The Man, The Passion, The Vision- Plot Mhako: An Emissary For Zimbabwean Arts

A true visionary is how best you can describe him. A man with a great zeal for the arts, striving to take the local creative industry to a whole new level. An Arts Journalist; the Founder of Jibilika, a non-profit organisation for the Arts; and the mastermind of earGround, an Online Media Platform for creatives… Plot Mhako is the real deal, a bona fide devotee to the local Arts and Creative Industry driven by his vision to see the industry develop into a fully functional one, one that has a value chain, structures, systems, measurable impact and above all, one that protects and promotes the interests of the artist and creative. Guided by the principle, “Stay humble, stay hungry, and never stop learning”, Plot knows exactly how to walk the talk, and we are all inspired to follow suit. This is his story……

Can you briefly tell us about your background and your family?

I was born in Madziwa, Shamva to a family of nine. I spent much of my childhood moving between Shamva and Glen-View in Harare. I have three kids, two boys and one girl.

Growing up we all have that one person who motivates and influences us. Who influenced you when you were young?

I was motivated a lot by my late uncle Ashwet Masango who was an amazing creative and intellectual.

Plot Mhako is all about the Arts. Where does your passion for the Arts stem from?

I grew up surrounded by a lot of music and it was very diverse. My siblings consumed various genres from Reggae, Hip Hop, RnB, Sungura, Country, Rhumba, Di Gong and many others. I loved to watch a lot of TV and both radio and television fascinated me in a major way. This is how I became curious about wanting to know and be involved in the creative process behind what we heard on Radio or saw on TV. In my neighbourhood we had several Dancehall Sound Systems like New Generation, Storm Fire, Mafia Luv. This environment fueled my passion and interest for the arts. Then when I enrolled for my secondary education I met two friends who were budding artists and together formed a band called City Boyz. We did a few recordings that never really took off but the process gave me a glimpse into the music industry and I fell in love with it. At form four in 1999 I had my biggest initiation when I was chosen to work for the first edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

This was a mind blowing experience that lingered on for several years until I finally decided to start my own project Jibilika in 2007.

As an Arts Journalist, what is your vision for the arts industry in Zimbabwe?

My vision is to see the arts industry in Zimbabwe develop into a real functional industry. One that has a value chain, structures, systems, measurable impact and that protects and promotes the interests of the artist and creative.

You’re the founder of Jibilika, a non-profit organisation. What inspired you to form the organisation and what is the aim?

I was inspired by two things, the dance movie You Got Served and the amazing young dancing talent I was seeing in my neighbourhood of Glen-View.

As the founder of the organisation what are some of the challenges you have  faced?

The biggest challenge was acceptance by the dancing community into the dance industry without being a dancer myself. I had no choice but to deliver good results and this helped us overcome. Funding was also a major setback, it took us five years to secure the first sponsorship. We overcame by not stopping.

You’re also the man behind earGround, an online arts media platform. What is the purpose of the platform? What inspired you to create it?

earGround is a new media platform for creatives seeking to give space and amplify new artistic talents. The integrated digital platform documents, profiles & celebrates mainly Zimbabwean artists, creative projects from music, dance, theater, literary, visual art, film and other artforms whilst also generating important issues. The need to document our creative narrative and promote new alternative artistic voices and talents that were struggling to get space in the mainstream media space was a major driver for me to create earGROUND.

What do you love most about your work as an Arts Journalist?

I love stirring conversation, telling stories and engaging with people. In the process I keep learning and getting enlightened on various issues. Also I get to connect with artists from across the globe.

If you could upgrade one thing in the arts industry, what would it be?

I would upgrade the education. There is such a gap that has to be filled so that our industry can match up to the rest of the world.

What three places in Zimbabwe would you most like to visit?

Strange enough I have not been to Victoria Falls, Kariba or Great Zimbabwe. I am ashamed actually because I have travelled the world but not visited these three.

How do you usually spend your spare time?

I listen to a lot of music, read the news and watch documentaries.

Your Top 5 favourite songs that will never get old?

1)Wagona Fani _ Oliver Mtukudzi

2) Ruva Rangu – Pied Pipers

3)Mutadzi Ngaaregererwe – Leonard Dembo

4) Chiwoniso Maraire – Nhemamusasa

5) Ilanga – True Love

Which old school local artist/actor would you have loved to meet and why?

Paul Matavire – His lyrical genius and defiance of his visual impairment.

What are your goals for the next five years?

Setting up a creative hub in my Village. I have already started the project.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given that you can share with us as well?

Stay humble, stay hungry, never stop learning.

 

 

 

By:Chido Kakora

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