POVOAfrika Trust has launched the Musicable project, an innovative empowerment programme that will help people with disabilities in the music industry to record their work and access markets.

POVOAfrika Trust has launched the “Musicable” project, an innovative empowerment programme that will support People With Disabilities in the music industry in recording their work and accessing markets. The current project will focus on women with disabilities in the music industry.

Musicable is funded by the Sound Connects Fund, an initiative by the Music In Africa Foundation (MIAF) and Goethe-Institut. The Sound Connects Fund is made possible with funding from the ACP-EU Culture Programme, a project implemented by the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and funded by the European Union (EU). The Fund is also co-funded by Goethe-Institut and Siemens Stiftung. 

Musicable will capacitate artists with disabilities by facilitating access to home recording tools. The project will also empower artists by linking them to mainstream markets through mentorship programs with established artists. The mentorship program will culminate in a collaborative song between the mentor and mentee.

Vuyo Brown with her mentee Sithandazile Gumbo

Raven Duchess, Pauline Gundidza and Vuyo Brown will mentor women artists with disabilities, Jacqueline Mpofu, Chipo Muchegwa and Sithandazile Gumbo, respectively. Musicable will run in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare between 19 June and 15 September 2023. It is part of POVOAfrika Trust’s increased support to communities that are often excluded from significant opportunities across Zimbabwe.

According to the United Nations, Persons with Disabilities include those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

As part of the project, Musicable will produce a documentary of the journey shared by the mentor and mentee. The short film will highlight the challenges faced by artists with disabilities and how they work to overcome them. The documentary will be complemented by capacity-building workshops that will bring together artists with disabilities, industry professionals and leaders within the arts and cultural sectors.

Raven Duchess with mentee Jacquiline Mpofu

The workshops will go beyond documenting the challenges to providing practical solutions for the artists. Soneni Gwizi, a woman with a disability who is a well-known Disability Advocate and award-winning communicator, is the Project Advisor and will be facilitating the workshops.

Musicable is not POVOAfrika Trust’s first involvement in music-aligned projects. In 2014 and 2015, POVOAfrika Trust released SpeakSing Volume 1 and 2 compilation CDs which featured spoken word and songs from up-and-coming artists in partnership with HIVOS.

In 2021, POVOAfrika partnered with Music in Africa Foundation on #16WomenVoices as part of MIAF’s Music in Africa Live initiative. The project consisted of live performances by female musicians tackling themes ranging from ending violence against women to celebrating women’s rights. In the same year, POVOAfrika published a literary work, Sokunge (As if), documenting works and articles by Masimba Hwati.

In 2022, POVOAfrika Trust produced Nehanda Reimagined, a project that sought to write Mbuya Nehanda back into the Zimbabwean memory. Nehanda Reimagined was a collection of essays, short stories, poetry, academic articles, drawings, paintings, prints, photographs and other depictions of one of Zimbabwe’s most influential female protagonists.