media, activist and art organisation. Within that definition I would start off with Zambezi News a satirical comedy show on politics, sex, social and economic life in Zimbabwe. It is structured as a parody of ZBC TV and since we only have one television station in the country the show is creating an alternative voice to the national broadcaster.
On the other side we have B.theMedia which is a community journalism project focusing on social media, training of citizen journalists and the creation of online platforms. The project has resulted in the creation of Kalabash Media with now over 15 contributors from B.theMedia training. Under the same project we have Izwi blog for young school going kids from the High Glen district. The project has been expanding into other towns like Gweru and Bulawoyo through mini Hub Unconferences that have been recently hosted in those towns. We also have community events and concerts project, which give emerging artists an opportunity to showcase their socially relevant messages. Due to the polarisation of the media sometimes artists with socially relevant messages are not given enough coverage so the project creates an alternative platform for them. Magamba Network also facilitates networking and collaborations between local and international artists through the artist agency programme.
We also organise the Shoko Festival, which is a celebration of all the aspects that are under the Magamba Network in one event. The four-day event comprises debates, comedy, art and music concerts. This year’s theme for Shoko Festival is: Re-Inspire Re-Imagine.
Through our artists agency programme we have managed to link up with Agencia from the UK and the partnership has created a network between local and international artists. We have also managed to send some local artists to Senegal for an event. The upcoming Shoko Festival we will be a major highlight for the year as expect to expand our programmes and partnerships.
Are you fulfilled by your work?
Artists created Magamba Network and most of the people I work with here are artistically inclined. So we are very much fulfilled with our work. Our passion for art drives us.