By Grant Moyo
Willmore Dube, a content creator from Bulawayo is using all the necessary techniques and know-how that he has acquired over the years to better his storytelling ability.
Having been put on the right path to prevail steadily through eMoyeni Digital Storytelling master classes — a programme that brought together young Zimbabwean content creators between the ages of 18 to 35 — the desirous creative, who is involved in loads of community outreach programs, provides boys and girls with sessions solely focusing on how to be influential on YouTube, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as through vlogging and blogging.
Buoyed up by the eagerness to closely look into the psychological and social effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the normalcy of the livelihoods of masses, Dube and his peers Musa Ntaisi, Musawenkosi Sibanda and Nathan Mukasa — who are lifestyle custodians of creative activity— created a YouTube channel called Sparrows ZW.
Dube attended several educational institutions including Greenfield Primary School, John Tallach High School, Matopo High School and the National University of Science and Technology.
As a co-founder of The Sparrows — an organised movement of young men who are curators of art, music, dance, business and culture collectively — Dube is dedicated to using digital media to tell pertinent stories that depict the truth behind societal issues befalling communities in Zimbabwe and across Africa.
“Being exposed to arts and entertainment throughout my childhood and adolescence boosted my understanding of artistry at a deeper level. Due to my appreciation of various kinds of music genres I found my niche as an amateur disc jockey (DJ) who headlined people’s parties and various events.
“I credit The Believers Boppers Battle Dance Competition for giving me an insight into events management. The platform modelled me into a unique content creator who distinctly partook in different forms of content creation like photography, videography and graphic designing which eventually sparked the conception of Sparrows ZW in the midst of a global epidemic (coronavirus),” Dube said.
“The YouTube channel came into existence when my peers and I, publicly known as The Sparrows, got caught up in an online discussion in which we were weighing in on the extent at which quarantining was emotionally and psychologically draining children, teenagers and adults that lacked positive relationships and warmly friendships in their lives. In essence, our other goal was to create an online community to serve young people and everyone who is young at heart.”
Paying attention to social struggles youths face on a daily basis and helping them relate better to the outside world, The Sparrows provide young people with a fully packaged edutainment content tackling various life orientation skills.
Accordingly, helping them to identify themselves and people around them under any given circumstances, and feel deeply connected to a cause after going through the intense process of acceptance and tolerance. Dube pointed out that Sparrows ZW is also an online platform where people from all walks of life gather, find a target audience, and form a community of innovators and proponents who create positive impact both online and in real life scenarios.
“It’s more of a panel discussion where one of us takes the role of a host who leads the discussion and gives other participants turns to speak. We do it in a haphazard manner to keep it interesting, fun and more casual. To date, we have talked about identity, paying attention to how young people are being shaped by alcohol, peer pressure and the night life in pubs and clubs. We have looked into personal development, focusing on how young people can make themselves better socially and financially. We have discussed mental health, the misconception around it, its effects, and how to spot red flags in regards to depression among close friends and colleagues. Sparrows ZW has also put spotlight on love languages, dwelling on how people love and receive love, giving emphasis on the importance of valuing love for one’s family, friends and colleagues without neglect,” Dube said.
“What makes The Sparrows different from other creatives is our synergy in front of the camera, which is due to the fact that we are genuinely friends off the camera. That on its own helps us to add some uniqueness in our content. The first thing that happens when we come up with content is to get a topic, usually based on something we encountered or felt the need to address. After coming up with the topic we then go and research and also try to structure the episode. Structuring does not really work most of the time because once the camera starts rolling, we just freestyle, making it more authentic than a staged dramatic composition. We also have what we call ‘icebreakers’ at the start of each and every audiovisual. These are used to help people settle down before we unpack the topic of the day.”
The straight-from-the-shoulder content creator noted that besides talking about personalities — why people behave in certain ways and what shapes them — The Sparrows have a series called Hangout With The Sparrows, where they shed light on creatives and explore their work. Creating media artworks and performances, Dube believes that extreme poverty can be eliminated, and that the resources to end it can be mobilised if people collectively take action.
“Taking note of the fact that one of the problems millennial and generations face is poverty, we try to confront the negative circumstances tooth and nail. Learning about the systemic inequalities that fuel poverty, racial, ethnic, gender, sexual, and economic inequalities, empowers young people with knowledge that enlightens them on possible means to eradicate social ills,” Dube said.
“Therefore, preparing them to have lucrative careers and to occupy jobs that will make them more confident, gives them the chance to learn from others and allow them to earn a good living that will go a long way in laying a solid foundation that will be essential in their adulthood.
“Meaning that, in the near future when these youngsters become parents, the education and job occupations they acquired will help secure a better future for their kids. In a nutshell, using The Sparrow’s YouTube channel (Sparrows ZW) we will continue giving more power to the people through education, information, coaching and counselling.”
Amplifying the possibilities to get or create a job or commercial enterprise is of paramount importance. It helps in grooming and sustaining active and innovative global citizens, especially among the lower, middle and upper-class African millennial as well as generations.
Thinking about people that do not have positive relationships and friendships, Sparrows ZW continues to be an online platform where The Sparrows lead from the front in their capacities as proponents of positive social change. The Zimbabwean content creators vow to frequently share their energy and vibe with the rest of the world throughout 2022, so as to vividly set an example of good friendships.
- BIOGRAPHY: Grant Moyo is a prolific writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society.
- Follow him on Twitter: @TotemGrant