THE PLAGUE IN THE MIDLANDS

Numerous plagues have infected humanity in the olden days causing deterioration of their health, even up to the present day, they mourn and groan because of the pain.  Whenever an ailment attacks both fauna and flora it is certain that productivity becomes an alien unless a proven antidote has been administered. Research shows how in the quest to create an antidote components of the plague must be incorporated to help fight the ailment.
 
The Plague Arts Group is a movement aimed at infecting humanity with poetry, musical and other literary arts, it is geared to nurture, motivate, and uplift youth talent through artistic expression.

“We intend on eliminating idleness and depression that has afflicted our youth, and the dark cloud that is substance abuse” said Elder KiloBlakk
 
As one of the Co-Founders, Elder KiloBlakk, born Kudakwashe Gozo is a former insurance broker, turned poet/ social commentator. He is an unapologetic Pan African and proponent of Africanicity, a prospector & a lover of the Arts.


“I believe in the concept of Posterity, hence a deep involvement in motivating youth and thus empowering the youth through artistic expression. We must always communicate our experience for the sake of Posterity. Leave something. Perhaps even just a few words.”


Elder KiloBlakk is an apprentice Mbira maker and a Mbira advocate/ ambassador, who hopes to interest the youth of the globe in the Zimbabwean Mbira magic. His core vision and values resonates around the impact and impartation shared from one generation to another.  This is clear in the group membership where all age groups from youths, mature adults and older mature adults like himself share experiences through poetry, music showcase and production.
 
Human resources is a great commodity in every industry. It is because of a steady foundation that efficient, effective and  lasting relationships are built. The passion, determination and commitment to be productive will set apart one artist from the other.  Art is a catalyst which assists in the growth of industries through the power of expression.  
 


The Midlands Province has to date nurtured a great number of artists; musicians like Nyasha David Dengwani, music producers such as Simplex, DJ Tamuka & Oskid, business people and socialites. In as much as this is an achievement, the Midlands has become the training centre, a workshop where many have been schooled but relocated to greener pastures for that big break.

One main cause for concern is a pool of creatives with no space to exercise to express themselves. Who would want to stay in a place where there is no opportunity for growth. In their quest for better options and having a livelihood through art, they caught the first bus out.
 
Indeed there is talent especially in Gweru but there are no platforms to nurture and grow local grassroot talent. A few art groups and centres have been set up with the vision of the much required nurturing, with special mention to Ikwelo founded by Donald Musundire, The Plague by Kudakwashe Gozo and the Award Winner visual artist Keith Zenda who has established the Zenda Arts Centre.
 
The talent and passion is filled to the brim and this was evidenced by the World Poetry Day commemorations which was hosted by The Plague In the Gweru Memorial Library on Friday 25th March 2022. The attendance was overwhelming with poets from Kwekwe, Shurugwi and Gweru. There was an unmistakeable aristic vibe of free expression through poetry and music.

The Covid pandemic has brought drastic effects through the lockdowns but what is exceptional is the artists the world over have risen above the pressures, strains, depression, mental health through words, poetry, music, writing, motivation, crafts and many other forms of creativity.  Even in their lowest they find an oasis deep within their soul.
 
What has been the cause of lack of productivity is lack of resources more so the funding. The local markets seem unconcerned or simply unaware of the need to build the arts industry in the Midlands. Lack sponsors and partnerships quenches the fire of the young, determined and passionate because truth be told everyone is looking for a source of income. With the high rate of unemployment in Zimbabwe emerged restlessness in the certified graduates and youths.

Unsettled emotions due to unemployment, demands in families, economical constraints among many dire situations have pushed mostly the youth into drug and substance abuse. Art is just but one way of solving the problems which already exists but through partnerships from established entities and support from the Health departments through counselling and rehabilitation is key. Uniting for the same cause will help curb the anomalies much faster.
 


The visions and main objectives of the many arts groups in Gweru, these are to have involvement in motivating youth and thus empowering the youth through artistic expression.  When the mind is idle it can accept any available offers quickly but with such life changing lessons of life they are set for a fulfilling brighter future, for themselves and for the generation to come.
 
The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Midlands Province is working tirelessly to assist where they can but limited to a group’s decision. Every group is encouraged to register with them so as to remove the weight off their shoulder and assist where necessary as well as support their activities.  An advisor from the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe is appointed and would be in attendance for events, this was true when Madam Honour Muvhango graced the World Poetry Day commemorations hosted by The Plague.
 
The Plague movement may yet be a little germ by the momentum at which it is multiplying is quite commendable.  In no time shall everyone be subdued by its effects, and infecting with every word is the main purpose.

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