Updated: Oct 6, 2020
A gospel artist has been awarded funding by Arts Council England to promote and showcase 14 Zimbabwean musicians, as part of a community venture that aims to help them re-establish their music careers as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Bedford-based Sharon Manatsa will host Project Hope every Saturday throughout the month, with the first virtual event scheduled for 10 October. All online shows will be broadcast from Stellah Entertainment Production Studios, which she has established with her husband, Zex Taku Manatsa.
“I am honoured and grateful to have received this funding from Arts Council England and to be working with a brilliant group of musicians to bring a ‘project of hope’, particularly during this unprecedented time in the world,” said Sharon.
"Project Hope has put together a stellar line-up of artists, all of Zimbabwean heritage, who have a wealth of experience and creativity. We wanted to tap into that and give them an opportunity to showcase what they have been working on over the last six months.”
The award-winning artist said that the initiative is also a chance for them to promote their production studio.
“As we grow, we want to continue to provide a creative space that supports artists in the UK and around the world, and Stellah Entertainment is the start of that.”
Arts Council England is a national development agency for creativity and culture. It promotes charitable and community organisations, helping them establish the conditions in which the arts can thrive across the country. At the height of the pandemic, the organisation announced an emergency cash injection of £160 million to help artists, venues and freelancers in the cultural sector impacted by the lockdown.
Project Hope, which is also being sponsored by money remittance company, WorldRemit, will feature artists such as Green Arrows frontman Aaron Manatsa, reggae musician Mathias Julius, Tsungai Tsikirai, Kazz Khalif and Ivy Kombo.
Other artists added to the lineup include Farai and the Forest Dawn band leader, Farai Muvuti, Sungura Magic, Zizoe PaMyk, Garry Mapanzure, Olinda Marova, King Kandoro, Rudo Gombah, Matildah Tekeshe and DJ Young Chidzy.
Speaking about the partnership with WorldRemit, Taku Manatsa said: “We are pleased to be working with WorldRemit, whose innovative remittance service has played a fundamental role in a number of communities around the world.”
“Their commitment to community initiatives has shown us that we are not alone in amplifying our vision of identifying and promoting talent in the Zimbabwean community in the UK.”
Founded in 2010, WorldRemit offers a money-transfer remittance service designed to help people send money to families in their respective countries in Africa.
Meanwhile, the initiative will also feature a new single produced by Shabach band member, Jeremiah "Spirit Fingers" Mutsakani and will serve as the project’s soundtrack.
All shows will air on Zimbo Live TV, Saturdays at 7pm.