My Editorial for the New WIN-ZIM Double Issue
Welcome to 2021! It is appropriate for WIN-ZIM to start 2021 with a double issue, coming out close to the end of the second month of the year. As you can see, there has been a lot to cover, a lot to reflect on, and a lot to look forward to.
It wasn't easy to navigate the roller coaster ride that was 2020, and the uncertainties of last year have continued into the new year, but there is hope as science continues to make inroads into ways of handling the pandemic. This trying season has tested our resilience as humans, and has made us reflect and project, and in some cases, we have found it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially because we didn't have quite a handle of what the tunnel looks like. But for artists, especially we poets, writers, playwrights, what has the year meant for our work?
For me, 2020 meant less writing of new projects, but a reflection on past works, as well as some planning for a post-pandemic future of creativity. I found that the present was too illusive, but still there, the present within which my work should find its roots, a present that at times seems too slow, at other times vanishing fast, a present loaded with uncertainty. But hope was always there, hope retained through the idea of community which seemed threated by "social distancing", a terrible term that somehow benefited community.
I have watched with great optimism the proliferation of community through alternative means, means which have become the norm. Platforms like Whatsapp, Zoom, Facebook, YouTube have helped us avoid the damaging effects of misnamed social distance (if it were up to me, I would settle for 'physical distancing!'). WIN-ZIM, initially just as pandemic-threatened as any other organization that thrives on collaborative, in-person initiatives, has found strength (to the extent that strength was possible) in social media. This time has opened up other ways of staying connected, and with this level of connectedness, I have seen resilient writers who have continued to share their works on social media, and especially on our WhatsApp platform.
Believe me when I say that there are signs of growth. As this double-issue shows, we are at a time when the influence and reach of the association is expanding. We have a bigger membership, and we are launching collaborative projects that benefit our writers. The JAC/WIN Scriptwriting Project is one example of what the future holds for us. We are also headed into the direction of disappearing boundaries, as through this pandemic, we have discovered that our connectedness is critical in what we do, and that geographical boundaries are unnecessary obstacles. Through technology such as Zoom, WhatsApp, Facebook Live, and others, our collaboration could go beyond the boundaries of Zimbabwe, of Africa.
I am aware of the connectivity issues that we sometimes experience, and of challenges that may make us prioritize livelihoods over data bundles, but I also urge every artist to consider their art as important as other sources of livelihood. My focus this year as a creative is to educate myself on the business of my art, on understanding monetization, and on connecting with networks that enhance my success in these pursuits. I want to see WIN-ZIM playing this role of empowering its members through projects that help them better their livelihoods. For this to succeed though, the membership has to be invested in their works and in the vision of the association. To use pandemic parlance, "Together we can make it."