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Bulawayo’s Creative Crisis


Bulawayo’s Creative Crisis

Bulawayo’s Creative Crisis

In this article, we will explore the challenges and frustrations that Bulawayo creatives encounter.

Name the Bulawayo creative you thought of

Bulawayo, the second-largest city in Zimbabwe, is home to a vibrant and diverse community of artists, musicians, writers, and designers. However, despite their talent and passion, many of them face a harsh reality of being overlooked, undervalued, and discouraged by their own society. In this article, we will explore the challenges and frustrations that Bulawayo creatives encounter, and why it is imperative to support and celebrate their work. Here are my thoughts on Bulawayo’s creative crisis.


The Struggle of Being a Creative in Bulawayo

Growing up in Bulawayo as a creative is the hardest stumble that a creative can come across. This starts from family to friends to the entire community. You present your art in a city that does not engage with your work, that chooses to say something negative without the need to understand, mumble what they think without commenting it on a platform, or think about it without projecting their understanding in front of a wider audience to engage and relate, to grow a community of understanding that will help the artist to understand how their art translates to the local community.

As people from Bulawayo, we need to cultivate the culture of “your voice can be heard and your opinion matters”. Say something about anything, you have the phone, you have the data. As an artist, I do it for myself, but also for you who sees it, tell me what you think. It is sad how Bulawayo creatives are viewed as the most creative individuals out of Bulawayo, their aspirations are now making it out of Bulawayo.

What does it take to attain a superstar status in Bulawayo, be it in music, blogging, fashion, or visual arts?

We have Cal_Vin, who became highly appreciated after his death, and ASAPH, who is fading in the music scene, plus we have a lot of young singers who struggled and thought South Africa was a better move, only to be taken advantage of to work as ghostwriters, editors, or unmentioned creative editors. It is because the potential market views your art as regional standard, even if the artist is observing international standards.

Some of them will even have the audacity to tell you that you should be doing this in America or South Africa. What then begs the question is that where will I then spend my profits and inspire local talent? We need to stop being afraid of our voices and opinions.

The Causes and Consequences of Bulawayo’s creative crisis

The lack of recognition and support for Bulawayo creatives is not a new thing, nor is it an isolated one. It is a reflection of the broader issues that plague Zimbabwe as a whole. Some of the factors that contribute to the creative crisis are:

The economic crisis that has resulted in hyperinflation, unemployment, poverty, and scarcity of resources, making it difficult for artists to afford the necessary equipment, materials, and platforms to produce and distribute their work.

The cultural hegemony and elitism that has favoured certain genres, styles, and languages over others, marginalising and dismissing the voices and perspectives of the majority, especially those from the ethnic minorities.

The media bias that has ignored, misrepresented, or exploited the work of Bulawayo creatives, either by giving them no coverage, or by stealing their ideas, or by offering them unfair deals and contracts.

The internalised self-doubt and low self-esteem that has affected many Bulawayo creatives, who have internalised the negative messages and stereotypes that they have received from their society, and who have lost confidence and motivation in their own abilities and potential.

The consequences of the creative crisis are not only detrimental to the individual artists, but also to the collective identity and development of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole. By neglecting and suppressing the creative talents of Bulawayo, we are losing a valuable source of cultural diversity, social cohesion, economic growth, and civic engagement. We are also depriving ourselves of the opportunity to learn from, appreciate, and enjoy the rich and varied artistic expressions that Bulawayo has to offer.

The Call for Action and Change

The creative crisis in Bulawayo is not inevitable, nor is it irreversible. It is a product of our choices and actions, and it can be changed by us. It is time for us to recognise and acknowledge the problem, and to take solid steps to address it.

It is time for us to support and celebrate the work of Bulawayo creatives, and to create a conducive environment for them to thrive and flourish. Let’s seek out, consume, and share the work of Bulawayo creatives, and provide them with constructive feedback and encouragement. We can also pay them fairly and ethically for their work, and respect their intellectual property rights.

What are your thoughts on Bulawayo’s creative crisis?

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I'm simply an art and psychology enthusiast. I love to think, create and take a step back and be like I'm good at this.

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