This month I chatted with Ruvimbo Munodawafa, creative and Young Producer at Make. Ruvimbo joined us through the Generations for Change project, a paid placement for young creatives of Black, Asian and other diverse ethnic backgrounds. Alongside 6 other organisations, the young producers will be working for six months to deliver a series of creative action research projects focusing on the key issues and inequalities faced by Black, Asian and other diverse ethnic groups in the region.
Ruvimbo told us all about her creative journey so far, some of the amazing projects she’s worked on in the past, and a little bit about her plans for her project at Make. It was really inspiring to hear Ruvimbo’s story and learn how her experiences have inspired her to continue creating. (I even ordered The Secret after talking with her.) Read Ruvimbo’s story below!
My name is Ruvimbo, I was born in Zimbabwe, but I grew up in Liverpool, moving here when I was ten. I stayed in Liverpool until I was 18, and I moved to London to study Psychology with HR at Middlesex University. I moved to London because I loved acting and I knew London was the place to be. Whilst in Liverpool I had done some acting like Waterloo Road, Hollyoaks, and The Crown. So I thought the world was my oyster. London, here I come!
In London, I went through some life-transforming things. I became homeless and was moved to temporary accommodation in 2017, and whilst I was staying there, I survived a fire. The fire happened on the 11th June, and Grenfell happened on the 14th. That transformed my life. It made me think that I was alive and there were others that weren’t. I saw it as a sign that I was here for a reason. When the fireman went into the apartment to see what they could revive, one of the only things they recovered was my bag with the book, The Secret in it. The book was untouched and undamaged. It was a gift from an old boss when I was unwell, I always carried it with me but never read it until after the fire. I went back and read the book and wanted to turn my negative situation into something positive. I thought that losing material things didn’t matter because they’re just possessions, but I’ve got my life, and that’s the most priceless thing.
When the fire happened, I thought, what can I do for myself? I wanted to be an actress, but I don’t want to wait for somebody else to give me a job. I thought I could use the skills and resources I had at that moment to open opportunities. While I was in London, I was fortunate to be involved with many organisations, like Fully Focussed, a youth-led production company. They work with lots of underrepresented people and people belonging to BAME communities. Through that, I was able to gain experience in film. We would get commissions to make stuff for the BBC’s youth department.
I started to look for more opportunities for people like me and came across an organisation called Iconic Steps. They are youth-driven but help people get into the film industry. I signed up for Iconic Steps one week course for music directing. At the end of it, we had to make a music video. Working with a group of other like-minded young people, we filmed a music video for a group called Colour of the Jungle. We made the video in just a week as they wanted it to be fast-paced like it is in the industry. Iconic Steps would bring professionals from the industry to mentor us, like directors, producers, script editors.
I came across another organisation called The Company. They have a program to help young people who have a business idea. With that program, I was able to make a handmade zine. I wrote the poetry, and my friend did the illustrations. My friend drew the images on lined paper, and I sewed around some of them. Then we added a burnt effect to the pages to link to the fire. The basis of the poems was about my journey at the time. I didn’t have a phone or many possessions, and a lot of people in society base their success on possessions and material things, but it’s about looking from within. A company called Fixers contacted me. They are a charity that works with young people who want to tell their stories, inspire people and create a positive change in the community. With their help and funding from the National Lottery, I made a digital version of the zine and printed hard copies.
You can find Ruvimbo’s zine here.
That project changed my perspective on everything. I was able to create something out of nothing. That geared me to think, especially being a woman of colour, that we don’t get opportunities handed to us all of the time. You have to use the resources you have and open doors for yourself.
All the things that I have done have led to so many things. Because of the zine, I was able to go to the Roundhouse, a creative space with facilities like music studios, workshops and events. I was invited to the chairmans dinner to talk about my life, and I met directors like James Gay-Rees. He invited me to Steven Gerrard’s private movie premiere with his family. So, If I can’t find an opportunity, I will make one.
I love self-help teaching. I believe that you culture negativity or positivity. Bob Proctor said whenever a child starts school get them to write a report on the grade they want and look at it every day. Everything is wishful thinking, as that is what strives us to achieve.
What are you going to be working on at Make?
I am a multidisciplinary artist, so I act, model, dance and write. At the moment, I’m working with Make as a Young Producer. The Generations for Change project is for 6 host organisations to hire people belonging to the Black, Asian, and ethnic minority community. At the end of the project, we will create something in response to that, with training from Solar. I’m going to be discovering what Make does and document that, whether it’s visual storytelling, auditory, poetry, music or all of it. I’m going to be telling Make’s story but also my story as a creator.
Make is inspiring. To hear Liam’s story of how it all started with Kirsten too. And Liam having spoke about his mental health and his journey with that.
I want to look into how Make is partnering with communities like over in Birkenhead, where people of colour belonging to BAME communities do not have access to these spaces. And I want to see how we can create that bridge where people can be comfortable and understand that there is a place here that welcomes them. I think through my existence, other people can feel empowered to get involved. Life experience has the power to inspire, empower, educate and entertain. That’s my motto.
I am looking forward to meeting people at Make and learning more about them. Nowadays, people are very visual. During Covid, I think a lot of the people that were thriving were the makers. Now it has gone back to teaching people that you can make things for yourself. You don’t have to be constantly ordering stuff. We do need those physical skills. As a creative, you do go through self-doubt and think, is my product worthy. But it will be good to sit down with the makers and put their story out there to the city region.
It’s so nice that I am being paid to do this role because usually, I am just doing it. It is an amazing opportunity, and I am so grateful for it. It’s great having a goal to work towards, and it’s about having faith too. Being in the creative industry, you’ve got to have a lot of faith in yourself. My name means faith, so I’ve got to have faith in myself!
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