Meet Mutsa: Creatively Giving Back to Zambia

1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m never sure where to start with that question! Excuse me for my randomness, well my name is Mutsa. I love to dance and travel. I find any excuse to have a good belly-felt laugh. I am passionate about Africa and all of its beauty. I find it near impossible to not watch a film without referring to its Wiki page…as I watch (very odd I know). I’m a born and bred Londoner who is a very proud Zimbabwean. I think that’s enough random tidbits for now.
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2. Tell us about how Meet Mutsa all started and the motivation behind it all?
Meet Mutsa started at the end of 2010. I’d come back from sixteen months abroad, working and studying and decided that it was the perfect time for me to get the kind of job I wanted. I wanted to work in the development sector and looked but as I hadn’t spent enough time living in a ‘developing’ country, I wasn’t qualified but I knew I was. I was so sure that I could do what these jobs were asking for so I thought I’d set up a project, do it for a year, then come back and apply. That’s how it started.
The motivations for the type of project were pretty simple. HIV/AIDS and the issues surrounding it along with how bad it is in Africa coupled with how preventable it is really gets to me. I find it very frustrating to say the least and I truly believe it can end. So I decided to combine my loves for art and creativity, my love for working with young people to tackle this. I feel like HIV is viewed as a dead-end so another element of Meet Mutsa is to have a project that is every grass roots and personable so that people can see the change they are effecting. I like to keep everything I do as Meet Mutsa as transparent as possible.
3. Do you work full time on Meet Mutsa? If not how do you schedule it in your day to day life and manage to have a social life?
 There isn’t one day when I’m not working on Meet Mutsa. One day that I’m not thinking about it, hashing out ideas or scheming for its future. It is pretty full on. Scheduling it into my day requires a lot of planning and at times lack of sleep, it means uploading media onto Dropbox so that during my lunch breaks I can post them. It means tweeting on the bus, recording voice notes but I love all of it! I actually put my social life on the back burner and went into hibernation at the beginning of 2013 so that I was focused. I needed time to plan and think things out for the year. Otherwise it all just works. It’s not easy but so far everything has worked. It’s a blessed project,
4. So why Mukuni, Zambia of the places you chose to work with?
The only requirements that I had for my project were that they were in a stable African country. I was willing to travel anywhere. I didn’t chose where I wanted to go, I found The Butterfly Tree and Mukuni came after that! As they’re based in England and all their work is delivered in Zambia it was so much easier to communicate with Jane (the founder) from here [London]. I was able to hound her with questions and she was so open to my ideas and had been working in Mukuni for about six years so it just worked.
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5. You recently raised £1,800 with the Danceathon you held in London and then also had the Thomas Arnold Primary school sleep over firstly congratulations on that and secondly how was it organising it all?
Thank you! It’s so great! Organising the Danceathon was a major reason for my hibernation period! It was Meet Mutsa’s first international fundraiser so that in itself was something and there were a lot of components to sort out so it was full on. I can’t express the support I’ve received though. All of the dance instructors were friends or friends of friends and volunteered their time. I’ve friends to test out ideas and hear me rant on when things aren’t just so. I don’t know how they put up with me half the time to be honest. Having friends in New York has been such a blessing. Cassandra, (the leader of the NYC danceathon), sourced all of the instructors for that event and has just lead it from across the pond. It’s been challenging but I’ve learnt a lot and it’s been worth it!
6. Are you in partnership with any the larger organisations, or government agencies in Zambia?
I’m not. I’ve kept things very small mostly because I’m still working out the direction I want this to go in and it’s still got its training wheels on! Also I don’t want to stretch beyond my reach. I need to be sure that everything I do is manageable for me and my life as this isn’t my full-time job.
7. You’re off to Zambia soon – how long will you be out there and tell us how excited are you to see the children and also the project itself? Will you also be vlogging whilst in Zambia?
I am! I am very excited! I’ll be out for just under two weeks working on an art project with my first volunteer which is exciting. Just like with my last trip, I will definitely be vlogging, bloggin, tweeting, Facebook-ing. I think I that’s everything!
8. Are there any challenges that you have faced along the way? Considering you are not based in Zambia?
There have been challenges but not being in Zambia hasn’t been the cause of them. I’m able to get messages to my young people when I’ve needed to. The only challenge I’ve had to deal with re: not being in Zambia is missing Zambia!
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9. Giving back is always an admirable thing. I strongly believe that the little you give back will richly reward you maybe not in monetary value but in the richness of your heart. You volunteer your time into this project and we definitely applaud you on that. How can the Chaud readers be a part of the Meet Mutsa movement?
 Thank you very much. Spreading the word! Chaud readers can find catch up on my journey so far on my blog . A lot of what we do is crowd sourced, we don’t necessarily ask for monetary donations but in-kind too, in fact, quite a bit of in-kind so keeping in touch via Facebook for any of the random requests I may post out would be great!
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10. What does the future hold for Meet Mutsa and what would you like to happen?
The future definitely holds more fundraisers  along with creative growth and maturity. That’s what the future holds. A part of the future anyway. I want it to be a something where people are actively involved and we’re all learning from each other. I’m a big fan of working collaborations. I want more of those to happen.
Editor’s Note: Firstly, Mutsa  embodies  the essence of our Chaud issue – paying it forward and giving back. In a society that is mostly self-centred with a ‘what’s in it for me attitude’ the privilege of meeting some-one like her is not only refreshing but reminds us all that there are truly selfless individuals who want the next generation to prosper and do well..keep it up and we applaud you! Secondly thank you very much to Mutsa for taking some time out of her busy schedule. We are looking forward to her tweets, vlogs,  Instagram (read virtually stalking her) whilst she is in our favourite aka best part of the motherland – Southern Africa! Well she will be in Zambia but you get the drift. To keep up with the Meet Mutsa project please check:
Tumblr:            www.meetmutsa.tumblr.com
Facebook:        www.facebook.com/meetmutsa
Twitter:             www.twitter.com/meetmutsa
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2 thoughts on “Meet Mutsa: Creatively Giving Back to Zambia

  1. I’m so proud of Mutsa and what she’s achieved in a relatively short time. Her journey is definitely testimony to the amazing impact that an individual can make. Thank you Chaud!

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