I recently managed to get in touch with the man behind the vibrant organization known as the Jibilika Dance Trust: a social enterprise that promotes youth culture for engagement and development. For those who don’t know who this genius is, this man goes by the name “Plot Mhako”. He is not only the projects director, but he’s also a social, urban arts activist.
Jibilika Dance Trust is empowering the voices of young people through innovative programming, multimedia activism, mentorship and volunteering in schools, communities and workshops on strategies and training to professionalize young upcoming artists. Their works include community outreach, dance training and civic development in an effort to expose teens and youth to new opportunities and potential livelihoods (The organization mostly focuses on positive life choices, especially with regard to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and drug abuse). I’m sure by now you must have come to the realization that this is definitely not any ordinary dance organization. Out of curiosity, I asked Plot what made him decide on starting such a great initiative and this was his response: “I started Jibilka with the goal of creating a sustainable and continuous platform to artistically empower young people interested in urban arts (mainly Dance). I had realized the non-existence of such space despite the abundance of dancing talent.”
Jibilika has been running for over the past 8 years, and over these years it has achieved quite a lot. The festival has run consistently and annually, exposing and promoting talent throughout the country. They have also managed to tour with groups regionally and internationally, going to different countries such as the United States of America, South Africa, Germany, and Switzerland. According to Plot, he says the experience has been empowering and inspiring. All the artists he has worked with and toured with have had a career transformation, and their scope, skills and judgement have been enhanced (and have remained highly sort after locally and abroad). From 2009 to 2011, Jibilika hosted the Zimbabwean edition of the international breakdance championships Battle of the Year (BOTY). Jibilika has also been privileged to work with notable groups such as Magesh, Rolx, Flip Floppers, and High Definition (just to name a few). Believe it or not, they are currently working with more than 50 dance groups across Zimbabwe. Not so long ago, they launched a community centre in the capital city’s Highfield neighborhood where they offer daily programming on various Art disciplines. Some of the well known artists that have participated in the various programs offered by Jibilika include Jah Prayzah, Shinsoman, Cindy Munyavi and many more.
With all these achievements, one would really admire the work that has been done by Plot and his team.It’s really inspiring and motivating to see them also continue to strive for greatness. Now, with all this happening with Jibilika, I recently found out that Plot is “also” involved with other youth initiatives. He’s the co-founder of an inter-continental collaborative production house titled “Kuenda Productions” which recently returned from a 2 month tour of Europe and performed at the recently ended HIFA festival. With all theses activities on his plate, I was definitely not surprised when he told me that he was selected as a one of the “30 young emerging leaders from Zimbabwe”. For the remainder of the year, Plot will be attending the Young Africa Leadership Initiative in the US, then return back home for the national Jibilika Dance Festival (set for Bulawayo on the 22nd of August 2015). He also plans on travelling to Uganda with the Jibilika dance crew for one of the biggest break dance festivals in Batalo East and then going to Germany to prepare for the next Kuenda Productions project. He is definitely one busy young man, but it’s good to know that he is busy creating a better wold in every way he can.
A few last words from this influential young man (to all the young people who want to take Dance as a profession) : “Get an education, be yourself, stay humble, train hard and be willing to learn” . Well, I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you know you’re going to be in the City of Kings and Queens (Bulawayo) on the 22nd of August 2015, then the Jibilika Dance Festival is something you should plan on attending. “Be yourself ; Express yourself ; Feel the Beat ; Find your own”.