Up close and personal with Ritah The Thought

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Eneritha Mufara (EM) is an amazing creative with her hands in several artistic and charity projects. She speaks to NewsDay Features & Lifestyle editor Phillip Chidavaenzi on her work and other initiatives. Below are excerpts of the interview.

ND: How did the name Ritah The Thought come about?

EM: My name is Eneritha Nyaradzo Mufara and so Ritah comes from my first name. A lot of people struggle to write and pronounce my full name, so I made life easier.

ND: And what was the inspiration behind it?

EM: The Thought formulated itself in my spirit about eight years ago when I started working with an old friend from Gabon on an online radio station. I had to think on what I wanted people to know me as. I wanted the name to represent me holistically. It is a poetic name and I want to provoke people’s thoughts whenever they encounter me. They may not remember my face but they may remember The Thought’s words. It is a brand I carry with humility.

ND: What does music business, events planning, management and hosting and community development through the creative arts involve?

EM: Music business and events management may involve setting up a record label, managing artistes and headliner bands, music publishing, creativity, popular culture and identity, communications, social media marketing, traditional and digital marketing, distribution and music law, sound engineering, music production and live and digital events creation.

ND: That is a full plate. What is the significance of it all?

EM: That means we play in the fields of creating events; plan, manage and host them, blogging, entertainment production, content management, grooming, merchandising creative arts delivery platforms and monetising the creative industries, thereby creating employment and teaching everyone who is involved with us how to and why they should give back and develop their communities socially and economically.

ND: Have you personally done some projects in all these areas?

EM: Of all these I’ve been involved in production of music which is still under wraps. I’ve planned and hosted events such as a book launch for a locally-based Russian poet recently. I’ve organised and managed artistes’ rehearsals and grooming for various events. I have planned and hosted music album launches.

ND: You also have the Ruby Pearl support project. What does it do and how did you come up with that idea?

EM: The Ruby Pearl Project is a psychosocial support project that engages and helps young adults to deal with psychological and social needs. Ruby Pearl is unique in that it aims to address mental, emotional and spiritual problems, situations and experiences concurrently. Our support system encourages, promotes and supports expressionism through creativity. I am a young adult myself and a single parent living in a society that has not been friendly to my needs economically, which, in turn, affects my social relationships and my mental and spiritual health. I’ve worked and acquainted with a lot of people, artists included, with so much potential but there are hindrances to their progress in various areas of their lives.

ND: What is the scope of the need given the socio-economic challenges Zimbabwe is going through?

EM: We need to live holistic, fulfilled lives to be productive for our communities. We honestly have carried the painful economic years of Zimbabwe. We are coming from a background where we have not been equipped to think like pioneers in order for us to come up with innovative ways to solve problems, both present and future and take ownership of our lives, of our natural resources.

ND: Why do you think expressionism through creativity is important?

EM: Especially in the African context, expression of emotions has been stifled and restricted. We often paint a physical image of perfection, of wellness, of macho and yet we are bubbling and boiling inside. We often don’t realise the damage that we cause to our inner self and our sub-conscious in the process. We go through different types of trauma and we shut them up in little envelopes and post them at the back of our minds’ filing system. Like every box or filing cabinet or room, we fill up. The result becomes spilling and oftentimes the spilling comprises the resultant negative character, attitude, emotion and ultimately negative energy.

ND: And how does art come in there?

EM: Expressionism is an art form that expresses emotion more than reality through poetry and painting. However, we are including drawing, singing, dancing, human sound production that is screaming, shouting, crying, ululating, whistling among other ways. It is therefore important as it is an outlet and a safe space to bring out one’s emotions towards healing one’s mind.

ND: You are currently reading for a music business degree. How do you juggle all these responsibilities?

EM: I believe everything I do is connected and work hand-in-hand. I’m practising what I’m studying and that helps. It almost becomes a bit easier juggling the responsibilities. I’ve also learnt to prioritise things over time. I still am learning and that helps a lot. A lot of luxuries have fallen on the wayside till they can be afforded. Ultimately, I’m studying what I love and am passionate of. Family support both immediate and extended has been great.

ND: Can you share with us the Thought Sessions?

EM: The Thought Sessions are an exciting urban culture event and platform that promotes and nurtures both up-and-coming and industrialised artists not limited to musicians, writers, performers, poets, dancers, skaters, fashion designers and retailers, arts and crafts, food and drink. The Thought Sessions work hand-in-hand with The Ruby Pearl Project creating the creative art platforms through its events, particularly The Healing Sessions where we come collectively to talk, share and express creatively.

ND: What inspires your poetry and music?

EM: My emotions with a sprinkle of nature inspire my poetry which I then occasionally turn into “music”. I insist on calling it poetry on rhythm.

I have a sound engineering certificate which I combine with my DJ skills and work with willing young music producers to create the “music”.

ND: In which genre would you say you are stronger?

EM: I am a strong willed person and I tend to put my all in whatever I do. I guess time will tell where my strength extremely lies. I guess I’m still young and still learning.

ND: How can people connect with you?

EM: Through my social media handles @ritahthethought @rubypearlproject, Facebook: Eneritha Mufara , FB page: The Thought and Twitter: @LitahKsage