Zimfest News Blog

The Make It Grow Project

Make It Grow: Supporting community-based food initiatives in Zimbabwe to fundraise using participatory video proposals

[Posted on behalf of Pamela Richardson-Ngwenya and the Make it Grow project]

In an attempt to empower communities to alleviate increasing food and nutritional insecurity, especially during the pandemic, the Make It Grow Project has been running online capacity-building workshops with community groups and NGOs in Zimbabwe to equip participants with the skills needed to create their own video proposals, using smartphone technologies. These video proposals pitch home-grown ideas for community food projects and can be used by the community groups and NGOs as a fundraising tool. The intention is to increase the accessibility of start-up funds for implementing community-based, sustainable food projects, while at the same time building up local video-making and project planning skills.

We devise learning resources for community groups and facilitators, to support straightforward ways of enhancing the social inclusion, production and dissemination of video proposals. We also work with the United Nations Development Programme’s Global Environment Facility (Small Grants Programme) and other donors to support and pilot the integration of video proposals into their grant management and application process, making it more inclusive for all. Following the workshop series, we continue to support our participants and their fundraising campaigns through ongoing public events and online publication of their video proposals.

We are now asking for YOUR help! Please support our community partners in Zimbabwe to fundraise for their sustainable food projects by donating to their crowdfunding campaigns and promoting their videos on your social media networks. Make It Grow is a Knowledge Exchange project from the University of Sheffield’s Institute for Sustainable Food, supported by the UKRI’s Economic and Social Research Council. You can visit our website at www.makeitgrow.org.

You can see some of the participants’ videos here: Video Proposals :: Make It Grow

Pamela Richardson-Ngwenya
Project Leader, Knowledge Exchange Research Fellow and Learning Facilitator
Make It Grow

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Zimfest 2021 Updates – Workshop Registration is Open

Dear Zimfest community,

Zimfest 2021 is less than two weeks away, taking place from July 30 to August 1. The Organizing Committee has been hard at work and has the following updates for you:

  • The Festival Schedule gives an outline of activities for the weekend. Detailed lineups will be posted soon.
  • See Festival Overview for an introduction to the amazing performers and presenters who will be joining us online on Facebook Live.
  • Live Participatory Workshops will take place on Zoom; registrations are required and donations requested. Workshop descriptions, teacher biographies and a link to the registrations are here
  • The 2021 Virtual Marketplace is now open, featuring vendors and importers selling instruments and wares made by Zimbabweans.
  • Emcees needed: why not get a buddy to hold a viewing party with you, enjoy the show for a 2 to 3 hour block of time, and get paid to engage with the music together! Write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org for info. 

Zimfest mourns the loss of Gwenyambira Matemai Newton Cheza-Chozengwa, who passed away on Saturday. We extend our condolences to his family and friends, and all the mbira lovers whose hearts he touched. Enjoy the recording of Matemai singing with Rattletree Marimba at Zimfest 2009 on our homepage (lower left corner).

Zimfest Organizing Committee

Zimfest 2021: A Quilt of Local Events… Stitched Together

 

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Zimfest 2021 Village Meeting

Dear Zimfest Community,

Zimfest 2021 is now only 2 weeks away! (Friday July 30th – Sunday August 1st). Thanks to the work of this year’s Organizing Committee—headed by Claire Jones—a final schedule comprising three days of workshops, performances, and presentations will be posted in the coming days. Many performances will be by musicians in Zimbabwe who are new to Zimfest.

The last two years have required unprecedented changes to how Zimfest is structured and organized, and we hope that you will attend these sessions to learn from, and enjoy, some of the most talented teachers and performers of Zimbabwean music in the world.

In addition to attending the Festival, one of the most important ways you can support our community is by participating in the annual Village Meeting.

This year, it will be held virtually (by Zoom) from 3:15–4:15 PM PDT (08:15–09:15 UTC) on Sunday, August 1st. A Zoom link will be provided in a subsequent blog post and on the Zimfest Facebook page.

The Village Meeting serves as the required annual public Zimfest Association business meeting. It also provides an opportunity for us, the members of the Zimfest Association Board of Directors, and Organizing Committee, to hear from our community, and for you to voice your opinions about the Festival and how it is organized. This meeting is usually where the seeds of next year’s Festival are planted.

In particular, because we are planning for an in-person festival next year, your participation and ideas will be vital to putting on a safe and successful Zimfest 2022.

Finally, if you are interested in volunteering or learning more about volunteering, either as a member of the Organizing Committee, or Board, the Village Meeting is a great place to meet us and voice your support.

Looking forward to seeing you soon at Zimfest 2021!

Sincerely,

Alex Weeks
President, Zimfest Association Board of Directors

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Deadline Looming for Zimfest Performance and Presentation Applications

Hello Zimfest people new and old,

The deadline for Applications for Zimfest 2021 teachers, performers and presenters is June 30 – that’s three days from now! See all deadlines and dates here.

Please read the Information for Applicants and note:

  • We are only accepting Live Workshop applications from residents in North America and Europe as internet and electrical power are not reliable in Zimbabwe. 
  • Applications to submit Pre-recorded presentations and performances are open to everyone. You do not need to be ready with a recording when you apply – we will let successful applicants know by July 10 how to submit recordings.
  • We are arranging recording sessions in Harare for Zimbabwean applicants unable to access recording equipment themselves.

We look forward to hearing from you very very soon!

Stay cool,
Zimfest 2021 Organizing Committee

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April and May Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the April 11th and May 16th meetings of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Zimfest 2021 Applications Are Open

A quick alert for Zimfest participants:

  • Performers and Presenters Applications are now open; follow the link on the Information page. Please act fast – the deadline is June 30!
  • Reminder that Applications for Virtual Vendors selling Zimbabwean-made wares are open, with a deadline of July 10.

 

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Zimfest 2021 – How to Create Your Square of the Quilt

Zimfest 2021 - A Quilt of Local Events... Stiched Together

Dear Zimfest Family,

We hope our previous blog post has sparked some creative thoughts on how to participate in Zimfest 2021, taking place July 30-August 1 online. This post will give additional structure to our Quilt theme and answer some logistical questions.

Types of Squares: The Organizing Committee (OC) is looking for three types of Squares that we can stitch into a Zimfest 2021 Quilt.

  • Live Participatory Workshop or Presentation – Involves realtime interaction between teacher/presenter and students. Hosted on Zoom, only North American and European residents please. Duration of 30, 60, or 90 min.
  • Prerecorded Performance or Presentation – One or more songs or talks from individuals or groups. Hosted on YouTube and/or Facebook with interactive chat. Applicants may propose a cluster of performances, but each video file should be no longer than 30 min to allow the OC some flexibility in the stitching process.
  • Livestreamed Performance – One or more songs from individuals or groups, no longer than 60 min total. Hosted on Facebook Live (Zoom often fails to deliver high quality video of live music). This option should only be used by experienced hosts of livestreaming events and it would be wise to submit a prerecorded video as a backup.

These guidelines are not meant to be rigid limits, so let the OC know (oc{at}zimfest{dot}org) if you have an idea that doesn’t quite fit within them.

Focus on Supporting Zimbabweans and Expanding Participation: The online emphasis of Zimfest 2021 is an opportunity to involve more Zimbabweans than we can typically host at an in-person festival, as well as others who cannot normally travel to the festival. In the spirit of inclusiveness, we encourage proposals from all over North America as well as Zimbabweans throughout the global diaspora!

Applications and Content Submission: An online application where individuals or communities can describe their proposed Square(s) is available here, with a deadline of June 30. The Zimfest OC will select from these Squares as we do each year for an in-person festival and send successful applicants upload instructions. Videos should have a minimum resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) and be in .mp4 format. We will notify successful applicants no later than July 10 and we must receive videos no later than July 23 to allow for testing before we present the overall Quilt.

Suggestions for Teachers or Performers in Zimbabwe: Internet connections in Africa are not reliable enough for livestreaming, so we request that video from there be prerecorded. For accepted proposals requiring recording facilities in Africa and video file upload, Zimfest will cover reasonable studio and data expenses. Jennifer Kyker and Musekiwa Chingodza demonstrated in 2020 that co-teaching with one teacher live and the other providing recorded material can be quite successful, so we suggest that proposals may be based on this model.

Reduce Screen Fatigue: After 2020, we all know how our attention can wander during an online event. To avoid this during Zimfest 2021, consider having a ‘watch party’ where you gather (in a pandemic-safe way) to watch together.

Calling Virtual Volunteers: As with an in-person festival, the OC needs your help to make Zimfest 2021 a success. We need MCs to introduce videos, video editors to add captions where needed, viewers to screen submitted for quality, etc. Please write to volunteers{at}zimfest{dot}org to learn how you can help.

Newly-revised Homepage: Check out the Quilt-themed artwork and other updates at https://zimfest.org/.

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Introducing Zimfest’s Virtual Marketplace

Hello Zimfest Community,

Zimfest 2021 is instituting a Virtual Marketplace featuring vendors and importers selling instruments and other goods made by Zimbabweans. There will be no fees for 2021 Virtual Vendors, as Zimfest wishes to provide a service to Zimbabwean instrument makers and craftspeople during these trying times.

Vendors of Zimbabwean goods: are you able to carry out mail order sales and shipping, and do you have a website (or reliable email) for visitors to browse and shop? The Zimfest Virtual Marketplace on our website will help to connect buyers and sellers but will have no role in the resulting transactions.

Applications are now open for vendors or importers of Zimbabwean instruments and other wares. Go to the Virtual Vendor page for more info and the link to applications. Questions? Write marketplace{at}zimfest{dot}org. 

 

Program information and performer/presenter applications coming soon!

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Zimfest 2021 – A Quilt of Local Events…Stitched Together

Dear Zimfest Family,

What do you think about building Zimfest 2021 together, as a series of local events hosted by local communities?

Here’s the basic idea: The Zimfest Organizing Committee (OC) would stitch together local events into an overall quilt covering a traditional Thursday through Sunday period (likely July 29 through Aug 1). Local events might include in-person and/or online components (classes, presentations, or performances). Anything goes: individual events as well as community chunks of time. Attendees could enjoy one of the local festivals in person and participate in the online components during the rest of the long weekend. If this sounds intriguing, read on to learn more!

Context: Evergreen State College will be unable to host Zimfest this year (see March 17th post). Following President Biden’s prediction that COVID-19 vaccinations are going well enough to allow small gatherings by July 4th, we are hopeful that small events will be possible by the end of July. We emphasize that any in-person gatherings should follow CDC and local guidelines for masking, restrictions on venue capacity, etc.

Next steps: We want you and your community to think about how you might contribute to a Zimfest 2021 quilt. The scale of each local event could be anything from a single performance streamed online to a full half-day of classes, presentations, and performances, i.e. a mini-Zimfest. Each participating community would manage their own local events, while the Zimfest OC focuses on stitching them into the overall festival. The OC and Zimfest Board want to do all we can to help Zimbabwean artists participate in and benefit from Zimfest. We urge each local community to look for ways to involve these artists in person or remotely.

Have questions? More info will be forthcoming, but we did not want to wait any longer to share our ideas with you. For online components, we can share what we learned from the 2020 online sessions. Some financial questions such as cost for attendees, payment schedule for teachers, and potential sharing of venue costs between Zimfest and each local community are still under discussion. Feel free to reach out to the OC by sending email to oc{at}zimfest{dot}org. We plan to have an online application ready to accept proposals by the first week of June.

Together we can stitch a Zimfest 2021 quilt that will renew ties across the Zimfest community and provide memories to sustain us until we can hug, dance, and make music as one big family again.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” Vivian Greene

 

 

Yours, Zimfest 2021 OC

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Zimbabwe Independence Festival

News flash from co-organizers Amy Stewart McIntosh/Kutandara Studios and Blessing Chimanga/Dreams Marimba:

This weekend, Zimbabwe celebrates 41 years of independence! We are excited to be participating in the first-ever online Zimbabwe Independence Festival. There is a great lineup of performers (including us!) from both Zimbabwe and the US. But that’s not all! The Festival will also feature discussions, networking opportunities, workshops, a film screening, and a tribute concert to those fallen musical heroes we’ve lost.
 
Save the dates: April 16-17-18! Check out the schedule at kutandara.org and be ready to share this special time with our Zimbabwean family.
 
#ZIF2021
#onlinelivesessions
#ZimIndependence
#41years
#marimba
#mbira
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March Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes from the March 14th meeting of the Zimfest Association board of directors have been posted.

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Zimfest Updates and Events

Greetings Zimfest family,

Zimfest organizers are taking a break until April when we will know more about the COVID-19 situation and CDC recommendations.  We hope everyone who qualifies is able to get vaccinated soon as we progress towards herd immunity.

Meanwhile, we have heard from Conference Services at the Evergreen State College, where Zimfest was to be hosted July 28-Aug 2. They are remaining on remote learning through the summer and therefore will not have the resources or capability to host us in 2021. This is not a surprise, and do not despair! Many options for this year’s festival are being considered: hosting a varied menu of virtual activities ranging from group lessons to Zoom presentations to streaming performances on the planned Zimfest dates; gathering elsewhere later in the fall?; cooperating with our friends and colleagues in various locales to present a hybrid online-and-live festival featuring many activities. Stay tuned!

Here is news of upcoming events around the country and the globe:

  • From Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, OR: Ratie Dangarembwa performs as “Ratie D” on Thursday, March 25 at 7 PM (PDT) in a livestream event that celebrates the launch of her first solo album, Ink and Melodies. This event kicks off The Hult Center’s 10×10 Series, which “focuses on highlighting incredible rising artists.” Click here for a recent interview and a link to purchase tickets (only $10)! Ticket sales close at 5 PM day of show.
  • From co-organizers Amy Stewart McIntosh/ Kutandara Studios and Blessing Chimanga/Dreams Marimba: Online Zim Independence Festival April 16-17-18, 2021. Come together and celebrate the Zimbabwean people’s struggle and success in casting off their colonialist oppressors, and re-commit to connection, music, hope, and friendship together. You are invited to spend the weekend talking, learning, dancing, singing, and enjoying each other’s company through a series of online forums, workshops, and concerts.
    For more information and to express your interest in being a performer, presenter, instructor, sponsor, and/or tech team volunteer, click here and fill out the form. Please submit your response on or before March 25, 2021.

Happy (belated) St. Patrick’s Day!
Claire and the Online Cohort

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