Third Culture Factor : Zimbabwe’s untapped creative gateway to the world stage #PlotCast

Third culture kids or third culture individuals are defined as people who were raised in a culture other than their parents’ or the culture of their country of nationality, and also live in a different environment during a significant part of their child development years. Zimbabwe has and continues to experience a mass exodus of its citizens to other countries with UK, USA, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Australia and Canada being some of the biggest destinations.

#PlotCast on Monday | By Plot Mhako

Some people moved with their families, some built new families in the diaspora and they have created their own sub-cultures and communities, however many remain connected to Zimbabwe through music and the arts. How has and will this impacted the creative arts and culture? What are the opportunities presented by this global movement?

The Zimbabwean diaspora occupies a major and strategic place on the global entertainment space. A number of people of Zimbabwean descent have been making big moves and impact internationally, oftentimes without much recognition, mention and support back home. Some prefer to do it silently.

You will literally find a Zimbabwe at major creative and cultural industries corporations and spaces such as advertising, architecture, visual arts, crafts, fashion & textiles, design, performing arts, music, photography, film & video, computer games, radio & TV, writing & publishing, heritage and finally, software/electronic education.

The community, artistic & entertainment players in Zimbabwe often treat the Third Culture Individuals as outsiders, with some form of contempt, relate with them in a transactional manner and at times close the door on them. I have heard countless narratives.

The present and future demands collaborations, synergies and cooperation on professional levels.

On the other hand some from the diaspora may perceive or treat creatives based in Zimbabwe not on an eye level.

We have thousands of creatives who relocated from Zimbabwe. Then there are those who were born and are being raised outside of Zimbabwe but connect to the Zimbabwean heritage through either or both parents. Third culture kids! They have their own culture and global perspective. Most of them are super exposed to the world of today and functional economies. A great percentage of these young people have never been to Zimbabwe, do not speak local languages but they proudly identify with the country.

They yearn to connect with their motherland, heritage and culture.

Like Ghana is doing, Zimbabwe needs to pro-actively engage, be more welcoming and supportive towards its Diaspora community and the creatives. Synergies between the two can be the magic that the creative and cultural industries in Zimbabwe need to navigate the global stage. However there is a need for a serious mindset shift, a change in approach and professional handling of business.

We are seeing hundreds of Zimbabweans doing great things across the global entertainment space. Artists like Qounfuzed, Anatoria, Shingai, are breaking new ground by making an impact back home from the diaspora. That is no easy fete but it needs more local support (from the media, promoters, artists, fans and the corporate).

Imagine the level of untapped potential if this mass community possesses?

Zimbabwe maybe poor financially but the unique, untapped narratives and cultures we have are of massive value if well exploited and explored.

The changes have to be reciprocal meaning artists leaving Zim to perform in the diaspora need to spread their wings beyond the Zimbos communities with the aid of the Zimbabwean diaspora. On the other hand when the diaspora artists come to Zim, the locals need to engage beyond wanting a collabo and a quick gain but build long lasting, legit relationships.

Nigeria‘s Afrobeats got a global push with strategic help from its diaspora.

This applies to all facets of the creative industry. We can do it! We need to unite and push as a collective.

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