PERSPECTIVE is a project that encourages artists to develop fresh content that highlights social issues. Umuntu, the digital production company behind the project, offers an alternative African narrative. It combines augmented reality and music to criticize the state of “our past, present and future” in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Umuntu-founder Dennis Rwafa explains in a video Hivos produced, “No one ever asks a young artist: ‘What do you think? How do you feel?’ Young artists in popular music don’t talk about difficult issues. But that is what we were encouraging them to do. We told them: ‘This is amazing art and you’ll see people will relate to it.’” And they did. Under PERSPECTIVE, ten videos were produced. Some of those attracted as many as 10,000 views on Facebook, Umuntu’s primary platform. The attention led participating artists to expand to new audiences, including festival performances in Zimbabwe and around the continent.

Umuntu’s work was supported by a grant from the Hivos program R.O.O.M. The experience Umuntu gained during our collaboration has given the company confidence. They have now branched out to other endeavors, including securing funding and pre-production work on a TV show. Rwafa: “The dream for Umuntu has always been the same. I love to see it as a pan-African millennial content company.”

From the Umuntu Sessions: T.Shoc’s Wild One:

Watch more videos from the sessions here

About R.O.O.M.

Hivos’ Resource of Open Minds Program (R.O.O.M.) supports the creative work of a new generation of artists, makers, musicians and critical content producers around the world who strive for openness and lead the resistance to shrinking civic space. R.O.O.M. provides financial support for the production of work and safe online and offline environments where they can create alternative narratives, question the status quo and imagine new realities through their practice.