Home » Governance » Uniting to Give Hope

Social media is a growing presence in everyday life. From Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, everyday millions of people worldwide upload a plethora of diverse information. Even simple messaging has taken on a social form with WhatsApp groups growing in popularity. Initially what seemed to be a platform for young people to interact has now grown into colossal global enterprise used across a cross section of sectors, social, political and economic.

In the globalising world, social media has contributed to making the world smaller and more accessible to people.

Twitter is a platform where people share their thoughts in no more than 140 characters. The nature of distribution means people must condense what they choose to say to fit into the allotted space.

Using aliases and features such as “hashtags” users are able to create messages that can turn into movements such as the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in solidarity with the Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram.

The interaction of followers on Twitter has also built communities of people from similar social settings, who share similar interests or are from the same geographical areas. Zimbabwe has its own Twitter community with the people known as #Twimbos a portmanteau of Twitter and Zimbos. The Twimbo community includes Zimbabweans who are both local and in the diaspora, who like the rest of the people on the site, come from an assortment of backgrounds.

On December 22, Zimbabwe celebrated the 27th Anniversary of the signing of the Unity Accord between ZANU-PF and PF-ZAPU.

At that time, political unity was achieved and in close to three decades that followed, social unity has gradually increased among ordinary citizens.

Twitter is a fitting sphere to assess the relationship Zimbabweans have with each other. With thousands of tweets within the Twimbo community daily on a variety of topics, Zimbabweans communicate, sharing ideas and thoughts irrespective of age, gender, social or professional status.

One such idea that suitably illustrates the solidarity that exists among Twimbos is a project known as #TwimbosGivingHope, launched on December 6, 2014. The initiative, according to one of its committee members Shingi Mangoma (@shingimangoma on twitter) is “a voluntary charity associationgroup primarily based on our social media platform, Twitter.”

This project came about after one Twimbo, Winston Manjengwa ,who goes by the alias @AmBlujay on the social network tweeted that Twimbos should adopt a charity for the festive season.

What was an “on the spot thing” according to Manjengwa received overwhelming support and immediately took off with Twimbos opening a WhatsApp group, a Twitter page and a Tumblr account the same day.

From one tweet of less than 140 characters, Zimbabweans on Twitter immediately and enthusiastically took to the idea and working together established this organisation, which “acts as a conduit for resources for a charity organisation,” Mangoma said. The charity that #TwimbosGivingHope has chosen to work with is Harare-based Tichakunda.Org. The Twimbos have been collecting money, clothing, food items, stationery and other items the community has chosen to donate.

The success of the project thus far can be attributed to the manner in which the Twimbo community is set up and what Shingi Mangoma says is “driven by a desire to be charitable”.

Zimbabweans on Twitter, despite their many differences, found a cause and have united towards its success, a spirit which was inherent in the Unity Accord of 1987.

“Desirous to unite our nation, establish peace, law and order to guarantee social and economic development and political stability,” reads one of the clauses in the Unity Accord.

The #TwimbosGivingHope initiative, the first of its kind within the Zimbabwean social network community and seems to have united Twimbos, establishing a working relationship between them.

In the recent weeks, the undesirable side of social media has come to the fore with the circulation of defamatory lists and videos of women abuse that have gone viral. This initiative started by Twimbos is a positive project that is geared towards bringing the community closer together and helping out the less fortunate within Zimbabwe.

The speed at which the project has been moving is quite amazing as within a short space of time, #TwimbosGivingHope were able to establish a collection point for donations, start a website and even host a benefit concert on Thursday December 18, 2014 at the Book Cafeacute. All this has been possible due to the size of the Twimbo community and the willingness of its members to help.

“Everything has been Twitter driven,” Mangoma says and at a benefit concert where they expected a turnout of 40-50 people, they ended up with 180 who were previously interacting from behind a keyboard but were now meeting face to face.

This initiative has helped to bring an amalgamation of the virtual and the real world among Twimbos.

Artistes that graced the concert include songstress Shingi Mangoma, Pah Chihera, and Tehn Diamond, all of whom performed for free, with all proceeds taken at the entrance going towards Tichakunda, where the Twimbos will pay a visit to make their donation today.

What #TwimbosGivingHope has illustrated is that Zimbabweans are a united people.

“Unity helps us embrace each other despite our differences, so unity brings both peace and progress in our lives,” says Winston Manjengwa.

This unity is what led Twimbos to work together to better the lives of fellow Zimbabweans. It is evident that Zimbabweans can work together regardless of social, ethnic and political status and affiliations. The work started with the signing of the Unity Accord and has transcended the political nature and has been embraced by Zimbabweans in everyday and virtual life.

The #TwimbosGivingHope benefit concert ended with a performance by Tehn Diamond. Befittingly in the lyrics of the final song he performed, “Simudza Gumbo” he aocates for unity among the people in order for us to progress together.

“Regardless of the rocks out in marange tisu ngoda dzacho dzeseThere’s nothing we can’t do tikabatana teseIt’s quite true there’s a monumental effortBut it’s gonna take together or it’s gonna take forever.”

To get involved in the #TwimbosGivingHope initiative please visit @TwimbosHope on Twitter or email twimbosgivinghope@gmail.com.

Source : The Herald