Zimbabwean creatives have been taking over the world, making sure that their foot prints are vividly left in the spaces that they operate within. The likes of Black Panthers Danai Gurira, Into the Badlands – Chipo Chung, The Wendy’s Show – Makho Ndlovu, Actress Sibongile Mlambo and Abomama Actor - Leroy Gopal, have been pushing Zimbabwe across the globe, making sure that upcoming talent can draw inspiration from them and should know that anything is possible. Here are some of our favourite emerging Zim Creatives that are bringing a refreshing and mind-blowing approach to practicing their art forms.
JØY (Singer / Songwriter)
Joy Roselyn Rukanzakanza artistically known as JØY displays a long history of learning, growth & upward trajectory in her expertise, knowledge, and experiences in the music industry. JØY’s initial foray into the world of professional recording was with the hit single "Shingirira'' which she collaborated on with the multi-award-winning producer Skaiva. The single, which she recorded while in high school, was nationally acclaimed and heavily rotated on both local and regional stations. Early this year, she released her debut song NEW DAY featuring Award Winning Musician – KiD X, followed by another single ROSES produced by SAMA Nominated producer – Murphy Cubic. The colorful tapestry of her music reveals itself in the multi-genre offering in her upcoming debut album MATTER-MORE-FOR-SIS, which curates a story of discovery, longing, heartbreak, and healing, fusing alternative sounds of reggae, neo-soul, pop, funk, and hip-hop.
Hulio Draws (Graphic Designer & Illustrator)
19-year-old Nyasha Warambwa, also known as Hulio Draws has taken over the world of graphics by storm, appearing on New York Times Square, creating art works featuring the likes of Drake, Tory Lanez, Young thug and Chris Brown. Hulio specializes in vector and rasterized art and is particularly skilled in adobe illustrator, photoshop and procreate He has been active on the online art scene for about a year now. After creating a fan art piece of Chris Brown, Hulio received a DM on Instagram from the Award-winning musician, who later invited him to design the official cover to his song titled “go crazy remix”. Following the death of legendary rapper DMX, Hulio Draws did a tribute piece featuring Nipsey Hussle, Chadwick Boseman, Aaliyah, Tupac Shakur and Kobe Bryant, a piece which received a lot of attention from international platforms such as XXL, REVOLT TV and being reposted by Snoop Dog and Timbaland. His unique selling point, is always having a Zimbabwean flag hidden in his pieces.
Long John The Comedian (Comedian & Actor)
Born Learnmore Mwanyenyeka, Long John The Comedian is an award winning Zimbabwean stand-up comedian and actor who is the winner of the 2019/2020 National Arts Merit Awards Outstanding Comedian, Savanna Comic Choice Awards’ Pan African Comic of the Year and People’s Choice Award winner in Steve Harvey’s Stand Up Spotlight competition. Standing at over 6 feet, Long John has brought past experiences, observations and his view from the top, to comedy, making sure audiences are left laughing and rolling on the floor. Since making his comedy debut in 2012, he has since performed with and alongside the biggest names on the African continent and performed in over 25 cities across 15 countries at various TV Shows, theatres, comedy clubs and festivals. Most recently, he has been seen on Comedy Central Africa’s Virtual Comedy Bar.
Ashler “The Mixologist” Jaya (Drinks/Lifestyle)
With over 11 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Ashler Jaya is a leading creative and entrepreneur in the growing cocktail making industry in Zimbabwe. Her affiliations and endorsements from different global brands both online and offline has secured her a seat as a frontrunner in Zimbabwe’s bespoke beverage industry. Her roots in the beverage mixing industry date back 2014 when she worked at Florida’s Frenchman’s Creek Golf and Beach Country Club, where she had practical experience of bartending which she had studied as part of her overall degree. Her affinity for the craft grew when she returned to Zimbabwe and she then decided a year later to start The Mixologist, which is now a household name in the hospitality industry. The brand offers basic bartending services, mixology services, cocktail classes, content creation and recipe creation services for both corporate and private events. Brands like Jameson Whiskey, Koovha Beverages and Delta Corporation have all hailed her work as a trailblazer in the industry and Jameson dedicated 2021’s World Bartender Day to Ashler.
Braydan Heart (Reality TV Personality, Film & TV Director)
Born Danny Mehliseli Moyo, 27-year-old Braydan Heart is a Reality TV personality, visual effects artist, editor, film and director who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Motion Picture Medium from Cape Towns’ AFDA School of Motion Picture Medium. While in Cape Town, Braydan worked for post-production studios such as Platypus Studios and Sanchez Labs, working on commercial adverts for brands like Volkswagen South Africa. On moving back to Bulawayo in 2018, Braydan started a production company called Heart FX Studios which produced the Post-Apocalyptic Short film – 18 Months Later that premiered at Ster Kinekor and won Best Narrative at the 2020 European Film Festival Zimbabwe. He is the brains behind Zimbabwe’s reality tv show – Being Braydan, which focuses on his life and those of his friends and family. The show is currently in its second session of production. Additionally, he is the Executive Producer, Director, Editor and Lead Actor of the upcoming Zimbabwean soapie – Soulmate.
Plot Mhako (Creative Director)
Award winning Creative Director, Arts Journalist, Social Entrepreneur and creative rights activist – Plot Mhako is a founder of several organisations and projects with interests in the arts, youth and media. With his platform EarGround, Plot has amplified a lot of new creative voices from Zimbabwe and across the African continent. He also runs a youth cultural organisation called Jibilika, which promotes dance, hip hop and various creative elements for social impact in Zimbabwe through innovative cultural programming. With this initiative, he has successfully run Step Up to HIV a dance and music project that engages young people in schools and communities in promoting an HIV and AIDS free generation. Plot is also a co-Founder of initiatives such as Kuenda Productions, Mafuwe International Festival of Dance, Zimbabwe Hip Hop Summit, ZimDancehall Summit, Pabodzi Music Conference and Skate Zimbabwe. Mhako believes that the future of Zim creatives in a global scale lies in the country’s untapped, authentic narratives, history and traditions.
Michelina Chindiya (Fitness Enthusiast, Lifestyle Influencer & Financial Advisor)
Better known as Miss Chindiya, Michelina is a young professional woman who loves to work out and has 5 years’ experience in the financial services sector. When she isn’t busy guiding high net-worth individuals through bespoke wealth solutions to strengthen their financial journey, she’s inspiring young women like herself to take control of their health and wellness. After having gone through her own weight-loss transformation during her university years, she has been on a dedicated fitness journey for the past four years. On the fitness side of life her hard work has seen her work with blue-chip brands such as medical aid provider CIMAS, as an ambassador for their groundbreaking iGo wellness campaign. She had the incredible opportunity of working with Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet for the 2020 edition of their Vic Falls Marathon, which was held virtually for the first time in its history. Her portfolio involves being an economic contributor for BBC UK, BBC Africa and Bloomberg. Miss Chindiya is the ambassador of a charity organisation called the Daisies Foundation that aims to provide a multidimensional intervention to period poverty in Zimbabwe and empower the girl child.
Chrispen Nyathi (Actor)
Known to Mzansi Magic’s – Diep City viewers as Pastor Charleston, Chrispen has always had a strong passion for acting at a tender age. He reminisces his child hood in Zimbabwe being one that took him from one place to another and changing schools frequently. In 2019, he moved to South Africa to continue his education and would partake in Behind the Blazer, a project he would do after classes and led to him bagging acting appearances on series such as Aksi Spaza, Binnelanders and Accused. Responding to Mandla N’s Black Brain Pictures quest for new faces, Chrispen auditioned online for Diep City, a show which he was later cast in as Pastor Charleston, an illegal Zimbabwean immigrant who believes that he has a lot to offer and achieve in South Africa. In the show, he is casting alongside Rhythm City’s Mduduzi Mabaso, Isithembiso’s Hamilton Dlamini and Uzalo’s Dawn Thandeka King.
Fungai Muzoroza (Fashion Designer)
Born in 1998, Fungai holds a BA Honours in Fashion Design from the Anglia Ruskin Cambridge School of Arts, UK. At the age of 7, she already knew that she wanted to be involved in fashion and she would design clothes for her Bratz dolls. In her teenage years, she would design and make clothes for her friends and family, leading to her pursuing fashion at tertiary education and starting her fashion brand Fungai Muzoroza, which started as a university portfolio and another brand FungaixRufaro, which she co-owns with Rufaro Kaukuwere. “I always used to dream of making it big abroad until I realised that Zimbabwe has a lot of untapped potential which would never be recognised if we as Zimbabwean creatives took a back seat and allowed western concepts to take over” Inspired by Kimora Lee Simmons, Natai Natai, Haus of Stone and Diane Von Furstburg, amongst many, Fungai also dabbles in styling, interior design, graphic art and fine art. She has worked with Award Hip Hop Act – Takura and the sensational Tamy Moyo.
Cozy Scott (Photographer & Visual Artist)
22-year-old Scott Mutasa, known to many as Cozy Scott was born and raised in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo. The 22-year-old highlights curating for the international Kodak Professional platform in 2021 as one of his biggest highlights thus far. Driven by science and mostly dirty gritty stuff, Cozy Scott photographs fashion, paranormal and still life settings. His works in photography and visual art have managed to help him secure partnerships and works in countries like Germany, USA, France and Italy. He aspires to shoot international fashion campaigns and short films that spread awareness on mental health, capturing individualistic differences and Afro-Futurism.
Davina Mavuwa (TV Host)
Davina might be in IT by profession, but she has been passionate about travel and the arts since she could remember. The well-travelled panelist of DSTVs Honey – The Buzz was born in Harare and had the opportunity of living abroad in places such as the USA and Canada. On joining Honey TV, Davina indicates that she has always wanted to be on TV and everyone around would say that she is so dramatic, something that works perfectly for television. On The Buzz, Davina is known for speaking her mind and being authentic to herself. Early days, she remembers feeling pressure to wearing wigs and conforming to certain standards of beauty on screen, which she later ditched and started wearing her natural hair, something that resonated with viewers at home. The Buzz which is comprised of South Africa’s Anele Mdoda, Kenya’s Rachel Mwangemi, Nigeria’s Pearl Umeh and the DRC’s Zanna Katoka, brings real, honest, heartfelt, jaw-dropping and witty conversations to viewers at home.
Written by Gilmore Tee