So what do you do when you find yourself in an environment where specialist skills are rare with the few talented individuals that can provide specific skills not able to deliver on what they not so good at, leaving your job somewhat patchy and therefore mediocre at best? What do you do when the ecosystem of talented graphics designers, film production professionals, software developers and others that you need for a job, is just not there?
You build that ecosystem.
That’s what Simbarashe Mavesera, an experienced web developer and graphic designer, and one of the most visible characters in Zimbabwe’s tech and creative circles has set out to do. Mavesera’s passion lies in tech gadgets, and cinema. Faced with a situation where skills in tech and film in his country are anything but adequate to deliver world class products, Mavesera and a team other technologist, arts professionals and academics, decided to take the matter into his hands by establishing an academy to build capacity in local professionals.
The team founded Global Academy, a visual arts and new media school whose stated mission is to empower creative visionaries to redefine artistic expression through media. “There were many media jobs we wanted done but could not find teams that were able to carry them out locally and it was apparent that whilst we may have a lot of talent, training is a definite problem in Zimbabwe,” explains Mavesera.
The school has already set up its main campus in Harare in the Eastlea business and residential area. The focus of the academy will be on film, visual effects, animation and design for web, mobile and print. In addition to one year courses that focus on these core areas, the academy will also offer short courses on mobile application development for Android and iOS using HTML5 and Adobe tools.
Mavesera says some the major problems locally have been access equipment and to resolve this they have invested in the latest equipment and technologies, but kept the tuition fees for students low enough for talented individuals from different economic backgrounds to access the training. The academy has also enlisted the assistance of experienced Zimbabwean professionals in the industry both locally and in the diaspora, as part time lecturers to ensure that students learn skills that are required by the market.
One of the most known schools in Zimbabwe that has built a reputation locally for quality training in graphic design and other course similar to Global Academy’s, is the Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Arts (ZIVA). There’s no doubt though that training in this area is indeed underserved, and even the two institutes now, may not be adequate for the country, especially as they are both located in the capital.