Supporting arts, culture for community value

Kudzie Kayz

Businesses in the fintech industry, together with non-profit organisations, can support local arts and creative spaces as a way of activating the community's creative spirit while improving their own brand visibility and driving the development of Cultural Creative Industries (CCIs).

This was demonstrated when Sofar Sounds Harare partnered with online payment platform Paynow - Topup and Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe (MCAZ) on their second live concert, which took place at First Floor Gallery on April 29.

“There is an appetite for creative experiences in this community, and this represents a potential for growth and partnerships,” said Paynow - Topup managing director Vusi Ndebele.

Paynow - Topup is a local online payment gateway and one-stop platform for online payments in Zimbabwe.

It is fully integrated with Visa MasterCard, PayPal, mobile wallets Eco Cash, Telecash, and the switching platform Zim Switch.

Sofar Sounds Harare focuses on curating memorable music experiences through intimate concerts held in unique spaces and destinations around the city of Harare.

According to organisers, their aim is to create lasting memories and provide a platform for local musicians to showcase their talents to a broader audience.

“The curators delivered on the promise of an unforgettable experience of getting lost in the music and sharing the joy with other music lovers in a unique and intimate space,” said Ndebele.

“It's a beautiful concept.”

Ndebele said there was room to create partnerships and collaborations with other organisations that share a similar appreciation.

“For example, Sofar Sounds (global) has partnered with card scheme operators in other parts of the world to offer exclusive benefits to eligible cardholders such as seven-day presale access to select Sofar concerts and a free ticket with purchase offer,” he said.

“The technology to facilitate this is something the fintech sector keeps adapting.”

Ndebele said the company is embarking on new and relevant ways to complete online transactions. POS2U, their newest payment option, is a POS machine delivered to complete online transactions with a swipe machine, while Gift Cards are ready payments without the hassle of not having enough credit to transact. Pay with Mobile Banking is another of their newest payment options.

 “In an innovative space like Paynow, you should always expect innovative and creative ways to make payments easier and more accessible to both businesses and our citizens,” he added.

The concert brought together music followers from various backgrounds to enjoy an afternoon of live music with a unique perspective of the city.

Among those in attendance were Taremeredzwa Chirewa, the director of the Zimbabwe German Society (ZGS), board member Makomborero Muchemwa and Melody Zambuko, the country director of Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe (MCAZ).

“Any programme that nurtures and develops new musical careers is always worth our respect,” Zambuko said.

“It is in tandem with what Music Crossroads stands for. The Sofar Sounds programme goes a step further to be curated in a unique and intriguing manner; a secret venue, a secret program and a strictly invited audience are all factors that made the whole experience fascinating for me.

“The fact that it is also a part of an international program also helps with sharing of ideas and best practices. I absolutely fell in love with the whole concept.”

Music Crossroads Academy plays a crucial role in supporting the development of the music education sector and the music industry in Southern Africa.

Through its academies in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, they empower young musicians by providing them with affordable and innovative music education programs that equip them with the necessary tools, skills and opportunities for a successful career in music.

Initiated by global youth music network Jeunesses Musicales International (JMI) in 1995, the academy has gone on to nurture local acts such as Nasibo, African Destiny and Mokoomba to name but a few.

The partnership will see students and alumni from the college showcasing their musical abilities through live performances at every concert hosted by Sofar Sounds Harare.

Curated by local creative Khumbulani Muleya, Sofar Sounds Harare is part of a global collective of music curators and artists putting together intimate live music experiences in unique spaces.

It debuted in the country in December last year.

The line-up of artistes who performed showcased the diversity and talent within the local music scene.

Kudzie Kayz, an actor, guitarist, singer, session musician and MACZ alumni, brought his unique blend of Afro- Jazz music fused with indigenous African sounds and contemporary urban styles to the stage.

The artist recently released a 10-track album titled Mavambo.

Zowa, ‘The Man of The Mountain’, a country folk-rock musician added another dimension to the concert with his acoustic-driven, introspective melodies alongside his band Vatatu.

He recently announced his new music video for the song Memory taken from his live record The Trinity Sessions. The track is poised to be a soundtrack for an upcoming cinematic project yet to be announced. His song Runyanhiriri - Venus Rising, will be his second release from his upcoming E.P titled Conversations - The Prelude.

Victoria Falls-born Afro-soul singer-songwriter, Cinginkosi Ncube, contributed her soulful vocals and heartfelt lyrics. ‘Cingi’ was part of Magamba Network and Accountability lab’s A Voice2Rep's Final 10 Artists for the 2021 album and residency. She was a top 3 finalist on The Cre8ive Challenge TV Game Challenge Show.

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