On the Importance of Creativity

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha | On Point | @ChiefKMasimba | January 18, 2014

Creativity is an interesting phenomena, at once, intangible yet can have significant visible impact that changes the way we experience life, be it in the arts, sports, business, government etc. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines creativity as the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.

As you can imagine new ideas are not always tolerated in many societies. Many people are comfortable with keeping things the way they are. In fact, they are content doing tomorrow what they did today and yesterday. Continue reading

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Zimbabwe: Seeing Beyond Politics

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Harare, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s trajectory since it attained independence from British colonial rule in 1980, and more critically its development over the past decade has been defined by politics as if that is the only factor of life that matters.

The political approach to shaping our nation has obviously scored some successes, markedly the massive investments made into the social sector during the early years of our independence. Despite that there have been setbacks in recent years, we are still reaping benefits from this investment, albeit, many of our talented people have opted to seek greener pastures in far shores.

Looking at the trajectory of Zimbabwe, however, it’s not far fetched to say that seeing politics as the be all and end all of everything will not necessarily fulfill all our aspirations as a people. Given the self-serving nature of politics, it is time that the citizenry begins to adopt a new attitude and see that there is a greater life outside the realm of the political.

Like Godots, politicians are often not in a position to come and deliver, and with their sugar-coated words, they always manage to hoodwink us into waiting for promises that are never deliver. Politicians and politics in general feeds off keeping us hoodwinking to never ending cycles of plastic promises, campaign rallies, empty speeches and grand state rigmaroles that are all much ado about nothing and barely move our lives and livelihoods an inch. It has already been argued that politics being one of the highest paying opportunities attracts a lot of people, especially the crooks.

AS Zimbabweans, it is time that people should offer up solutions themselves, rather than calling on political leaders to provide them. The circus that politicians have subjected us to over the past three decades has induced a sense of  helplessness among the citizens. As citizens, we need to take our power back and begin to be the change that we want to see.

Throughout the world, innovation – which in essence can push the boundaries of being – has never been known to be a function of politics. If we are going to be able to unleash our extraordinary potential, and spark a dynamic that will influence a shift, it is essential that we look more and more inside ourselves to unlock the talent that we have which the politicians are only putting to waste. Getting the old idea that politicians are our saviours must therefore be a constant aspiration of every Zimbabwean today and forevermore.

The good fortune that we assume must come from politicians must emerge from within ourselves; the challenges that politicians have created for us must serve as a basis for our self-renewal.

Achievement is built when conditions are difficult. Achievement is built when the direction of the economy is uncertain, and when there’s no guarantee of success. Indeed, there will be obstacles, excuses, distractions, frustrations and disappointments that will push back against our desire to fashion a new perspective but we must not give up for the sake of our children and their children’s children.

Girl Child Creativity Project Launched

By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha

Harare, Zimbabwe – A new project, Girl Child Creativity, aimed at mitigating the under-representation and unbalanced participation of young females in the arts in Zimbabwe was launched last week in Harare.

The project which is a brainchild of  internationally acclaimed performance poet and writer, Mbizo Chirasha and veteran filmmaker and broadcaster, Agnes Gudza, is aimed at enhancing the ability of girl-children to develop themselves mentally and creatively.

“The aim of this project is to reduce the under-representation of young women in the creative industry. We want to teach the girls how to find opportunities with their talents and develop them. We want to avoid the syndrome in the country currently where people want to fly yet they can only crawl,” said Chirasha.

“We are going to have motivational, poetry and writing workshops. In future, we are going to have talent realization programmes where we going to have accomplished writers, musicians and promoters talking to the girls on how to identify and nurture their talents.”

Agnes Gudza, operations manager of the project and renowned filmmaker, said that the project was aimed at empowering the mental capacity of young girls so that they can become creative in all aspects of the arts and their lives.

She added that the purpose of the programme is to reach out to a lot of girls especially in the rural areas.

“We want the girl child to improve the state of their lives and livelihoods through the ability to be creative. We are also going to make a film on the importance of empowering the girl-child. The script for the film is already done and is currently being edited,” said Gudza.

Chirasha said GCC is working in collaboration with the US Public Affairs, the New Ambassador Hotel, the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe as well as Chiedza Childcare Centre to reach out to disadvantaged and marginalized girls in the country. He said that the first part of the programme will be rolled out in Harare before moving to Gweru, Masvingo and the rest of the country.

How to make something fresh out of old habits

To many people, the word “habit” evokes negative images. But according to an article in the New York Times, our habits can in fact be a source of creativity and innovation.

 

Making something fresh out of old habits is very simple: you simply have to ignore the old habits and strive to build better ones. The benefits of taking that route are numerous, and include making your mind better acquianted to innovation, and possibly greatness.

 

Habits – whether negative or positive – are developed over time and tie themselves around your being, defining who you are. Put simply, habit is a form of behavior that in time occurs automatically or unconsciously. In popular lingo, habits are often regarded with disdain.

 

That is if we strive to break the habits we have already formed and map new ones. The process of establishing new habits injects new sparks into the brain thereby helping an individual to think in a breakthrough manner.

 

“Rather than dismissing ourselves as unchangeable creatures of habit, we can instead direct our own change by consciously developing new habits,” says the article titled “Can You Become a Creature of New Habits?”.

 

“In fact, the more new things we try — the more we step outside our comfort zone — the more inherently creative we become, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.”

 

Establishing new habits takes energy, commitment and time but instead of investing your time in fighting off old habits, the key to success is to develop a new repertoire of behaviors.

 

In other words, it is important to develop a vision of the new behaviors that one want to incorporate into their life, and then meticulously follow that plan.

 

According to the New York Times report, old habits get ingrained into the hippocampus, and cannot be fought.

 

“Don’t bother trying to kill off old habits; once those ruts of procedure are worn into the hippocampus, they’re there to stay. Instead, the new habits we deliberately ingrain into ourselves create parallel pathways that can bypass those old roads,” states the article.

 

Creating new habits helps to make your mind to be fascinated with wonder, so to speak, which is a quality essential for innovation and new discoveries,.

 

“A good innovational thinker is always exploring the many other possibilities,” the article quotes Dawna Markova, author of “The Open Mind” and an executive change consultant for Professional Thinking Partners.

 

The article adds that real change occurs only when we are stretched into doing something that is awkward, that is, something that significantly takes us away from the path that we have been traveling.

 

According to the report, learning new things challenges our brains to create new pathways and, in the process, avoiding mental problems.