There is a Zimbabwean saying which explains why when a new born baby’s palms are always curled up. In Chishona it is said “mwana anozvarwa akapfumbata chipo chake” which when translated means when a child is born he/she has their gift/talent tucked in his/her palm. Everyone has a gift or talent that is unique and makes them an original being. Some people’s quest to find their gift or talent there can be numerous hurdles waiting which question the gift or talent.
Through many discussions with a variety of creatives Keith Zenda’s story stood out and I believe there are many valuable lessons to be learnt from his life experience. He discovered his talent when he was in fourth grade and he would draw classroom charts and also in text books.
For an individual to thrive in any career path, they require a good support system and cheerleaders who constantly believe in the dream inside the dreamer. Unfortunately for Zenda, his parents didn’t recognise his talent at this young age because they believed that he had to concentrate on his education.
“I was not very good at school but they forced me to do it anyway. They believed that art is just a poor career choice,” said Zenda.
Zenda is married and he said that his family gives him the space to work and they don’t bother him much when he is busy painting. It is vital to have support as it helps boost confidence and increases the strength to achieve set goals. Those with support thrive more than those with none and I am pleased to know that Keith family supports him very much and that all his children are interested in art as well. It indeed goes on to show that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.
“From the moment I picked my brush, I knew I wanted to live a good life, to be rich, to drive, to build my dream house and I have achieved all of that. My biggest dream was to have an art centre and that’s what I’m establishing now and here I mentor young upcoming artists,” he said.
He chose the location at the art centre in Lower Gweru at Makepesi business centre because he wants to support rural talent since he also grew up in the rural areas. It was hard for him to find exposure in art thus why he also wants to give a chance to other rural youth and people who have the talent.
“I want to discover and expose them to the art world from that grassroots level. A few of them are appreciating art and they are believing, so I’m doing workshops to make them believe that they too can make a living and survive through art,” says Zenda.
Some of the perks of art is travelling and showcasing one’s artistry on a regional and internal stage. This is Zenda’s life and he has travelled a lot meeting various people and this gave him an opportunity of networking with tourists as well. Besides painting Zenda, composes music and dreams of becoming a good singer.
“So I create my art to attract people to love art because it is the responsibility of the artists to market our art and show the world, business sector and other consumers. I believe that more platforms must be created to nurture individual talents in the arts. Also refurbishment of the council infrastructure would be a good start so that there is the space for artists to be creative,” said Zenda.
The dynamics of creating a painting, sculpture, script, design, song or poem are similar and revolve around a creative skill which already exists within. The passion, determination, commitment and hardwork invested in both sports and art may seem similar but the process of creating requires much inspiration.
An upcoming event meant to showcase artists in Midlands shall be hosted by Keith Zenda which is the Midlands Province Visual Arts Workshop which will be held on Saturday 28 May 2022 from 09.00 to 16.30hours at the Art Studio and Gallery at Makepesi Business Centre in Lower Gweru. The workshop is aimed at showcasing and selling artworks, mentorship and networking.
Zenda said, “This is a lifetime opportunity given to us by the Director of National Gallery of Zimbabwe Mr Raphael Chinovava Chikukwa. We need to appreciate such an opportunity.”
He also encouraged all Midlands artists, to prepare for this event, and these artists include those who do sculpture, crafts, painting and drawing.
Zenda also said: ”What I can advise is that when you are doing something do it wholeheartedly and in art it’s all about practice, passion and persistence. Most people are part time artists, like a side hustle but art is a business. Art is not just a hobby. So I’m saying when you are doing whatsoever you are doing don’t give up. Keep on doing it and spend more time doing it until you win it. You know we have one life and you have to use it wisely.”