Please tell us about yourself?
My name is Thembelihle Terry-Lynne Zulu I am 24 years old this year. I was born into a family of 7 comprising of 2 brothers and 4 little sisters. I went to Petra High School and I am currently doing Journalism and Media Studies at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST.) I am Public Relations at Khura Arts and Freequa. I love the arts and have successfully dabbled in most of them and only failed at one – singing. I am passionate about women’s issues and the empowerment of the youth.
What is the name of the community outreach project you involved in? And what is it all about?
Khura Arts is a talent agency based in Bulawayo this was founded in November 2012.It boasts of vibrant talented artistic youth. This includes singers, dancers, actors, models, designers, poets, writers, lyricists, scriptwriters. Our provision for several talents increases job creation.
Khura Arts has also partnered with Proudly Zimbabwean Foundation to conduct what we are calling the ‘Bin-It Bulawayo’ clean-up campaign. In this initiative, we will be conducting several clean-ups of the central business district and later down the line we plan to go into the communities to conscientize the Bulawayo people about ‘separation at source’ mechanisms and waste management as a source of income.
When did it start? What motivated you to start this project?
Khura Arts was founded in November 2012 by an all-female admin of eight namely Cherish N. Ntuli, Rozalliny Munemo, Heather Dube, Tash Manzungu, Sdumie C. Moyo Sifiso Mabhena , Sandiswe C. Bhule and myself. As a highly artistic admin, we had faced many obstacles pertaining to the arts industry, exploitation in the guise of “getting exposure” being the major one. The arts weren’t very profitable and this had led to the brain-drain which saw many young artists either abandoning their talents or moving to other countries.
What is the purpose this project?
Khura Arts aims to raise the standard the arts industry as a whole. This will be achieved firstly, through introducing young blood to the scene. More players in the industry will lead to diversity and healthy competition amongst artists. Secondly, we will claim, groom and package young talent to a never-seen-before, cut-above-the-rest standard which we are referring to as the Khura standard mainly because it’s a first of its kind.
Our dream is to build an artistic haven that is a force to be reckoned with. Our top priority is to make sure that children are no longer exploited in exchange to exposure. The arts must ultimately end up as viable career option by 2016. Over and above the afore mentioned , Khura Arts is Proudly Zimbabwean and will produce talent that Zimbabwe can be proud of.
What do you want to achieve with project?
The main objective Khura Arts is to mediate between the youth and their respective art disciplines. Talent is available in Zimbabwe and the children just didn’t know where to start looking for opportunities. Khura Arts is now that stepping stone upon which they build their careers.
Khura Arts wants to bring up the next legends like Oliver Mtukudzi and Lovemore Majaivana. We want to instil a sense of ‘Proudly Zimbabwean’ in the minds of young artists. Musicians that sing about things that are relevant to us on the ground.
How one can get involved in the project?
We have a strong online presence on several social networks. Aspiring models must bring a mock portfolio, djs/musicians bring demos, poets/actors bring 2min video clips of themselves in action and then we take it from there. Everybody is invited, without discrimination, these pre requisites are just to help gauge where the individual has strengths and any possible weaknesses. We wouldn’t be Khura if we accepted already made talent. Our differentiating factor is that, we don’t just manage talent, we build from scratch. Our doors are always open, like dreams, we know no limits.
What were some of the challenges you faced as a young person starting your own project?
It’s thoroughly time consuming. It is hard enough to carry your own dream, worse an artistic dream in Zimbabwe, but now to carry other people’s dreams as well. The funding is also quite tricky especially in terms of being in alignment with registration instruments and starting capital. We were fortunate enough to be considered for the Kurera Youth Loan from CABS bank. Although the wait was long.
How has the journey being like so far?
The journey thus far has been exhilarating but highly rewarding. Carrying your own dream is hard enough but we are carrying the dreams of many. My own endeavours have had to take a step back but it’s no sacrifice at all. I’ve always believed that a real artist is one that can inspire others so based on my understanding I am on course.
The fact that we are an all-female admin has opened us up to a plethora of problems, indecent proposals being at the top of the list. Gender stereotypes and patriarchy coming up close in second place.
How has the community benefited from the project?
Khura Arts is a blessing to businesses as well because not only do we provide the top of the line human resources, but we have a highly creative team that is more than capable to come up with fresh, cutting edge advertising, both print and video adverts. The talent we represent is well looked after and has been protected from dodgy contracts and ‘opportunities.’ The talent is there but they just needed a little grooming.
With the Bin-It Clean-up campaign, we have managed to mobilise several entities to buy in the cause. This will lead to a cleaner city. From there, we are going into the communities to teach the separation at source mechanisms and to create a sense of ownership of the area they live in. Many people don’t realise that a living can be made from waste management. There are vendors that create curios out of cans and melted down plastic.
What has been some of your biggest achievements yet?
By far, my biggest achievement so far has been the honor of being publicist to awesome talents such as Oasis 8, Powerhouse, Building Your Origins (BYO), Rebirth Dance Crew, Hurricane Dance Crew, Michael ‘McPotar’ Mupotaringa, T-Wanda, Tammy Jubbs etc. They say those who can’t teach, but I can’t sing so I publicise.
What do you think are some of the challenges facing African youth today?
That’s a no-brainer Trace Tv is the biggest challenge being faced by African youth today. Girls want to be a bad b*!+h and boys want to be “guap” right now. Girls are putting up pictures of themselves in their bathrooms looking trashier than working girls and their faces all done up worse than a clown at the circus. Skin bleaching is on the rise in the quest to be the highly coveted ‘yellow bones.’ I dream of a world where, as my friend would say, when girls say, “On to the next one,” they aren’t talking men.
Currently young girls in Africa are indulging into marriages (#Y4CARMMA), due to poverty and less opportunities of empowerment, and it is a challenge that we as young women have noticed and want to take up this task and empower women not only in Zimbabwe but in Africa. Girl empowerment and opportunities are other difficulties that young girls are not exposed to.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
In 5 years I will be 29 and leading a vibrant Arts company that would be far ahead of any possible competitors. Helping the youth turn their dreams into reality. I would also like to have an advertising agency, a soup-kitchen for the homeless and my very own art studio for when I retire. Khura Arts would have branched into all stages of production, not just grooming talent but actually retaining the talent and not passing it on to other agencies.
What would you like to change about Africa today?
I would like to contribute to the development of Africa and raise pride in our continent. Africa is a great continent but it is portrayed largely in a negative light in the media of other continents. I would like to show how great a continent this is and how brilliant its people are. Through Khura Arts I intend in promoting African culture and changing negative perceptions concerning African culture. I want Africa to be independent from western culture.
What advice do you have for young people who want to start their own project?
I won’t lie, it’s not easy. Firstly, you got to make right with God and ask him what his design for your life is. When you are in alignment with his will. What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. I firstly say for every project to work out, action, commitment and result are the ingredients, dedication and timeline targets is the cooking and focus and faith of hard work will serve a hot fresh dish of success.
How can other youth connect with you?