Comrade Fatso introduces Shoko Festival

Society & Culture | By Comrade Fatso, Activist | 19 May 2013
PHOTO: © Baynham Goredema

The art form that has grown in Zimbabwe while many others have suffered has been poetry and spoken word which actually, the spoken word movement did not really exist here until the early 2000s. And our idea is it not just being about poetry and not just about hip hop but about all facets of urban culture that are progressive. So that’s why you will see we've got, we will have the social media reporting going on, tweeting, blogging about the festival in real time.

We'll be having artist debates, about the role of artists in social change. We'll be having a conference here; we'll be having workshops and many other things happening from you know, from graffiti to DJing. To give you an idea, tomorrow we are officially opening the festival and that’s going to be with an artist debate at the Book Cafe called Out for a Change - The Role of Arts in the Struggle for Social Justice. We gonna have on the panel, we'll have Akala, representing the UK, we have Timothy Mwaura, the ghetto poet from Kenya, Florian Gaag the leading hip hop documentary maker from Germany.

The Shoko Conference will have have some fantastic cutting edge talks delivered by the artist to my right and various others. Cutting edge talks on social media; cutting edge talks on film; cutting edge talks on hip hop, spoken word and social change and the idea is to also try and help inspire and probably inspire artists that are here in Zimbabwe you know, activists that are here in Zimbabwe, film makers here in Zimbabwe to be able to share ideas, to see what’s happening outside, to see what’s happening inside the country, to see how we can build and move forward. So, artists who will part of that conference, you can see on the programme it also does include Tumi, we'll have Tumi from Tumi and The Volume flying in for the conference from South Africa, one of the biggest hip hop acts on the continent. We'll have Brad Williams coming in from South Africa, leading hip hop/entrepreneur/producer, coming in from South Africa also for the conference and various other speakers.

We will have Leana Jackson also, who is there on the camera, whose just came in from the US, she's representing Normadic Wax which is a fantastic global urban media production company from the US who on the one hand, on the music side produce and promotes a lot of global urban hip hop and on the media side, produce award winning documentaries, so far they've done a democracy series, democracy of Dakaar, democracy on Haiti and democracy in Paris, all about the role of youth and hip hop in bringing about positive social change in societies. So Leena will be here giving a talk also at the conference on Friday.

We've got social media reporting happening which is a joint initiative between our network Magamba with Kubatana, Zimbo Jam, Zimbabwean Pictures where there will be live blogging, tweetting, social media reporting going on and live training of youth who are interested in social media. There will be random graffiti happening on the walls, there will be some fantastic urban culture stalls here, Zimbabwe's leading urban culture designers. We'll be exhibiting clothing and yeah, that’s basically how we envisaging the festival. 

When you see the different names of the venues it’s because we have taken over the Alliance Francises and renamed it. We have colonised the former coloniser. For those of you who didn’t study history, France did not colonise Zimbabwe but we will change history nonetheless.

So, I think that’s about  as much as I can say.  I would like to thank all our partners who've made this happen and there has been, the slogan for the festival is Make It Happen because that’s what we gotta do, we gotta make it happen. We would like to  thank our partners POVO, Culture Fund, CPA, British Council, Zimbabwe Alliance, Zimbo Jam, Zimbabwe Germany Society, Normadic Wax, Alliance Francises, Pamberi Trust , MM and Trust Africa.  If I’ve left anyone out please see me afterwards.  We'll put a free banner on Outspoken for the duration of the festival.