CREATIVE HUBS NEEDS PROPS

 

By Tafadzwa Muranganwa

Creative hubs are now havens for most young innovators and can realize their full potential if they are supported by both government and the corporate world.

These sentiments were echoed by  Sean Ndlovu, co-director at Centre for Innovation and Technology (Cite) when he presented at the Zimbabwe  Internet Governance multi-stakeholders workshop organized by Misa-Zimbabwe held in Harare last week.

“Creative hubs have a potential business that needs to be harnessed as they are a place where young enterprising creatives and innovators meet and discuss ideas that can empower themselves and foster economic growth and this can be done either by the government and the corporate world chipping in,” said Ndlovu.

The young innovator challenged creative hubs leaders to craft business models that can sustain the hubs rather than depending wholly on donor-funds.

“Most creative hubs are donor-funded and this is not sustainable in the sense that when funding stops they suffer immensely, so there is the need to come up with business models that will ensure that the creative hubs sustain themselves,” advised Ndlovu.

He went on to say that at Cite they had monetised some of the internet services they offer to the community.

“For example at Cite we have already started the initiative of commercialising some of the internet services we offer to the community there but obviously at nominal fees,” added Sean.

Dumisani Nkala of Telco(internet services provider) weighed in saying there was a huge potential revenue base in the ICT sector but regulatory taxes were inhibiting the growth of the sector.

She also added that this was the main reason behind why the country‘s internet charges were among the most expensive in the continent.

Technology has seen a number of young innovators and creatives in Zimbabwe coming up with startups and other initiatives that are empowering them though experts argue that there is the need for a better enabling environment for them to realise their full potential.

It is against this background that there has been an upsurge of creative hubs like Cite and Tech Village in Bulawayo, Moto Republik, B2C Co-working Space and Stimulus in Harare just to mention but a few.

Last year Moto Republik creative hub nearly got demolished after the City of Harare (CoH) condemned the structure built of shipping containers as illegal, however, the demolition was stopped after the interventions of CoH Mayor Bernard Manyenyeni.

 

Sign The Petition: #SAVEMOTOREPUBLIK

 

On March 9, 2017, Harare City Council arrived at Moto Republik, Zimbabwe’s first creative hub, with the intention of demolishing the structure. Over 20 municipal police officers and 8 supervisors arrived at Moto Republik and without providing any court order or time to vacate the building, began to hack away at the Moto Republik shipping container structure.

Harare City Council’s damage to Moto Republik yesterday was unlawful. According to the Arlington Estate (Jean Pierre Dusabe) case, “Under no circumstances are government departments at liberty to unilaterally and arbitrarily demolish any structures in the absence of a court order authorizing them to do so, whether the structures were built without approval of building plans, or layout plans or without complying with any other legal requirement.”

The demolition was halted after the intervention of the Mayor of Harare, Bernard Manyenyeni, and Moto Republik was granted a seven-day grace period. Moto Republik is a law-abiding community building. Moto Republik has fully approved building plans from City Council and regularization fees have been paid in full. On top of this Moto Republik has various council licenses for its activities. According to council zoning, Moto Republik’s stand is not residential but located on Zone 4 B which is for a youth centre or community arts centre.

Despite this, the Harare City Council seeks to demolish Moto Republik if the structure is not removed by Wednesday, 15th March. This attack by Harare City Council is unjust and unjustifiable. As stated in the Arlington Estate case, “This is a democratic society in which such conduct, especially on the part of government department whose operations are funded by taxpayers’ money, is not justifiable”.

Moto Republik is an inspiring co-creation workspace that came about as a response to a community who needed a place to meet, work and collaborate. It has given hundreds of young entrepreneurs and creatives a platform to professionalize, network and collaborate on ideas. It is a space that provides hope, jobs and innovation despite overwhelming youth unemployment in a crippled economy. Harare City Council seeks to demolish a place that is home to artists, creative entrepreneurs, innovators, new media activists, citizen journalists, and youth activists.

We call on supporters of Moto Republik to stand with us and take action.

Help us put pressure on our elected officials. Contact the Mayor, Town Clerk, and Minister of Local Government and ask them to stop the demolition.
Sign our online petition to stop the demolition of Moto Republik.
Share your story and support for Moto Republik on social media using #SaveMotoRepublik.
Be ready. If Harare City Council moves forward with the demolition of Moto Republik on the 15th March, be ready to stand with us in solidarity to protest their unlawful actions.

Thank you to all our members & friends for the outpour of emotion & support. You are Moto Republik’s reason for being.