"In a world apart from the UK I found humanity, peace and love. Nowhere else on this planet have I ever felt such a dynamic welcome as the one that I have experienced here. The UK media's portrayal of situations in Zimbabwe over the years left me wondering what I should expect and I am glad to say that any pre-conceived misconceptions I may have had of the place were quickly diminished..." - Sam Reynolds
It is the Makakoba Project that brought DMS all the way to Zimbabwe; a project organised by Ruth Daniel of AGENCIA. The Makakoba is a UK based organisation working internationally to harness creativity for change, part of Agencia's prgrammes include Change The Record whose main aim is to set up cultural spaces in some of the oldest and poorest communities around the world, encouraging social change for impoverished people that would not otherwise have a creative outlet through national governments and local councils alone.
With the support of clothing brand FLY53 a team of people including musicians Martyn Ware of Heaven 17, hip-hop legend Rodney P, along with Manchester’s Fallacy and Aniff Akinola set off with the momentum to help drive the mission forward. The Makakoba Project is situated near the town of Bulawayo in the southern part of Zimbabwe , A six hour, 430 km drive away from the capital Harare. Makakoba is one of the oldest and most highly populated regions of the country and upon arrival we were greeted by swarms of locals all eager to come out and introduce themselves and clearly excited about the prospects of the project within the local community. In the following days the UK artists collaborated with local talented musicians, singers and dancers; there were workshops set up on cooking with local women in the community, as well as ensuring that many in the local community were given clothes and brand new footballs kindly donated by Puma and the travelling team.
Supported by 10th District Music, the Zimbabwe Alliance and TrustAfrica the project was able to embrace the diverse talent of the regions many artists, to create a truly exciting and moving album. Recorded at Inqwe studios with a host of local Makakoba musicians including AU, Phar-I, AWA and Psykotek, all of who went on to perform at Shoko Festival in Harare.
The collaborative project has had strong emphasis on staying true to your roots and really wanted to expose the world to the vibe of Zimbabwe's people, making others stand up and listen to the real feel of this culture. From Bulawayo to Harare the Makakoba project has laid the foundations to create a sustainable education programme through music, with the aim for a University of Manchester accredited course to be taught by local people for local people . The course will be free to those who wish to take part and the objective is to help develop the diverse musical talent, providing stepping stones for the youth who might otherwise struggle to realise their true potential as artists in their own right.
There is still a long way to go to really get things into motion and realise the whole project, with the studio equipment and instruments ready and waiting the next stage is to raise enough funds to build a fence around Thabiso Youth Centre, an empty building in the heart of the township where the future of Zimbabwe's youth can flourish with the help of the community. If you wish to contribute please go to www.gofundme.com/7D2SA0 and please spread the word and help change the lives of talented, beautiful people in a community that has been neglected for far too long.