An enterprise aimed at encouraging members of the African diaspora to visit Zimbabwe is fast approaching, with over 100 events scheduled to take place throughout the month of April nationwide.
ZimThrive, a month-long initiative, running under the theme Homecoming, falls in the month that the southern African country also celebrates 40 years of independence.
While the country has faced turmoil for the last two decades, Mildred Mujanganja and Mike Tashaya, who formed the apolitical initiative, believe that, now, more than ever, is the time for Zimbabweans overseas to unite and help rebuild the country through positive engagement, investment and promotion through tourism.
Ms Mujanganja said: “The homecoming initiative is part of highlighting the positive things about Zimbabwe and showcasing it as a destination of choice for 2020 and beyond - encouraging an integrated reunion with family and friends, as well as for re-engagement and regeneration.
“The organisation has also been formed as an opportunity to endorse Zimbabwean talent through music, art, film, theatre, fashion, business masterclasses, seminars and workshops.
"More so, to promote both local and international businesses, as part of a wider international project, that aims to create future collaborations between various industries both locally and on a global level.”
Zimbabwe, once recognised as the 'breadbasket', was one of the most culturally rich countries in Africa. Until 2000, the country exported wheat, tobacco, and corn to the wider world, especially to other African nations.
The country is also known for its natural resources which include coal, gold, chromium ore, asbestos, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium, tin and platinum group metals.
Event set to attract international stars and media personalities
The unique event is set to draw audiences from all over the world, including musicians such as former Noisettes frontwoman Shingai Shoniwa and Burna Boy.
The event will simultaneously raise ZimThrive’s strategic efforts to get the Zimbabwean diaspora across the globe to return to Zimbabwe and help rewrite the country’s narrative through the promotion of various social and business events in the country, as well as collaborating with a wide range of business, social and community organisations to bring music, art, fashion, business and tourism expos.
The organisation recently ran a campaign encouraging Zimbabweans to bring a friend along to experience the country as more than just a tourist.
The Friends of Zimbabwe campaign is aimed at promoting the rich culture and tourism in the southern African country.
Mike Tashaya said: “ZimThrive is intended to encourage diasporans, especially Zimbabweans and their friends, to be part of a historical initiative that will develop beyond 2020.
"We hope it will open up new doors for Zimbabwe to the rest of the African diaspora, and that will be part of wider project that helps rebuild a nation that has not been thriving for sometime."
Named as one of the world’s 24 destinations to visit in 2020 by Bloomberg, Zimbabwe, has seen a positive rise for the tourism industry, with the sector recording growth of 6% from 2, 422 930 in 2017 to 2, 579 974 in 2018, grossing close to US$1, 4 billion. Tourist arrivals are expected to reach 2,940,000 by the end of 2020.
Noteworthy events taking place
ZimThrive organisers will host an official reception that will announce all the events and activities that will be taking place in the country. A number of strategic stakeholders will be invited.
The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA), which is celebrating its 10th year will be hosting a milestone ceremony that will honour both local and international figures and businesses who have contributed, not only to the countries that they live in, but who have also played an integral role in promoting Zimbabwe abroad in their respective sectors.
Conrad Mwanza, Chairman of ZAA said that he was delighted to be part of the homecoming initiative that is celebrating 'everything Zimbabwean'.
The awards ceremony will take place at the picturesque Elephant Hills resort in Victoria Falls on 10 April 2020.
Other events scheduled to take place in April include, the International CEO Eatout which is promoting women empowerment. The event is set to drive awareness on the social inequality of homelessness in Zimbabwe and provide a platform for interaction, as well as fundraise for various charities that they work in conjunction with.
Zimbabwe Unplugged, Enjoymoregolf festival, Kitesforpeace family fun day and Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) and Miss Zimbabwe International will be hosting events.
All schools, colleges and universities encouraged to participate
The ZimThrive organisers have also launched a school reunion initiative and are calling all education institutions in Zimbabwe to come on board and host reunions at their respective schools.
The campaign is a wider public initiative to encourage both local and international alumni to work closely with their former schools, and to help boost engagement in the education sector. This includes creating international programmes that afford students the opportunity to travel abroad on placements and for them to learn from alumni through workshops, seminars and other integrated schemes.
Meanwhile, travel and tour packages are now live and include exclusive stays at renowned hotels and lodges in Nyanga, Victoria Falls, Kariba and more. Some packages also come with guided tours for those wanting to explore some of the country’s popular tourist sites.
Meanwhile, sponsorship opportunities are available and details of the packages can be found on the ZimThrive website.
ZimThrive has now become an event that has attracted various partners and stakeholders, including the Rainbow Tourism Group and Tann Law in the UK.
Other partners include, Loma Media, Nehanda Radio, Capitalk, Star FM, 3mob, Nyaminyami, Power FM, Senditoo, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, Catou and Hazel Herrington.
For all calendar events visit https://zimthrive.com/events-calendar/