In Zimbabwe, it’s not every day you get to see street art or graffiti of any kind. Unless you count poorly spray-painted political slogans and the occasional school-boy “tags”. This is all changing now, thanks to the uber-creative duo: Marcus Zvinavashe and Nyasha Jeche. The pair have taken Zimbabwe by storm with their life-saving murals that educate citizens about COVID-19. These works of art are painted on publicly accessible walls for all to see and tend to feature prominent Zimbabwean figures.
The nation of Zimbabwe has not seen such an aggressive and well-organized approach to street murals since Mooiemur came to Zimbabwe. Mooiemur is a world-leading, Netherlands based mural, and graffiti agency. They came to Zimbabwe in 2010 and 2011, as part of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) program to beautify the city of Harare (Zimbabwe’s capital city). Marcus Zvinavashe and Nyasha Jeche: operating as Caligraph (home of some of the best Zimbabwean murals) have taken this beautification mission, miles, and miles beyond where HIFA left it. Not only have they penetrated more locations, but the self-funded duo has also taken this as a way to save vulnerable communities from COVID-19. It wasn’t long before some companies started partnering with them in this, most noble of missions.
Before all this, Econet (Zimbabwe’s leading mobile network company) had also used murals in some of its product promotions, but Caligraph is winning more hearts and walls, than any other movement that came before them. We have time-marked the video below for you to hear the guys behind Caligraph speaking to ZTN News about their murals.
As I write this post, team Caligraph has just announced that they have traveled to the Zimbabwean border town of Mutare saying, “[We are] Scouting for walls to color and paint. Looking forward to the painting session and engaging with the people.” The tireless band of creatives is on a mission to beautify Zimbabwe and educate the nation about COVID-19. From border to border.
This article would not be complete without showcasing one of the murals that Mooiemur left us with, all those years ago. If it wasn’t for COVID-19 movement restrictions, I would have gone around and photographed some additional murals within my area (from other artists, some of them are also Dutch like team Mooiemur). One of these places I would have wanted to include in my image collection is this youth centre. Lastly, here is an image from the world-renowned Dutch agency: Mooiemur.
Being able to dream and hope are two qualities that any society must never be robbed of. I would like to applaud Mooiemur, who came and worked with some Zimbabwean artists back in 2010 – 2011, and HIFA. But most of all I want us all to rally behind Caligraph as they transform the towns and cities of Zimbabwe. If you love supporting African artists, check out this article, thank you so much for reading this blog post.