By Tafadzwa Zimoyo in LONDON
It is an eye-opening experience to be among some of the most creative minds in fashion, music and food in the world. You can dream of a land with celebrities and try to imitate what they do but art is life and can change the society if taken seriously.
We have heard and known of celebrities, musicians, models, fashionistas, philanthropists and promoters in different countries especially Zimbabwean-born stars shining in foreign lands. There are many unheralded superstars in United Kingdom that hail from Zimbabwe. They are among artistes, entrepreneurs and business moguls making it big.
These stars include Glorianne Francis, William Sachiti, Conrad Mwanza, Tafadzwa Musarurwa, Lamont Chitepo, Chiedza Chigarire, Daniella Allen, Moe Makaya, Summer Rose, Ogga Katalog, Jusa Demento and Chiedza Dawn Ziyambe among others.
Most of them make a network forum organised by Glorianne Francis, affectionately known as Glo Diamond, based on her brand. The show has a lot of prominent Zimbabweans as well as Nigerians and Caribbeans. She is one of the successful individuals when it comes to promoting the arts sector in UK.
What surprised and shocked many was how the humble Glo Diamond managed to pull off the event, joining business and arts. Glo Diamond is the chief executive officer of Gloramo Concierge & PR Ltd and director for African Partnership Ltd.
Her prominence has been cultivated through her work as an award-winning motivational speaker and events presenter.
Renowned musicians like Oliver Mtukudzi, Winky D, David Chipfunyise, Plaxedes Wenyika and many more from Zimbabwe who have managed to perform in the foreign land can testify how she has empowered Zimbabweans living in UK in terms of the arts.
Having been one of the very first female African promoters in the UK since 1995, Glo Diamond has worked with various international artistes.
She is also well recognised for her great networking skills, charity work and bringing communities together. In 2013, she was awarded an Empowerment Ambassador Award for her commitment to empower and support people in her community.
The Zimbabwean-born celebrity is listed in the Southern African Who’s Who of Distinguished Individuals and earlier this year she was honoured and recognised among the first 100 influential and successful African female entrepreneurs in Britain.
She has featured in a publication that celebrates her as one of the successful businesswomen in Britain’s African and Caribbean community and highlights the contribution black-owned businesses are making to the UK economy.
She has also facilitated platforms for local Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi on mainstream media including CNN, BBC Hard Talk, Al Jazeera, Sky News and Oxford University.
Speaking at her network forum launch that was attended by British “Eastenders” actor Rudolph Walker and chief Alex Achebe, Glo Diamond said she was passionate about the growth of Zimbabwe when it comes to arts.
“We have a lot of potential and talent if we are united to develop arts industry in Africa.
“I am much impressed with what we see in terms of film, music, fashion, entrepreneurship but the challenge is we have the pull-her and pull-him down syndrome.
“We spend time thinking how did the person come to be on top rather focusing on developing your inner being. “Africa is gifted. I love my country and I am happy with the huge turnout at the network forum. Use the platform wisely and let’s give each other opportunity to build and grow our sectors,” she said.
Glo Diamond said arts and culture strategies help to reveal and enhance the underlying identity crisis. “This identity is reflected through the community’s character or sense of place. “Arts and cultural programming play important roles in providing education about the historical and cultural context of a community and in providing opportunities,” she said.
Asked if she plans of returning home, she said her goal is to see Africa speaking the same language when it comes to the arts. “Zimbabwe is always my home and I am proud about it. I always visit and do business. Remember charity begins at home.
“I want Africa to be on same level when it comes to music, fashion, film and television. Yes we all know Nollywood, which is pretty doing well but why can’t we draw lessons from the pioneers and be on the same level.
“I know a lot of movies such as ‘Lobola’, ‘The Gentlemen’, ‘Sores of Emmanuel’ among others who are doing great, but what next then? I also see a challenge of not starting the praise at home first. We all want Oscars and Grammies but we should be recognised in our lands.”
She said she is planning to host a similar forum in Zimbabwe before the end of the year. “We should stop being crybabies but unite for one goal. Hollywood was not built in a day. Let us use those who have succeeded in different industries as catalysts in the development of our sectors.
“I am planning to visit in next weeks to try to have synergies and forums on how best we can do it,” she said. The bubbly entrepreneur said some countries are beginning to develop because they are now seeing the importance of arts in the development of a nation.
“I have heard good news about how Zimbabwe’s arts sector is now growing and we should all support that.” Glo Diamond is believed to have been the last person to bring the late Brenda Fassie to the UK before she died.
She said was working on her biography that seeks to inspire as she is from humble beginnings. The night was hosted by speaker, coach and founder of W4A Sam Onigbanjo. The Herald