Zimbabwe can have a vibrant creative sector: Nyandoro

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Tawanda Marwizi

Zimbabwe is full of huge talent and creativity, however lack of policy and support from government has resulted in the creative sector lagging behind in terms of development, an entertainment mogul, Benjamin Nyandoro has said.

Nyandoro, who went in the entertainment sector by accident, as he had set out pursue a career in engineering noted that the Arts Minister Kirsty Coventry has a lot of work on her hands but only an inclusive approach would help the country develop its arts sector.

Nyandoro attained an engineering degree with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST. Like any other person he wanted to excel in the field until one day when he attended a Suluman Chimbetu show in the capital.

At that show, Nyandoro said he discovered a lot of loopholes that were hampering the growth of the entertainment sector in the country. This discovery immediately led to the establishment of Jive Zimbabwe, an arts organisation that has pushed a number of initiatives in the creative sector.

“When I went to Suluman Chimbet’s show, I then realised a number of loopholes though I was always passionate about the arts industry,” he said.

He pioneered the Fill up Harare International Conference Centre, a concept that propelled big album launches at the same venue.

“I wanted people not to undermine themselves and it brought artistes like Jah Prayzah to another level. He has gone on to have successful launches at the same venue. I also initiated celebrate local, a concept which was well supported,” he said.

Recently, Nyandoro teamed up with a group called Africa Innovation Trust in calling for a minister who has interest in arts industry. Now he is calling the minister to be accountable and has been encouraging her to hold an arts indaba.

Nyandoro was one of the few artistes who took note of the call by music divas and organised a Divas concert at Padziva, which was oversubscribed.

Under Jive, Nyandoro has also sought to counter piracy by launching the Jive Store. “Our flagship will be a mobile app named Jive Store. It is near completion and will be in the market soon.  We have done justice to it, I believe people will love it,” he added.

“It has been a long journey. We are operating in a country that is generally struggling. arts is affected more as it is regarded as a ‘luxury’….something you can do without. However it is possible to succeed. First we need to correct the attitude and perception around arts,” he said.

He believes  artists must first invest in what they know best, art. They must go further and participate in the supply chain. What do they spend on? That should inform what they also need to invest in.

In an effort to bring artistes together Nyandoro has pioneered another concept named One Big Party that brings players together.

“I believe One Big Party will survive through the turmoil.  It has brought artistes, established and budding, together to share experiences,” he concluded.