There’s tons of amazing Zim content out there, you just have to find it…
Zimbabwean entertainment and content have always been in an interesting if not frustrating position over the years. Chances are, if you’re anyone born in the past 35-40 years, you maybe thought it wasn’t as “cool” or enjoyable as all the western TV shows and music you also watched and listened to, then as you grew up you realized how great it is and how much artistic talent we have, but realized you could never really find enough of it. Sure our local media channels and radio stations do their best to show off some shows , music and informative content, but those pickings always seem to be slim and often, well….one sided when it comes to certain views. But if TV, radio and some other analogue methods are your only fix for Zimbabwean content, chances are you’re going to miss out on a lot, because as we spent more time indoors this year and those of us who could spent more time online, they realized a truth that’s been unavoidable for at least the past two years now; the best Zimbabwean content is definitely found online.
Full disclosure, this is actually an article I’ve wanted to write for most of the latter half of this year, and that’s because well…. it’s sort of an obvious truth, if you look at the track record of artists and creatives of all types, you’ll obviously find their stuff on the web. These are just the basic advantages of the internet after all; a massive connected and potentially limitless space to store, market and sell your work, with an audience that can be anywhere around the world whether they are Zimbabwean or not. It’s also almost infinitely cheaper than the analogue and old school methods that would be required to create content such as having your work only created and distributed by professional studios or media houses. And in a time where a really good smartphone camera and a solid mic can go a long way in filming and recording projects, the barrier to entry for many Zimbabwean creatives got significantly lowered.
Hence the internet has become the home of the best Zimbabwean creative works, whether that be official, high-production content like home-grown shows , music and even movies , to internet specific forms of content like podcasts and live streams, to viral social media content that you could lose hours in without noticing. Add in the less politically biased and regulated nature of the web, and you start realizing that arguably the best journalistic and informative content is on the web as well.
Again, all this is knowledge that some of you may already know, especially if you have a passion for Zimbabwean content, so what makes 2020 so special? Well, let’s look at the track record that we’ve had as far as content distribution and creation this year. The early parts of the year were defined by College Central’s Wadiwa Wepamoyo, a charming little production that went from viral internet sensation to even being officially picked up by the ZBC, which might seem like a step back given the context of this article but considering this was a show made up by some young Zimbos fresh out of university, it probably gave College Central the kind of exposure that can help them gain the confidence and momentum to grow even bigger with their projects. Then there’s Cook Off, the locally produced film that had Zimbos a bit split after watching it on Netflix and yet regardless of what people actually think of it, the fact that a locally produced film could even get on Netflix’s radar was an achievement all in itself! If anything it’s the kind of boost that even more Zimbabwean filmmakers could use to gain the confidence to make and market their own work, and that bar should definitely keep getting raised.
It goes just beyond film and Tv too. Musicians have long put their work up online now, and there’s even some attempts to get local streaming services like Buddie Beats going. But even if that’s not where you’re checking out your Zim music, established streaming players like Spotify and Apple Music will have you covered. Even YouTube will do the job well for finding your local music fix, and with the sheer quality and range of musical projects that Zimbabwean artists produce now, you could easily spend days on end listening to either big established acts, or lesser known up and coming performers.
And then there’s content that’s specialized for the internet itself, ranging from YouTube shows to podcasts to everything in the middle. Mainstays like Magamba Tv’s The Week or Special Class have been great sources of quality comedy while the former is essentially a foremost source for political and social commentary as well. However, there’s even more players cropping up on YouTube, from Willard Magombeze’s Zimbabwean Love Story web series, to Just Siphosami, a China-based Zimbabwean lifestyle YouTuber who’s garnered a following across Africa and the world. You could probably make whole YouTube playlists of Zimbabwean content and chances are they could be a ZBC TV substitute for a good while.
And our personal favourite: the podcasts. We’ve already talked about our love of those here, and we’ve found even more to add on to our recommendation list. Sadza in The Morning is still a pop culture favorite for a reason, essentially being in it’s second season now after Zimbabweans here and around the world (correctly) agreed it was worth sponsoring and crowdfunded it, but there’s also The Feeling Station, another local podcast capturing the masses by focusing on that thing we all need: love. And her, we said ourselves, we love podcasts so much we started one, and while it had been a while, get ready to see a lot more of the Zimbabwean Perspectivecast and commentary on the relationship between tech and Zimbabwean lives.
As for viral Instagram, Twitter and Tik-Tok influencers? We figured we could make a whole separate article for those, but besides, you know who you follow, and chances are you follow them for good reason. For now we’ll let you dive into some of the recommendations we’ve given and take note of what’s been said. And if you’re wondering why no one has made a single source for all this Zim content to be consumed, well we’ll say keep an eye out for a future article on that. But regardless if 2020 is somehow still having you scrounge around for things to watch, listen to or learn from, we’re hoping this article helped you figure out a few more local triumphs in the creative space that you might want to check out , and that if you want the best Zim has to offer in content, well the internet is right there with troves of it.