RUTH Daniel is a British musician with a social conscience. Having garnered over £50 000 worth of musical gear including her own recording studio, she is around laying the groundwork for the setting up of what will be a groundbreaking arts facility in the legendary Makokoba Township.
The facility will see local out of work, but talented youth come to the centre to be trained in various artistic disciplines.
Daniel says: “I have been here last year where I was at Shoko Festival to speak about the work I do. I was invited to Bulawayo and Leroy invited me to Makokoba. The place is really vibrant, a very special place with so many young people.
I was very shocked because of the many challenges that the people have there. What shocked me most is that there was no assistance, no non-governmental organisations there. I was wondering what to do and it started with me saying I want to give my music studio to Makokoba.
I have managed to raise thousands of pounds worth of equipment from famous musicians such as UB40.
So from a very simple idea of asking people for equipment, we are able to build an amazing cultural space. That’s the ambition and it’s already happening! Agencia is about harnessing creativity to alleviate poverty. We are a part of global music network which has 44 countries around the world.”
Daniel, a musician, record label boss and social activist is an achiever who is making an impact across the world and Makokoba is just blessed to have a person of her vision falling in love with it. Her list of achievements is as follows:
- Winner of the Pioneer Award (artist and manager awards, United Kingdom) (2014),
- Winner of Manchester woman of culture award (2013),
- Top 50 women to watch (Cultural Leadership Programme) (2010),
- Shortlisted British Council UK young music entrepreneur (2008 to 2010).
Makokoba on the map:
The township may never be the same again because of this project. By September this year, a huge shipment of musical equipment would have been made to this neighbourhood and a number of listless youth would have benefitted from the project in terms of receiving training via Daniel’s Agencia organisation which has set up similar projects in Brazil.
Locally, the management of the project will involve community elders who have already been identified to facilitate ownership and stewardship of the initiative. Will Makokoba become the new Kingston of Jamaica?
Makokoba already has a rich cultural history with the likes of Cool Crooners and other legends arising out of its clutches. Will Stanley Hall re-emerge as part of a veritable epicentre of music in this city?
That is one of the broader aims of the project aimed at helping mitigating poverty through galvanising the latent creative energy within that community.
Personally I am excited for the city and perhaps what warms my heart is the fact that Daniel, a woman (include her natural instinct for nurturing) is a musician who started playing guitar at the age of ten when her parents bought it for her.
She says in an interview: “I thought that if an instrument could change my life the way it did, how much more these youths (in Makokoba)?”