The power of storytelling & content…

(Photo by Katerina Holmes from Pexels)

Stories are incredibly powerful…The power of a single story goes far beyond simply relaying facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They give colour and depth to otherwise bland material and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Because I believe in the power of stories, I took a bold leap and started The Story Untold ZW with the help of family and friends. This blog post is to detail why we exist and how we are positioning ourselves.

Who is telling stories in Zimbabwe?

Whether you love or you hate Western culture and its prevalence around the globe, one thing you have to appreciate is that “the west” has invested heavily in telling stories. They’ve done so and people from all over the world have fallen in love with their culture. European and US Film industries have received government subsidies and in the US, studios actually get Movie production incentives — tax benefits offered on a state-by-state basis throughout the United States to encourage in-state film production.

The big question for me in regards to film (and more broadly content) isn’t whether African governments should do the same for content creator but just that the policy in the US and Europe reflect an appreciation of the power of stories.

Telling their story has turned into the rest of the world copying Western trends in fashion, music, art and many people outside the west have lamented the loss of their own cultures. I believe 3 things. I genuinely believe that as Zimbabwe, we haven’t told our story well enough in the past. I also believe content is extremely powerful and can change the course of our country/continent. Lastly, I believe the internet allows us to tell our story to anyone, anywhere in the world. Except, North Korea for reasons I believe we are all aware of…

“I believe we haven’t told our story well enough”…

As Zimbabweans I feel we haven’t done enough to tell our story. We have no media houses capturing the imagination of viewers like we’ve seen in Nigeria, South Africa and to a degree in East Africa. Again we have no musicians capturing global attention the way West Africans have done. You can argue the same for fashion (vs the West again) or tech (maybe, Rwanda?).

I think we’ve started to see progress in all these industries to varying degrees — and that’s because of the internet/social media.

These platforms are making it possible for Africans/Zimbabweans to control our narrative and people are starting to tell their stories. In the visual arts we’ve seen independent creators come up with Wadiwa Wepamoyo, Bamnini Nijo, and a number of other series/films that capture consumers attention. This suggests appetite for content is there.

The views Wadiwa Wepamoyo got in its first season are encouraging, especially when you consider that this was shot on a shoe string budget

Traditionally creators had a few platforms to distribute upon. For Zimbabweans, that was mostly ZBC and if you got lucky maybe you could tell your story with an international platform but what were the odds? The reach was incredibly limited.

The value of the distributing via YouTube/Social Media is that the reach of content is no longer limited by the gatekeepers and creators can make productions inexpensively and get people to watch them at minimal cost.

Setting out on an adventure…

Stepping into the unknown (Photo by João Cabral from Pexels)

What you just read above is the prefix to The Story Untold ZW. That is the gap and the opportunity we see. Because we believe there is an appetite for these stories and we have fantastic stories to tell, we took it upon ourselves to tell these stories.

Our YouTube description reads:

We have conversations with individuals who have taken the leap, followed the path less travelled & in doing so have created unique businesses, brands & stories.

Our core focus is on shining a light on entrepreneurs/creatives/artists who are doing well (or are on the brink of doing well) in their respective fields. We believe our content will act as the fuel for the next generation of Zimbabweans setting out to achieve greatness within our borders.

Another reason why content was the attractive & natural choice for us is because on a personal level we feel content provides a great opportunity. The opportunity of content is relatively straightforward to us. We make it once, but we can distribute it forever. Whilst it takes a dozens of unpaid hours for us to make the content once we’ve made it, we have something that carries value 10,20,30 years from now. That excites me incredibly and I feel that is the foundation of generational wealth (only if the content is actually any good lol)…

About the Author

Farai Mudzingwa is a content creator. You can follow the Story Untold ZW YouTube channel where he documents work being done by entrepreneurs/creatives/artists. If you find that kind of thing fascinating check it out and PLEASE subscribe.

Founder of The Story Untold ZW — a Zimbabwean media startup shining light on local entrepreneurs/creatives who aren’t getting coverage in traditional media