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Groundbreaking women shattering barriers in Zimbabwe’s Immersive Media landscape

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE), a gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.

Groundbreaking women shattering barriers in Zimbabwe’s Immersive Media landscape

In the heart of Harare, Zimbabwe, a remarkable group of women is blazing a trail in the realm of immersive media. Led by the visionary Siza Mukwedini, Matamba Film Labs for Women is a beacon of empowerment and innovation, providing a platform for female storytellers to explore the boundless possibilities of augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), virtual reality (VR), and extended reality (XR).

by Plot Mhako

Their journey is nothing short of epic and inspiring. In a region where access to technology is often limited, Matamba Film Labs for Women has created a nurturing space where women can acquire the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in the ever-evolving world of immersive media.

This week, Matamba Film Labs for Women launched the inaugural Matamba Immersiv Festival, a landmark event that has attracted the participation of tech developers from across Africa. The festival serves as a showcase for the groundbreaking work being done by women in the field of immersive media, and provides a platform for collaboration and exchange. The main show is Nakhodha and the Mermaid, by Mozambican Yara Costa Pereira who takes us to her village virtually as we explore their story of preserving their culture in the face of rising tides and climate change.

The festival was officially opened by Dr. Biggie Samwanda, Director in the Ministry of Sports, Arts and Recreation. In his remarks, Dr. Samwanda praised Matamba Film Labs for Women for their commitment to empowering women in the creative industries.

“Matamba Film Labs for Women is a shining example of what can be achieved when women are given the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said Dr. Samwanda. “Their work is not only groundbreaking, but it is also deeply inspiring. I have no doubt that they will continue to make significant contributions to the development of immersive media in Zimbabwe and beyond.”

The festival is showcasing work from three women who were part of the Matamba incubation program supported by the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe, funded by the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe. Their produced work has inspired many Zimbabweans that it can be done. This program was also supported by Kenyan XR giant Black Rhino VR through their Moran StoryLab for Women.

One of the highlights of the festival is the DESIGN FUTURES LAB, an intersection of technology, sustainable fashion and design. The prototype designs on exhibition were designed by six teams of twos made up of South Africans and Zimbabweans. This showcase was made possible with support from British Council Zimbabwe, Electric South, CROSSOVER, Twyg and Korokoza

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In addition to their day-to-day production work, Matamba Film Labs for Women is also committed to equipping the next generation of storytellers with the skills they need to succeed in the digital age. During the festival, the Tweens Masterclass, for those in-between Primary and High School takes place. Supported by the Zimbabwe German Society Goethe Zentrum Harare, the children are taught to make an interactive t-shirt  that they can augment using their phones. A tech guru Mbangiso Mabaso from South African Sisanda Tech has been teaching them. Their flagship project, the Future Femme Filmmakers Lab (FFFL), brings together women creatives from across Africa to learn about cutting-edge storytelling methods in AR, VR, MR, XR, animation, and gaming.

The work of Matamba Film Labs for Women is a testament to the power of creativity, innovation, and determination. In a world that is often dominated by male voices, they are carving out a space for women to tell their stories and to shape the future of immersive media. Their story is an inspiration to us all.”

Festival Partners: Irish Embassy Pretoria, Hivos, Zimbabwe German Society. Culture Fund of Zimbabwe funded by the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe, British Council, Electric South. black Rhino XR, Prime Virtual Reality, Imisi 3D, Axis Solutions Africa

Made by Kuda (MADE IN ZWE)
A gift to Plot Mhako and the earGROUND vision.
Truly, for the culture.

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