Award winning British musician Ruth Daniel empowering Zimbabwe's creative youth

Published: 21 June 2014 | by Janine Dube
Award winning British musician Ruth Daniel empowering Zimbabwe's creative youth
Award winning British musician Ruth Daniel and founder of AGENCIA, in an exclusive interview with OneVybe Magazine, has spoken of her international work to help disadvantaged young people to harness their creativity and make changes through creating cultural spaces.

Ruth, is:
    Winner of the Pioneer Award (artist and manager awards, United Kingdom) (2014),
    Winner of Manchester woman of culture award (2013),
    Top 50 women to watch (Cultural Leadership Programme) (2010),
    Shortlisted British Council UK young music entrepreneur (2008 to 2010).
   

AGENCIA founder Ruth Daniel working on exchange programme between Makokoba and Rocinha in Rio


The musician told OneVybe Magazine that she has used her exposure to highlight the plight of the young people in Makokoba, a high density suburb in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.

Ruth's work with Makokoba, a township that has produced the likes of Cool Crooners and legendary footballer Peter Ndlovu, started when she visited Bulawayo in Zimbabwe in January 2014.

Whilst there, she was touched by the lack of facilities and infrastructure the youth in Makokoba had access to.

There is widespread drug addiction and when Ruth asked the young people why they took the addictive drugs, they told her it was because there was nothing else to do.


One of the children pictured in Makokoba


Since coming back to the UK, Ruth started to gather some music equipment and has so far managed to get over £50 000 worth of musical gear and computers for an arts facility in the township.

Contributors, include UB40, the legendary British band Heaven 17 (Official), DMS Vinyl, PMT Manchester, Beggars Group, Lynne, Becki, Sarah, Jez, Dan, Ines, SHaron, Danny Martin, Fabrico, Ivano, Sarah, Laura and many more.


David Gleave from Sound Moves donated his electric guitar


Since embarking on the project, Ruth told OneVybe Magazine that through her links with Makokoba Healthcare Initiative, local rapper AWA and the Zimbabwe Alliance, she is working on a September 2014 festival in Bulawayo at the Makokoba's Big Bhawa.

Various performing artists from the UK including Martyn Ware, Jon McClure and hip-hop artist Rodney P! are expected to perform at the festival and record an album in collaboration with the local community.

Talking to OneVybe Magazine, Ruth pointed out that she intends to work with people who aim to have long term links with Zimbabwe and this includes filmmakers and cultural producers from the UK who will also be present at the festival.

The Bulawayo festival will be followed by a Hip Hop Festival in Harare and a professional chef will also be flown in from the UK to work with local cooks to make food for the revelers.


Young people set to benefit from the Makokoba Project


OneVybe Magazine also learned that Ruth has managed garner interest from Manchester City Football Club who are now likely to help work on a long term football programme in Makokoba.

AGENCIA is also working on a similar project in Rocinha in Rio and will hopefully link this with the Makokoba Project through an exchange programme.

Anyone interested in helping in Makokoba is welcome and it is not just through equipment but it could be through providing local services like furniture making.

Locals can help through donating in and out doors furniture, wood, paint and any general DIY equipment to create an excellent space where young people are welcome to hang out and learn about the arts.


Cool Crooners



Ruth Daniel talking about her work


For more information visit:
changetherecord.org.uk,
Change The Record Facebook page,
The Makokoba Project,
- OneVybe Magazine/Change The Record/YouTube

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