Some 366 days ago we decided to action our ideas and thus Umthombo iConnect was created. Today we are a year old and we would like to thank everyone who has been with us throughout the year and beyond. Just to shed some light on the journey from idea to execution, from then to now and beyond, here goes:
Most of our work started out on social media as citizen journalists, reporting on events and trending hashtags (mostly on issues affecting society). Our very first physical project was the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo themed poetry at the Indaba Book Café in Bulawayo on the 2nd of July. We enjoyed this a lot and hoped to do more in the future with collaborations of course. Our next project was in October, the Breast Cancer awareness month, where we recorded and rolled out our first ever audio drama. This was a pilot project that was researched but not as much as we would have liked however the reception from our audience pushed us to propel the project with better research next time. The team decided that we do these awareness dramas monthly. Our second podcast was on Gender based Violence spanning from November to December. Here we did another audio drama on the theme and also a photo shoot with artists based in Bulawayo. It was one of the most emotional months as our research yielded more than what we thought we knew was on the ground. December we worked on projects on People With Disabilities and did a follow up audio drama in January on the same theme, another emotional theme yes. You can get these podcasts from our sound cloud page here. We also worked online with Taungana Africa and British Council on their initiatives, helping spread the word to wider audiences.
Currently we are working on a short story anthology on Child Marriages (which you’re going to love by the way) to be released late this month and early next year we release another audio drama on the same theme. We are also planning to expand our podcast series in the second half of the year to include interviews and other interesting stuff. We also plan to experiment with videography and still photography, so expect surprises this year. Since we are operating in Bulawayo, most of our content is from the city but we are open to contributors from other cities and countries, after all that’s the global citizenship we are about.
Like any other startup we did face a lot of challenges, mostly financial but we are grateful for the support we got and here we are, still standing. A lot of people are responsible for our success, some in the forefront and most working in the background. Our sponsors, audio dramas cast and producer, website contributors, ZuluCowBoy Designs for all our graphic work, Royal Webhosting for our website, Ernest Mackina photography for capturing most of our stories, and you for the support and review of our work, we say thank you! We still have a long way to go and a lot to achieve and we believe we will continue to do so with your help. We are excited as we start our journey into our second year, we have a lot to check off our to do list and yours. May you continue choosing us as your source of information, CHEERS!