Interview with Pride Mujoli, known as Mentor, founder of the youth-led organisation, Yellow World.
By Stine Kronsted, Dreamtown’s Urban Designer.
Mentor is a 19 years old artist from Bulawayo, the second largest city in Zimbabwe. In 2018, he founded Yellow World, an organisation that supports young artists in Zimbabwe. Mentor is, aside from being a mentor for up and coming artists, a musician himself. Both with his music and through his mentorship, he advocates for better communities, equal sharing of resources and human rights.
What is your story?
Music has been my number one dream since I was a child. I wanted to tell stories from my community through my music, something that my people could relate to. At one point, I started to realise that I could not get any support to pursue my career as a young artist. I had to pay for studio sessions myself, and since I was young and unemployed, this was simply not possible. I had to find another way of getting my voice heard, so I started doing partnerships through projects, where I could use my creativity to come up with ideas for festivals, events and so on. And then it evolved naturally. Today, I still make music, but I am more interested in mentoring young artists that encounter the same issues as I did. I want to help them get established, to create their businesses and to make them grow as artists. There are a lot of expectations for young people today, and it is very difficult for an artist to make it if they do not have guidance. I want to guide young people. That was how Yellow World came to be.
Who is Yellow World?
Yellow World is a youth-led organisation that consists of artists that work with community development through art. Our vision is simply to see a change in our communities so that we start embracing arts and culture. The organisation was founded in 2018 and has been growing for the past three years. In 2020 we were finally registered as an association with the Zimbabwe Youth Council and the National Art Council. The registration was a big step on our journey; it provided legitimacy for us, granted us permission to operate with young people and boosted our confidence as an association.
Yellow World has one clear mission; to have an empowered and innovative youth that actively participates in decision-making.
Our main objective as an organisation and as young artists is to increase the participation of young people living in less resourceful communities. We are here to create opportunities and networks for young people through advocacy and education. We want to empower young artists and cultural institutions who support youth-led initiatives through development.
One of our key concerns within the association is employment of young artists. Being an artist is a very vulnerable position. It can be difficult to make a living through art, as art is not seen as an acknowledged career path. Compared to our neighbouring country, South Africa, where young artists get support from the government, Zimbabwe is way behind. Often, artists find jobs in other sectors, and their talent is wasted. We currently have six paid employees in Yellow World, and a lot of volunteers. Through our association, artists have a chance to establish a network, meet fellow young people, and work with what they like. We want to decrease the number of unemployed artists, and we advocate for better rights for young artists.
Even though we are a young organisation, we have managed to establish partnerships with multiple institutions and organisations. To name a few, we work with House of Arts Association, the Ministry of Youth, the National Arts Council, Bulawayo City Council, Intwasa Arts Festival, Junior Achievement Zimbabwe, Magamba Network, Dreamtown and many, many more. As we have grown, we experience that almost every institution is willing to support us and to work with us. We see an increased interest in the themes that we address; acknowledgement of artists, art entrepreneurship, employment of youth and community development through art. Through our partnerships we get opportunities to raise our voices, advocating for better rights for youth and for artists.
What is the biggest dream for Yellow World?
I dream about having a space for us as an organisation, so people know where to find us. Currently, we have 75+ members, actively participating in our activities. A lot of the young people come from the streets, and do not have access to neither smartphone or computers. Therefore, they struggle to get the information about our activities. We do not want to be an association that is only for privileged youth with access to the internet, we want to be able to reach all youth groups. Therefore, I wish that we will have a youth center one day, that is made by young people. A space where young people can ease their mind, and find support for what struggles they have.
My biggest dream for Yellow World is to see the organisation moving forward, working hand-in-hand with decision makers in the government and with cultural institutions. If we continue to evolve like we have done for the past three years, we will one day grown in to a strong platform for young people, especially artists, who wish to develop their communities through art. I dream about youth being included in policy making, and being regarded as important influencers of our society.
Article republished from DREAMTOWN - READ MORE
PhotoCredits (Dreamtown C.C)